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Old 05-09-2009, 08:10 AM   #1
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Report From Jackson Center

Well once again I find myself in JC - probably for the last time. So having some time on my hands I took the factory tour yesterday for the umpteenth time and I think this was the best so far. Factory is closed on Friday and and Don the Tour Guide let us get up close to everything - in fact I was kinda surprised we were allowed into some of the places. Anyway here is what I learned.

Current production is a mighty 14 a week - and this in the biggest selling season or so I would think. Supposedly the PanAmerica has been a big hit although I have my doubts about that and there were none on the line. Airstream has shed a large number of employees but is "OK" according to Don. There are few new trailers around the factory awaiting shipment - nothing like the last time I was here. There are a bunch of finished Interstate's sitting in the lot and and they are not being built at the moment due to slow sales. They do have a large number of new Freightliners to work with if/when sales start again.

Are you ready for the Flying Cloud Special Edition? Well one is on the way for 2010. Have no idea what makes it special - Don said this was the first he'd seen and he had no info as to what extra stuff was included. Is the Flying Cloud name gonna head the same way as the Safari - with so many variations that they drop it? Comments Airhog?

There was a KOA trailer on the line. Easiest way to tell these is the steel wheels. Don said that KOA had ordered 600 so they must be pleased with the early results. Doubt Airstream makes much on these beyond the publicity of being able to rent one. But at least it does provide work to keep things going. As we were ending the tour a delivery man was just coming in to pick up Airstream's. He left later with 2 KOA units. Didn't get a chance to ask him where they were going and he might not have told me anyway.

The prototype Scout was sitting outside the factory and we were able to take a quick look inside. I didn't see much difference in the brief look from other small trailers of this type like the Shasta except that it appears to be taller. No decision has been made on production yet. It is currently being towed around the countryside so see how well it tows, etc. According to Don the prototype cost 45 grand to build.

There was another thread earlier that I believe said the Classic was being completely dropped for 2010. This is not correct. They are dropping the 34, 31 and possible one other length but the rest will continue to be made. Also dropping all slideouts.

Someone else who recently did the tour reported that the Flying Cloud now came with the beltline molding - presumably to help with the filiform corrosion problem. According to Don only SOME of the Flying Clouds and Internationals are having the molding applied. He asked why and said they wouldn't tell him but from looking at the defect sheets on the trailers on the line it appears that the only ones that will get the molding are those with some kind of defect on the beltline such as nicks/scrapes in the edge of the panels, small bulges, badly done rivets etc. In my opinion if you're gonna put it on one you should put it on all but that's just my opinion.

And in another sign of the tough times at Airstream the cookie jars in the customer area are empty!

Probably missed something but that's all I can think of. Airstream Outside WiFi is not working so I'm connected to a very weak router somewhere - hopefully it'll hold up long enough for me to send this. And remember some of this is hearsay so I can't vouch for the accuracy of all of it.

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Old 05-09-2009, 08:26 AM   #2
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Thumbs up

Great info...thanks for posting it!

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Old 05-09-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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Hey AL,

All trailers are going to get the beltline...not "just the ones with defects"

As far as I know the Flying Cloud is here to stay...nothing has been said about a special edition to us...that is not saying they won't come out with one...but I have not heard anything.

As far as the Classics go..they will build the 27FB and the 30.

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Old 05-09-2009, 10:09 AM   #4
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Thank you; great report.

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Old 05-09-2009, 10:17 AM   #5
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Hey Airhog,

Beltline Molding - It may well be that for 2010 all Flying Clouds and Internationals will have this. But on the 2009's that were on the line it was not on all. The trailers that had or were to get the molding had it listed on the punch sheet and on the ones that were going to get the molding but hadn't had it applied yet there were little yellow pieces of paper with a arrow along the beltline pointing to the defects that called for the molding. This I saw myself and Don also clearly said it was not being put on all although he had not been given a reason why. The defect part is my guess based on the punch sheets and the yellow arrows.

The only 2010 on the line was a Flying Cloud with the "Special Edition" oval surrounding the Flying Cloud oval - just like the Safari's. It was not far enough along to get any idea what was different. Don said when it was finished he was going to find out what it had that the regular Flying Cloud didn't so maybe someone taking the tour in a week or so can get some better scoop.
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
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"Are you ready for the Flying Cloud Special Edition? Well one is on the way for 2010. Have no idea what makes it special"

..."mouse-fur" covering on the walls, perhaps?
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:27 AM   #7
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You know it is a sad day to hear that AS is going to discontinue all 34's, 30's with slides. Question now posed is how small are they going to discontinue down to? Maybe stop everything above 25 or 28?

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Old 06-28-2009, 05:43 AM   #8
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The sign of the times is pointing toward smaller trailers. AS is examining mass production of the Scout, but I hope they are also looking smaller (11'-16' range), like the size and simplicity of the T@B, but with more curves!

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