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Old 10-06-2014, 05:47 PM   #71
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You could say that ALL RV's are hand made. Since most are assembled one piece at a time. Very little automation.
I fail to see what makes A$ so expensive.
It is certainly not the equipment such as water heaters, refers and the like. Since they use the same items you find in most SOB's.
it isn't the flooring materials or the plumbing materials. Not the propane tanks etc.. It's not the axles or tires.
Aluminum is one of the least expensive materials on the market today. That is why soda and beer cans are made of it.
So! What makes them soooo expensive?
It is that WE are willing to pay. And PAY BIG for that 9 letter word.



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Airstream uses a number of automated processes.

But then, labor costs, advertising costs, that 5 letter nasty word TAXES, many material costs, all the metal costs, segments in 1966 sold for $ 15.00 retail, glass, paints, wire, warranty, Airstream's labor rate for warranty in 1966 was $ 5.00 if you were certified, shipping costs.

Machinery costs, both automated and manual.

Water, sewage, electricity and heating gas, have all gone up.

Then we won't even mention gasoline prices that add to the cost of delivering the coach to a dealer.

Oh yes, many things have increase way beyond Airstream's control.

But, Airstream's reputation is far superior than many RV manufacturers could even dream of.

Purchase an airplane, and see how the prices of aluminum have risen over the years.

Andy
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #72
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Part of the high price is that we are still buying.
Same goes for cars and trucks.

They have all gone up ant least in my time, 15 to 20 times.

And we still buy.

Andy
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:17 PM   #73
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Are the production people represented by a bargaining unit?
No. Some years ago there was an effort to unionize, but management made sure it wouldn't happen.

Having taken the tour twice, I thought it was labor intensive and could use a lot of automation, but automation's initial costs are high. Since they can sell everything they make, there was no economic incentive to change. There is at present one production line.

Costs of production that way are high. Things like taxes, water, etc., are the same everywhere in the upper Midwest, so those things are equal across the board. Across the state line, in Indiana many RV's are made and they have essentially the same fixed costs.

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Old 10-06-2014, 06:39 PM   #74
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Delivery charge, flat rate like the auto companies, is now $1300 and change. Last year I think it was just under $1000.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:51 PM   #75
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OK Devil's Advocate here.

If YOU were the head of AS and were give a chunk of capital and 125 new workers and big new barn, what would you do with it?

In you opinion, what market segment is AS currently not serving, or not serving optimally?

IMHO, it would be the need for smaller units with more features. Towable by a Honda Pilot or similar vehicle.

The current underfloor design (due to tank locations, etc.) can't get a twin bed unit in anything smaller than a 25. I think a lot of empty nester/part time retirees would like a smaller unit, say 18-23, with twin beds so there isn't the bed-hop in the current layouts, and still want an eating table available even when the beds are both made. Older backs get creaky and the bed-hop is an inconvenience.

AS used to have the gaucho models and even the rear bath, twin galley models. Bring them back I say.

I don't want to pull a 25, but not sure what to do about the bed-hop.

I also wouldn't be surprised if they came out with a 5th wheel on the other end of the spectrum.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:52 PM   #76
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I can only hope they don't unionize. Then the quality and costs will skyrocket if this happens. Unions are not what they used to be!! Jim
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:56 PM   #77
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Anyone who has ever run a business that keeps books knows well that while the big lines like labor, material, and insurance take a chunk, it is all of the "little things" added together that get you in trouble.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:06 PM   #78
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I thought Airstream had a payroll of 350-400 people, an additional 125 people would therefore be a big uptick... They could be working on somthing big...

...iStream?
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:38 PM   #79
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They need a quality control person.
...just one would help !!!

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I can only hope they don't unionize. Then the quality and costs will skyrocket if this happens. Unions are not what they used to be!! Jim
It would be great if the quality skyrocketed !!!
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:15 AM   #80
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Oops! The quality will fall and the costs go up. Sorry about the misstep. Jim
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:06 PM   #81
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It has become commonplace to attack union workers. It is management that is responsible for quality and if they don't send the message that quality workmanship is not primary, no matter whether workers are unionized or not, quality will suffer. Unions bring living wages and helped create a large middle class after WW II. Before the Great Depression, the middle class was much smaller and the lower class much bigger. Now that unions, attacked for a generation and more, are weak, wages are stagnant or falling and the middle class is being squeezed into the lower class. Who will have the money to buy an Airstream? Only the top few percent will be able afford them, but when you only produce two or three thousand a year, maybe that will be enough.

Airstream is nonunion and quality is not very good. If management took the right steps, quality would improve. People who barely get by on their wages are demoralized and less likely to care what they do because they see no way out. Those that can't get by rely on government to provide food stamps, Medicaid and other benefits and we all pay for that. How is that sensible?

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Old 10-07-2014, 01:12 PM   #82
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Unions will not make the quality any better. The most common phrase I have heard from a union member is. "That's not my job"
Many deadbeats are protected by unions.
Look what has happened to Government Workers, Teachers etc.. You can't get rid of the poor performers.
Try and get a teacher fired.
Management can only do so much. People just don't take pride in their workmanship these days.
I started my career as an hourly worker and ended it as a manager for a large corporation. Believe me. Things have changed.
It's become an ALL ABOUT ME situation in the work place. Whether it is the line worker or management.
People have a choice as to work for a specific wage. They can choose not to take the job. But, if they do, they should give 100%.
I believe that those who get promoted from the rank and file make better managers than those who have never worked with their hands. They have a better understanding of what is required.
Wages are stagnant because of the economy and all of the free stuff the government hands out. Why work when you can sit on your butt at home and collect $40K -$80K a year tax free. Unemployment is up to almost 2 years now.
There are plenty of good paying jobs. Just look at North Dakota. But in order to get those jobs. You need skills.
The average 7th grader today can only read at a 2nd grade level. And you have to go to college today to get the equivalent of a high school education comparable to that of the 1960's.
It doesn't matter if you are union or not. If you don't have reasonable intelligence and education. It will be difficult to maintain a middle class life style.
IMHO



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Old 10-07-2014, 01:37 PM   #83
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Well said, Gene!
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Old 10-07-2014, 01:45 PM   #84
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Airstream further announced today that they will be hiring an additional 125 associates.

Are there 125 qualified people in Jackson Center to fill the jobs? When I ran my companies, I had employees, not associates. I suspect my employees were more interested in cashing a decent paycheck for a job well done than a "politically correct" title to help their self esteem!


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