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Old 10-05-2003, 08:43 PM   #1
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Hmmm. buying new, sight unseen?

Hey, all.

Would like to invite comments from people who've bought (or considering buying) A/S trailers from dealers sight unseen and had the unit delivered to them? We're about 5'ish hours to 3 A/S dealers and then at least 15 hours from anyone else. If the "local" dealers don't have what we want in stock, we'll have to either order from the factory or buy from a further away dealer.

Is it risky to buy sight unseen? I've heard of people buying used A/S's sight unseen, so I figure that buying a new model from a dealer would be less risky. But then I read about quality control problems with new models occasionally.... Less than ideal, I know, but possibly more convenient and equally satisfactory?

Is there such a service as a third party who delivers units to your door? How expensive is this? Can dealers help with this?

If we order from the factory which delivers to our local dealers, does that mean less potential for sale negotiation vs. a dealer lot model?


Airstream: 2004 Safari 28W
2005 Chevy Suburban 2500 8.1L
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Old 10-05-2003, 10:15 PM   #2
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My experience is that it is not really going to matter on the negotiation. I ordered mine sight unseen - and totally pleased with the end product. Most AS dealers usually only have a limited stock of inventory and typically they move quicker than what they can sell them sometimes. Buyinh used is a different issue all together. If you use the same procedure you would in bargaining for a car - you will be fine. I saved probably a good 18% off MSRP but also traded three trailer in sight unseen... it really depends on how hungry the dealer is and how long you are willing to wait for your AS to be delivered. A good dealer is going to make sure you get what you expected when they do the 'checklist' and deliver it to you.

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Old 10-06-2003, 04:37 AM   #3
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I just recently purchased a 25' International CCD and have never set foot on the dealers lot.

I did all my negotiations via e-mail. When it came to quality, I sent a list of exactly what I expected and would be looking for when I picked up the trailer.

I made it clear to the dealer that until I was satisifed with the PDI process, I would not be signing contracts.

He had no problem with that at all.
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Old 10-06-2003, 04:41 AM   #4
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I've bought two used Airstreams now, sight unseen (well, with lots of photos and lots of conversation); a motorhome from a dealership and our 34' from a private party. Both have (fortunately) been positive experiences. No breakdowns on the way home; although neither was as well prepped as I had expected.

One of the things I find important about buying something new though, is the competence of the dealership staff. If I have to return to them for service, at least during the warranty period, I want to know that they can handle the job the way I want it done. I like to nose around a little. See the the service bays. Talk with the service techs. Get a general feeling for how well the place is run; see if it is clean and organized with a lot of activity. The service areas in RV dealerships vary as much or more than car dealerships. For example, it bothers me to see the techs take a smoke break sitting inside on the floor of someone's unit.

I don't think you can go wrong negotiating the deal with a REPUTABLE dealership long-distance. I have negotiated some of my best car purchases that way. I would certainly INSIST on taking delivery at the dealership and plan on spending a whole day looking it over, spending the night in the trailer and then allowing another day for QC issues to be resolved before I took the trailer off the lot. It will undoubtedly save you a lot of aggravation later by not having to make a lengthy, unplanned trip back to have QC issues resolved AFTER you've paid someone to make a long-distance delivery.

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 10-06-2003, 05:20 AM   #5
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Sight unseen

In early 2001 I ordered a 30' classic sight unseen. When the unit came in, I was in the middle of busy season and could not make it to the dealer until after April 15th. My wife and children drove to the dealer and paid for the unit around the end of Feb., and left it at the dealer. This was the hardest month and half I ever had to go through. Finally, after April 15th my son and I drove to the dealer with our new Yukon xl, installed the hensley and brought it home. Three days later we took the trailer to Florida from NH. We drove straight through and the first night we ever slept in it was in Daytona Beach, Florida. We had a couple of little tiny warrenty issues, and they were fixed. Since then, we've put over 17,000 miles on it and we still love it.

Good luck, you won't be dissapointed.

bty, we tow with a 5.3 liter half ton 'burb with a 4:10. You be happy with your decision. Send me a PM if you want more info on the tow vehicle.
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:55 AM   #6
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To add my chip in the big game here, I bought local (two hours away) and I had seen the unit prior at an RV show. I got 16% off list and was happy with how the negotiations went. Was not pleased with all the nickle and dime stuff I found later, but all could and would have been fixed under warranty...the dealer clearly did NOT go over the coach as they should have.......however.....

I got the Safari SS bug about 5 months ago and I decided since I wasn't terribly fond of the dealer 2 hours away, I'd go fishin at 3 local dealers (the two hour away dealer and 2 five hour away dealers).

I ordered (sight unseen except for photos and a hell of a bunch of phone calls, emails, etc to the dealers and Airstream) a new '04 Safari SS that I should be taking delivery on in mid December.

Going 5 hours away saved me a bit over $1000.00. So if you break down that $1000 over the extra 6 hours (compared with buyng from the 2 hour away guy that was more expensive) of drive time, I come up with well over $100/hour for my trouble and since the dealer is only 40 miles from Jackson Center, I get to camp at the Airstream campground as the maiden voyage and get to see the factory too!

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Old 10-06-2003, 06:50 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. That gives me a lot more confidence about buying new sight unseen!


Airstream: 2004 Safari 28W
2005 Chevy Suburban 2500 8.1L
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