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Old 06-27-2003, 08:37 PM   #1
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Quality concerns

It would be interesting if there were some foreign competition in the RV business as there is with automobiles. I suspect we would see an improvement in quality then.
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:52 PM   #2
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Yeah then we could get some campers like this.

I grew up in Troy. Lived there till I was 13 at East long lake Estates.
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Old 06-27-2003, 09:58 PM   #3
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A Unimog with a winch on top? That guy really likes to boondock.

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Old 06-27-2003, 10:05 PM   #4
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Those Unimog's are cool. There is a whole subculture of Unimoggers out there. A local city just sold one for around $1K a year or so ago at an auction.
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Old 06-27-2003, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by 74Argosy24MH
A Unimog with a winch on top? That guy really likes to boondock.

John
hehe they are cool. Thought about selling my K5 and getting a 404 or a 416. Just to big for the trails around here that I run.
I know the current owner of this one. He still owes me some seat time in it. Hell I'm the one that got him turned up to mogs. He was thrashing Hummers before this. It's for sale again.


This thing is really slick. It has a Werner 40k PTO winch on the front. Right behind the cab is a Warn 9K. They have a ring off the roll bar so it can winch off it for side hilling or be used to right it's self. Then another guide ring on the end of the bed for winching from the back. It was built for the Croatia Trophy but came to the US and was sold before it went back for the race.
Here is more about it.
http://www.eurotruck-importers.com/custom.htm

If interested I could put you in direct contact with the guy and might get it below the $28k price on the site.
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Old 06-27-2003, 11:30 PM   #6
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Quality concerns?

What quality concerns? If you don't like the new AS's, plenty of vintage models are around. Nothing else stacks up.
Foreign competition?
Wanna buy a used Yugo?


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Old 06-28-2003, 01:14 AM   #7
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Actually there is, sort of. I think.

Isn't the Award a Canadian built travel trailer on a euro design chassis?

Mark
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Old 06-28-2003, 07:54 AM   #8
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I was thinking of Lexus not Yugo. I was thinking of purchasing a New CCD International but the postings on their forum and my experiences with factory repair have changed my mind for now.
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Old 06-28-2003, 09:28 AM   #9
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I was thinking of Lexus not Yugo.
Airstream's are already expensive, add Lexus pricing to the mix and I doubt very many would sell. You would be pushing the price of a 30 ft. trailer close to that of a diesel pusher now.

The market already shows quality is not really the #1 concern in RV's. I have read on some of the other forums advice to new owners that it will take 2 years to sort everything out. Many of the owners seem to accept this as the norm. A lot of high end RV's seem to be as much status symbols as anything, at least 330 horsepower, nothing less than a triple slide, etc. But I am not sure a $125,000 trailer or $250,000 mh would sell to the mass market, even status has a price (you live in Oakland County. I saw an article 6 months ago that there are enough $1,000,000+ homes for sale here now to last 5 years at the current sales level).

John
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Old 06-28-2003, 10:08 AM   #10
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Since one posting used a Yugo as an example of import quality, I took the other extreme. I don't see why a quality RV can't be made for $40,000. I'm talking about inspection when I speak of quality. I assume the posters on this site aren't making things up. I know when I looked at a CCD I noticed the gap in the wall of the wet bath that I constantly see on the CCD forum. I wonder what problems are there that aren't so obvious. As long as we are willing to spend two years trying to straighten out our purchase, we will get that kind of quality. I rember when cars were the same way, the dealers had to finish building them. Then the imports came along and Detroit is just starting to catch up with their quality. Sorry to get on my soapbox, but things don't have to be that way. Honda has a plant not too many miles from the Airstream plant and they seem to be able to build a decent product with American workers from the same job pool.
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:08 AM   #11
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Honda has a production line that makes hundreds of thousands of cars.

Airstream has a production line that in it's heyday, made 120 trailers per week.

But at this point, toss in the inter mix of motorhomes along with the trailers and it becomes very tough to maintain a high quality in production.

In spite of that Airstream does extremely well in producing a quality product, throughout their line up.

Problems? Sure? So does Ford, GM and Chrysler. Do they have recalls? You bet, and when they do, it usally hundreds of thousands.

Anyone that has taken time to take the plant tour will conclude that Airstream tries "very hard."

Complaining doesn't solve any problem, it creates problems. A simple call to Airstream about "any" problem, will receive a quick answer, if at all possible.

On the other hand, the selling dealer has a big hand in quality. He is paid to give the coach a "final" inspection, and repair and/or correct as necessary.

Overall, Airstream has built the finest all metal travel trailer, bar none.

Avion, Silverstream and Streamline, all bit the dust for producing a so so quality product, that was not backed up by a good dealerships.

Airstream, still "lives," very well indeed, and will continue to do so.

Every manufacturer has labor problems. Crafts people are harder and harder to find, regardless of the product. Airstream is no exception.

When the "dust" settles, Airstream will still be the leader.


Andy
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:18 AM   #12
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Honda has a plant not too many miles from the Airstream plant and they seem to be able to build a decent product with American workers from the same job pool.
I know this is of little consequence to the buyer with the poor fits, etc. but the problem is not the workers, it is the management/engineers. Design a product so that it can only be assembled properly. Spec purchased parts properly, and only use vendors that are capable of consistently producing these parts.

Studies have shown most workers want to do a good job and will given the proper tools and parts; it is much easier to assemble a dinette if all parts fit properly than if they must be trimmed, beat, etc. to fit. Otherwise they will assemble it the best they can given the limitations of the job.

Inspection is not necessary. It is expensive as no value is added to the trailer by having a person look at the work other people have done. Much better to get a couple of engineers out of their offices and down on the floor to find out why there is a gap in the wall than have an inspector note it on every trailer.

There was a lot of finger pointing in the auto industry about who was responsible for the (lack of) quality of the vehicles of the 70's and 80's. Ultimately it fell on the shoulders of management. They controlled hiring the workers, vendor choice, line speed, etc., (and what went out the door). It became obvious if you want quality it has to be designed into the vehicle.

What really drove the automakers to improve quality was the drop in sales. Foreign auto were taking a big bite, quality was listed as the #1 reason, so a change in corporate ideology began. As long as RV sales are at record levels I don't think you will find the engineers doing much but watching their portfolios grow and patting themselves on the backs, much the same as the auto industry in the 70's.

John
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:50 AM   #13
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Well said...

John, you're absolutely right. What happens when word is out to all of the potential market that 30' trailers have a design flaw that causes a gap in the bath? People don't buy 30' trailers. They sit on the lot, and are either ultimately sold at a HUGE discount to get rid of them, or they go back to the factory (or repair center) for a rebuild before they're sold. Either way, Thor loses money. Not good for the bottom line for the shareholders.

We as consumers make our statements by the way we spend money. If we're willing to buy poorly designed products with shoddy workmanship and second-rate materials then that's what will be sold in the marketplace.

If on the other hand, we only buy quality design, workmanship and materials and the shoddy stuff sits, then the shoddy stuff goes away and we get the good stuff. It's really pretty simple.

Airstream is a product. An excellent product that, considering the complexity of design and execution probably has far fewer issues than other similar products (read S.O.B.s here), but it is still a product; nothing more, nothing less (although we have given it this huge cult following).

If you think that any product is substandard, then either don't spend the money for it, or make sure that it is brought up to your standards before you plunk down your dollars. In a free-market economy, we vote with dollars spent.

Roger
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