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Old 02-16-2003, 10:54 AM   #1
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NO A/S's at RV show

We went to the Detroit Rv show and not a single A/S in the entire building. Only one dealer who sold them. I had to beg to several different salesman to get a brochure. I got one only after they realized I knew about A/S's and owned one. What is A/S dealers problem in that regard? The attitude? The brochure shows the factory has caught on to the interst in the vintage units since it looked like a '64 brochure. They are expanding the line, we might be in the market for a new one too in the coming year. We are really enthused about the new ones too.
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Old 02-16-2003, 11:56 AM   #2
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Although I'm no marketing genius I do watch carefully how other firms market their products. Airstream has a great product, brand recognition, quality reputation, and history - and IMHO lousy marketing.

While I was looking for a trailer I stopped by our local Airstream dealer "Shorewood RV". They had none in stock, and the salesman stuffed brochures in my hand for other brands (which I dumped in the trash on my way out, never to return).

There are no ads for Airstream in Trailer Life magazine.

Airstream could leverage the retro-wave (PT Cruiser, Thunderbird, etc), and they do in terms of product (ie: International). But they need to get the word out.

You REALLY have to want an Airstream to buy one. Their marketing and distribution is very weak. Thor does not appear to be investing in the brand.
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:26 PM   #3
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At the factory.....

they told us they have orders for 5 more Airstreams a week than they can build. They were going to hire more people to try and keep up with demand. Maybe they don't need to advertise! On the other hand maybe the "powers that be" are AFRAID to invest in the company with the threat of war looming over us, and high gas prices that really hurt the RV industry in the 70's. (We all hope this is temporary!) There were no Airstreams at the Cleveland RV show either, a pity since they are made in the same state.
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:49 PM   #4
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We're their marketing tool!

I believe Thor budgets to build X models per yr. In doing so they don't flood the market and have alot of excess inventory sitting around.

I also believe that Thor knows how proud their customers are of their trailers and that we're their rolling show room. How many other SOB trailer owners have people walking up to them saying they wish they had one or can we look inside?

I feel it's the best marketing tool out there.

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:00 PM   #5
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In addition to??

Jason,

Is this interest in another A/S in addition to your current trailer??

Or do you feel that this older unit isn't going to meet your future needs?

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:01 PM   #6
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Angry

I went to the RV show in Tampa, Fl several weeks ago specifically to look at Airstreams. Bates RV had a half dozen or so Airstreams on display, but they didn't have any literature for the trailers, just the literature for motorhomes.

When I asked one of the dealer's salesmen, who was all adorned with heavy gold chains and bracelets, about the '03 Limited's (none were displayed) he took a look at me and said (which I'll paraphrase)
"Are you sure you can afford it"? My wife was so put off that she couldn't wait to get away.

Being from a conservative part of the country, Pennsylvania Dutch, I felt like telling him that we don't feel it necessary to wear our assets around our neck where I live, but I didn't, and eventually left myself.
So, if the company isn't marketing their product effectively, and dealers either aren't interested in selling their product or have dim-witted salespeople, what is the future of the product to hold?

(I did notice though that the new Airstream Mororhome with the deck, table, chairs, etc. on top of its roof, had more people waiting in line to see it than anything else at the Tampa show.

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:08 PM   #7
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hd

sounds a lot like harley davidsons marketing plan in the early 90's

i'm just hopeful that thor plans as much r&d as h.d. did.

build the product up to mystic proportions and it will sell itself.
doctors and lawyers will be lining up in droves to get out their "officially licensed" airstream chain drive wallets while they wait over a year and a half for their order to be filled!

meanwhile thor can earn intrest on all the "required" deposit money!

more power to them!

john
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:19 PM   #8
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Out of the total trailer trailers sold in the US & Canada, what percentage are Airstreams?

I don't know the answer, but I'd guess it's around 3-5%.

Airstream's aren't threw away trailers and if you want an Airstream, you just don't want a trailer; you want the best.

Dan,

You drove down to FL to pick up your Safari. You knew what you wanted and you bought it sight unseen because you knew what you were getting before seeing it.

If you want a brochure, you'll get one off the net or call the factory. You will do the leg work if you want an Airstream. That's why the salesman was putting those SOB brochures in your hands. He has to sell them!!!

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:22 PM   #9
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None in Austin, either

I went to the Austin RV show Thursday in the new, expanded Austin Convention Center. Our local A/S dealer had only a small information booth.

The mix of RVs has changed over the years ... very few popups, dozens on dozens of mega-dollar motor homes, and a lot of white box travel trailers and 5th-wheels. No interesting trailers such as Hi-Lo, TrailManor, etc. Not even ALiners. Just vanilla white boxes and a few toy haulers.

There were a lot of multi slideouts and front and rear slideouts. That seems to be the big thing now. Even the few truck campers had slideouts.

I stopped by the A/S dealer later to pick up a part and found why they weren't there. The price for floor space had tripled. For them to get even a small number of trailers in the show, it would have cost a $22,000 minimum. They opted for the booth to steer folks to their lot and a tent on their lot serving BBQ instead.
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:27 PM   #10
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If John HD's scenerio plays true, than all our vintage Airstreams will skyrocket in value! Would be nice to have a vintage unit worth more than a new one!
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:30 PM   #11
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John,

Nascar is currently under red flag conditions, so that's why I'm popping in here !!

I agree with you about 5th wheels & motorhomes. The room that's available today in these products are pushing sales down on travel trailers. That's why Thor and other manufactures are adding slide-outs to the trailer trailers.

There are about 300 RV's in this park now(Speed Week) and of them, probably 15% are travel trailers and the balance shows what buyers are now wanting in a RV.

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 02:12 PM   #12
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Talk the Talk

I've found from past shows, that since we are young with kids we don't generally get a second glance from the Salesman. When I "talk the talk" and express an interst and small knowledge, only then do they warm slightly.

We found (and heard others voicing similar opinions) that the show was lackluster. Cheap units were well represented along with hte monster slide-out 5th wheels and BIG Class A's. Sign of the economy we suppose too.

John, we are considering a new unit as a 2nd unit for an anticipated trip out west to Yellowstone and Down Route 66. We aren't sure we are willing to subject the '55 to that much roadtime. Have to actually use it to see. We REALLY like the Internationals, it requires MUCH more thought.
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Old 02-16-2003, 02:20 PM   #13
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Jason,

Don't blame you, as you have a really nice piece of American history there.

Also, you probably wouldn't be able fit it into any of the National Park's campgrounds.

And one more thought, from my driving experience out there, most folks aren't watching the road while driving(oh there's a deer, dear!) and you're chances of getting hit go way up!!

John
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Old 02-16-2003, 03:51 PM   #14
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That's one of our fears, getting run into, but that would sicken us if it happened to any trailer. It's also a case of having A/C available and making sure everything will work and not have to trace down parts for a @50 year old trailer away from home. The new Internationals are just plain nice inside, heck they all are!

John, I remember reading somewhere you've camped out west quite a bit, how bad are the antional park camprounds in terms of space alotted? I might have to p.m. you for further discussion on this one...
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