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Old 01-23-2016, 07:24 AM   #15
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The conversion to a serious maximum capacity solar powered Airstream with a lithium battery system, an instant on propane only demand water heater, battery powered DanFoss compressor refrigerator, Michelin tires on appropriate wheels, Maxim skylights and Maxxfan ceiling fans etc can easily add 30% to 40% of the list price of an Airstream to the total investment.

We have modified our Classic and 23D extensively to fix short comings in the factory installed electrical equipment and cabinetry latches and lighting along with fixing all the initial QC issues.

Now the on going maintenance to protect the investment will be my job.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:05 AM   #16
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Why different, we like what we have. Not too big and not too small, everyone including us likes the look of it. We have traveled many times throughout the country with it, have over 1,000 nights in it and all of the original equipment is still working nicely after 4 1/2 years, none of the hardware or cabinets have broken. It tows beautifully with our Ram 1500 reg cab pickup, which gives us and the trailer a comfortable and inexpensive ride.

Upgrade as it suits you, we changed tires for long-distance reliability and living room for long-term comfort. Installed a ProPride hitch for extensive towing safety and ease.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
In my case, it has been kind of the opposite experience. We bought a new 2005 Safari 25FB, and camped over 1,300 night in it. It had its quality control issues, but we still enjoyed it immensely. We now have a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB that we also purchased new. We have now topped 200 nights in the new Airstream.

Our assessment of the quality control on the 2005 vs. the 2015 is that the 2015 is a much tighter and better built trailer that the 2005 was. The fit and finish of the the 2015 is noticeably better that the 2005.

Brian
Moosetags: my guess is, and I am hoping, my experience (lack of good factory QC) with my 25' 2016 AS, built in May 2015, was due to my AS was built during the massive factory expansion at AS. Their expansion was not just one of make the floor space bigger, they also changed out their assembly line manufacturing process from old school to new optimized manufacturing processes. Many of us in this transition of AS's expansion had similar QC issues. My dealer even noted they have never had so many returns for fixing things during this transition . These are all fixable and it did not distract from my love of my AS. Just a little disappointed with AS, it was preventable.
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:02 AM   #18
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McDave. A little reminder as to why foreign cars "cleaned our clock" It was not because of sloppy work as much as it was the price of the imports. A 1974 Chevy pickup sold for $3500 new, when I could have bought an import for half that. So $$$$ price was the biggest factor as to why people bought Japanese cars and trucks.
Now why the public buys from the big three is because imports can have the same problems as U.S.A made cars and truck. Bless the U.S.A.
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:53 PM   #19
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Airstream, a different approach?

I respectfully disagree. My wife's 1992 Mazda Miata has 101k miles on it and has had two sets of brake pads and a new valve cover gasket. That's the sum total of repair costs (other than batteries and tires)

My 2004 Nissan Titan is just shy of 200k. I have about $4000 in repairs and upgrades over 11 years. The paint is shot but it drives like new and has never left me stranded.

While I have never owned a Chrysler product, I have owned both Ford and GMC products. They all start out great but the domestics all had rattles, groans or leaks by year three.

While the price advantage may well have been why imports got their toehold in the 60's, I think the build quality and solid engineering is what sells them now.

Mike
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Old 01-23-2016, 03:33 PM   #20
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My 04 Tahoe has about 225,000 miles and has not had half of that 4K in repairs and upgrades.

This has been consistent for me across the decades on my gas powered domestic branded vehicles, save my 93 Explorer...


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Old 01-23-2016, 04:37 PM   #21
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Airstream, a different approach?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elbo View Post
McDave. A little reminder as to why foreign cars "cleaned our clock" It was not because of sloppy work as much as it was the price of the imports. A 1974 Chevy pickup sold for $3500 new, when I could have bought an import for half that. So $$$$ price was the biggest factor as to why people bought Japanese cars and trucks.
Now why the public buys from the big three is because imports can have the same problems as U.S.A made cars and truck. Bless the U.S.A.

I take your point, but I think what you are saying supports my point also. When Japanese cars came on the market at half the price of American cars, that made American cars a "premium product." If American cars had truly been a premium product, people would have continued to buy them. What American cars of the '60's offered instead was obsolete engineering, high repair rates, mediocre handling, and older electronics. Other than that, people still liked the way they looked better than the Japanese cars, but styling wasn't enough to make most people want to pay the premium price.

On the other hand, when you truly do have a premium product, people are willing to pay much more than the additional costs involved in making it a premium product. That is where Airstream has in the past, and hopefully will continue to, position itself.


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Old 01-23-2016, 06:39 PM   #22
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Import dealers had no limits on reimbursement and problems were instantly addressed. Word of mouth on how well a dealer treated an import customer went a long way toward establishing a reputation for quality that wasn't always there. Too, they had fewer points so that dealerships made money without cutting prices. And, Honda, Toyota, etc are part of Japan Inc. There are a few imported RV's out there that have a price advantage and quality over similar Domestic products.
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Old 01-25-2016, 06:30 AM   #23
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It's Monday. Don't intend to poke the bear, but; are Asian or Europen vehicle manufactures unionized? Wonder if that affected the 60's onslaught of market share? Just asking.
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Old 01-25-2016, 07:05 AM   #24
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When Airstream asked on their website for input on their new Land Yacht concept I said it was beautiful but was concerned over a higher priced model. I may sound skeptical but I see lean times coming. Consider that most every Airstreamer I have met either a) lives in it, b)is a business owner with funds to afford one or c) a retired person from a pensioned job and, choice C contains the biggest percentage of those I have met- Vet, Teacher, Police, Fireman. The issue is that currently pensions have gone away for those under 40 (for the most part) and businesses are running much leaner. That leaves group A which is what seems to be happening more and more. It is a unique way to buy a less expensive abode. Consider too the Tiny House movement.

I believe Airstream SHOULD be looking at their economical line and a price range under $40K. I don't know about statistics everywhere in the US but here the majority of RV people are retirees which we know national stats on that group indicate less and less being saved for retirement.

Just for fun, look at this:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2...ings_that.html

Yes, its POD PEOPLE!

@mcDave, you are describing the challenge of the market. One thing that is true is that there is a good/bad to unions- that is certain whichever side of the fence one stands. The bad is that it leads often to mediocrity which then manifests in the product. Dad, a previous UAW shared many stories over the years. The other challenge is buying options which you mention Japanese is a governmental action. They provided a market for the Japanese to sell their products- the US, undercutting our brands. The same happened to the textile industry, the furniture industry, etc, etc. and now most products are CHINESE. The issue is that people want inexpensive but do not always consider that the socks or underwear made in North Carolina that cost more also represent jobs so we buy the foreign underwear that is cheaper. Eventually a whole industry fails. Right now it is happening with gasoline. They know what they are doing- driving out the US investors in alternative fuel to be the only game in town once they are gone and prices can increase again. As for Airstream, they have a niche market but still need customers to be able to afford the product. The Baby Boomers are about the last group capable of that in mass unless something changes. Right now the least expensive Airstream is $45K or so. I believe that is too high. Especially for 16'.
We used to have high quality home furniture in the stores around here for purchase, Habersham Plantation, Theodore Alexander, etc. The stores closed that carried it and now we have Rooms to Go oriental furniture cheaply made. The nice stuff is out there still somewhere but dialed back in production and out of reach price-wise for most and in limited production. Ethan Allen, same story.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:32 AM   #25
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I hate to tell you folks this, but I spent New Years in the desert and I was the only old guy. The rest were Millenials. For the most part the equipment is a real mix, both old and new Airstreams, home made small houses on wheels, fifth wheels and a Few Class A's. along with a family of five in a pickup with a camper. There were over forty vehicles. Some of the new Airstreams had been customized and were much better for it. Also almost everyone was solar, and lithium batteries were in evidence. At the other end was a restored camper, with compost toilet and a tow vehicle that ran on fryer oil.

These were families that have evolved to living and working on the road. It was wonderful watching the integration of children, dogs, and families, and almost like living in a suburban environment, except everyone was mobile.

The Millenials are not waiting for Thor to wake up...some of the customizations were phenomenal.
Hey Vincent! We were there too! And you're spot on!

Hey, I think I see your Airstream



Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
The conversion to a serious maximum capacity solar powered Airstream with a lithium battery system, an instant on propane only demand water heater, battery powered DanFoss compressor refrigerator, Michelin tires on appropriate wheels, Maxim skylights and Maxxfan ceiling fans etc can easily add 30% to 40% of the list price of an Airstream to the total investment.

We have modified our Classic and 23D extensively to fix short comings in the factory installed electrical equipment and cabinetry latches and lighting along with fixing all the initial QC issues.

Now the on going maintenance to protect the investment will be my job.
We've been on an upgrade path as well. Which is part of the reason I bought late model used. Less to restore/fix. And more money on upgrades/addon's.

I think Airstream could accomplish that with two offerings, one 23D sized and one 25 sized. Thing is, most folks our age now have kids. So space is a real issue. Airstream needs real sleeping arrangements that work. And not like they were half-assed and an afterthought for when the retirees have the grandkids over.

Maybe a real solar offering that isn't a rip-off. We all know that for less you can get 400 watts from someone like AM Solar. Maybe some other offerings too. And maybe replace dealer financing with their own financing that is aimed at younger people.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
When Airstream asked on their website for input on their new Land Yacht concept I said it was beautiful but was concerned over a higher priced model. I may sound skeptical but I see lean times coming. Consider that most every Airstreamer I have met either a) lives in it, b)is a business owner with funds to afford one or c) a retired person from a pensioned job and, choice C contains the biggest percentage of those I have met- Vet, Teacher, Police, Fireman. The issue is that currently pensions have gone away for those under 40 (for the most part) and businesses are running much leaner. That leaves group A which is what seems to be happening more and more. It is a unique way to buy a less expensive abode. Consider too the Tiny House movement.
Um, we're not all living in them because we are poor . Most of the folks living, working, and exploring are in tech. And that's generally on the high-income side buddy.

Here's a bunch of us in front of our Airstream from over the holidays.


Really though, I noticed that younger people who only weekend with trailers don't buy Airstreams. Before we went full-time we saw a lot of people our age in Florida and they all had 5th wheels and toy haulers. And I saw a lot of the same thing in Moab too.

When you're living in sticks and bricks, in your 30's or 40's you probably have a family and hobbies, plus some toys. You want to get out and enjoy that. Airstream really isn't the brand for that if we're being honest.

But to touch on your point rodsterinfl - Airstream could maybe build an offering that is aim'd at the lifestyle crowd that wants to live in them. I just think legal and warranty might scare them away from the issue. How many times do they claim you're not suppose to live in these?

Still a 23-25 option, with a layout designed to sleep 4 comfortable, every night, think bunks and stuff. With a real solar offering, say 400 watts min. And a reasonable battery setup of 220aH minimum. Better tires. And maybe a from factory system of carrying bikes and other camping things, more exterior storage, might attract some folks.

I can tell you, the durability and longevity of an Airstream, not worrying about slides breaking and stuff, is part of the reason outside of the iconic look that we own one.

We just meet someone who switched from a 5th wheel to an Airstream because the 5thy was nothing but problem after problem.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:52 AM   #26
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Mike,

I had hoped you might join the conversation. Thanks. And love the images...and yes, that is my truck and trailer in the lower left.
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Old 01-25-2016, 09:17 PM   #27
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So $$$$ price was the biggest factor as to why people bought Japanese cars and trucks.

Way off...
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:13 AM   #28
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Relevant and glossed over - 1973 gas embargo. Gasoline went from $0.259 to over a dollar a gallon very quickly. Pickups got 12 mpg. Folks with a 60 mile commute suddenly were paying between 40% and 50% of the day's pre-tax income for the days's gasoline. The imports were getting in the high 20s and 30s. The imports lasted several hundred thousand miles when Detroit was happy if you got through the 3 years/36000 mile warranty without claims.

After over 30 years, Detroit finally got the message and better fuel economy is now reflected in a large percentage of their products. The Cadillac "long boats" with marshmallow suspensions are memories for the white haired set. Their QC has improved. In some product lines, there is nearly price parity across the offerings.

When looking at Airstream dealerships on line, one sees that a very tiny percentage of the dealers try to live off only Airstream sales and service. They have several other lines as well. Even Colonial handles a competitive product to their Mercedes/Airstream RVs plus larger motorhomes.

At the Mesa, AZ dealership, the Airstream stock occupies 5% to 10% maximum of the square footage for their RV related inventory. Folks have told me that they walk in to see the Airstreams and the salesperson takes them to the higher margin 5th wheels and buses instead.

Since in most states the lemon laws do not apply to the RV industry, that industry has no real incentive to have zero defects as the customer lacks the ultimate weapon of returning the defective unit and getting their money back.

I was at Colonial when they returned a small motorhome (like the Mercedes Airstream) to the manufacturer saying they were unable to repair all the build issues.

Perhaps a few Airstreams coming back on Airstream's nickel with a full refund to the dealership concerned would make QC more important at all levels of Airstream production.
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