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Old 12-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #15
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I remember reading in one of the new construction press releases that part of the facility expansion is to include a new employee training section and additional QC personnel. Will this happen or help? Only time will tell.
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
Did I miss the boat on investing in Thor???? :-)

FYI-
"Analysts at BMO Capital downgraded Thor Industries
THO 0.29%
from Outperform to Market Perform. The price target for Thor Industries has been lowered from $62 to $54. Thor Industries' shares closed at $57.89 yesterday.

Read more: Benzinga's Top Downgrades - (BIND), CIRCOR International, Inc. (NYSE:CIR) | Benzinga
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
I have made an observation on Airstream Quality Control. We purchased a brand new 2005 Safari 25FB and had it for eight years and spent almost 1,400 nights in it. We recently purchased a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB, which is virtually the same trailer ten years newer.

There is definitely an improvement in fit and finish in the 2015 model. It is not perfect, but it is noticeably better than the 2005.

Brian
That is good to hear.

The QC issue would seem to be very, very manageable, just a matter of them attending to it rather than ignoring it.

I would like to think that the myriad of issues expressed here over the years, as well as increasing competition, has had something to do with that. It should.

People ask to see mine all the time and, even with an 06 model showing some wear in 2014, never fail to say it is absolutely beautiful.

It's primarily the aluminum interior.


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Old 12-27-2014, 12:14 PM   #18
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That's 2,600 per year, close to what a previous article announcing the factory expansion. That article said 2,700.

Thor Industries, the owner of Airstream, sells a variety of mediocre brands and uses Airstream as its quality brand. But cost cutting and maximizing profits is what Thor is all about. That mentality infected Airstream long ago. It got so bad in the mid-oughts that they tried to respond to the many, many complaints posted on this Forum. There was a "Town Hall" thread started by Airstream around 2009 or 2010 where president Bob Wheeler was to dialogue with owners. I think he was shocked to see how many owners were unhappy. He did promise to work with people on corrosion issues and apparently some were made happy. But the unhappy owners scared away Airstream and Wheeler wanted to end the town hall. The thread was closed and some time ago it was "disappeared". You can no longer find it on the Forum.

My impression is that quality control has improved a little. Some design improvements have been made. The price increases seem to exceed improvements made. If I wanted to replace ours, I certainly would look for a used one where depreciation has made the price more realistic.

When you can sell anything you make, there is little economic reason to improve. Thor is not going to change in the foreseeable future. It is a company that has been very successful being mediocre. That is a mind set common to many American companies. The investments made in the new plant as stated in a previous article seem to me to be very little for such an expansion. I suspect they are doing it on the cheap and there will be little effect on quality either way.

Gene
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:35 PM   #19
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It's so great to hear that Moosetags, because I see more complaints/problems online than I see praise. I'm sure happy owners have less reason to post, and I appreciate when anyone shares their repair issues so I can learn, but it does scare me off from upgrading.
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:38 PM   #20
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I think there's some similarity between Airstreamers here and the Honda Enthusiasts over at "Temple of VTEC". What the enthusiasts and the tuners (restorers) want or say they want isn't what sells in the real world of momvans and boring sedans in any appreciable quantity.

Obviously THOR has the ability to make an airstream trailer with an Aluminum Floor Frame and All Aluminum floor, since they bought camperlite without some sort of catalytic action corroding the whole thing into dust, but there's no market or practical reason to at present. Or they could use higher tensile strength, fully galvanized steel like the car industry has been moving to which would be less sexy than AU but probably actually a slightly better engineering choice.

That is they could make the whole thing rustproof and 500-700lbs lighter across the line, but the price would go up 10k+ is my guess. The forums are already screaming about price. Interiors could be metal and glass framing, fiberglass and plastic panels which like the old avions which would last longer and wear better, 5k+ Would actual sales go up ? Probably not, and they might go down.

The best the enthusiasts could hope for here in my opinion is for improved frame and floor and layout options to become an *option*, on a custom configuration tool/website. At that point we would see who actually shows up and pays for these extras before it is discontinued.

Another issue is: what is the purpose of an Airstream ? To be a shiny good looking and very towable travel trailer. But since the numbers say that most of the customers are buying or have oversized engines and vehicles to pull anyways, the utility benefit of spending 10's of thousands to get back to 60s and 70s weights isn't there either.

In the meantime gradual improvement over time, and a fairly repairable enthusiast platform.
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:53 PM   #21
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When the question of whether improvements would increase the price of Airstreams is raised, it it always assumed it would. But I suspect Airstream is a cash cow. They have raised prices substantially since we bought ours in 2007, but I don't see how the few changes justify that.

No one seems to have gone deep into the Thor Industry financials to check how much profit Airstream generates. It may be impossible to find it out. It would be easier to check Thor's overall financials since they have to be published at a public company. It would also be useful to find out what the tip execs are making. Maybe some CPA out there will look.

Gene
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:12 PM   #22
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When the original owners sell due to retirement or death its a sure bet that QC and innovation disappear. A/S was pretty cool to about 1968. Not since then.

Aircraft honeycomb floors and all aluminum cabinetry would have been logical changes. Not gonna happen.


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Old 12-30-2014, 05:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Moflash View Post
It would be pretty easy and inexpensive to raise the quality of the Airstream product.Just monitor this forum and acknowledge the owner base that they already have.To bury your head in the sand as a manufacturer and plow on is a poor business practice for any company.Most Airstream issues are easy fixes and could be implemented without a major investment on their part.

Listen to your past customers and your future will be profitable.


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Well said!
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
FYI-
"Analysts at BMO Capital downgraded Thor Industries
THO 0.29%
from Outperform to Market Perform. The price target for Thor Industries has been lowered from $62 to $54. Thor Industries' shares closed at $57.89 yesterday.

Read more: Benzinga's Top Downgrades - (BIND), CIRCOR International, Inc. (NYSE:CIR) | Benzinga
If BMO hates it, I'm in.

I see their most recent quarter was close to a billion in sales for THOR as a whole. The thing I don't understand from skimming the website is why they keep so many similar brands.

Also, is it mandatory in the RV industry to cover all products with ugly decals ?
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:37 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
FYI-
"Analysts at BMO Capital downgraded Thor Industries
THO 0.29%
from Outperform to Market Perform. The price target for Thor Industries has been lowered from $62 to $54. Thor Industries' shares closed at $57.89 yesterday.

Read more: Benzinga's Top Downgrades - (BIND), CIRCOR International, Inc. (NYSE:CIR) | Benzinga

Ahhh.....the Airforums Investor Club. Is it time for a new thread?

Bob
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:44 PM   #26
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could be...I enjoy playing with a few $$
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:07 PM   #27
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Car sales are up
Motor home sales are up
The economy is finally improving to the point where people
feel comfortable enough to spend their disposable income.

After the Great Recession, it hasn't been like this for many years.

These are gravy days for manufacturers of durable goods.
Don't expect price reductions or significant consumer friendly improvements in goods during this environment.

Bottom line, not the best time to be buying a new airstream
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:23 AM   #28
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12 things you may not have known about Airstreams. Thanks to Airforums, I did know most of them. Thought I would share the link below:

Things You Didn't Know About Airstream Trailers
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