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Old 01-16-2016, 11:58 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by TexasVine View Post
In an effort to bring down the average age of buyers for the elegant but expensive travel trailers and vans, Wheeler said, the company will shortly unveil a new product thatís smaller, sportier, easier to operate and cheaper.

With that statement being made, i'm think the new offering will not eat into the existing customer base (50-60 years of age). Looks like the same philosophy some of the higher end car manufacturers have. Such companies like Porsche offered a less expensive model that did not appeal to their base market but a more youthful market that could not afford the higher end product.This move probably comes from the parent company (Thor).

I find two distinctions among many that stand out with the Airstream line, Shiny and rounded. Wonder if they will keep either one of those characteristics in the new offering. I would think so in order to have the AS appeal.

This is a hugely long thread, and not a lot new really adds. +1 to what TexasVine says.


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Old 01-16-2016, 01:32 PM   #324
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Yes, it's kind of like "Seinfeld" - a thread about nothing. Well, wishful thinking and nothing.
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:04 PM   #325
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Not just nothing tho. I believe there will be a new and different product from Airstream Co sometime this year. I'm sure they're doing it to fit a perceived niche in the market, a gap they can satisfy for the demographic they want to attract. These guys are smart, purposeful. While no lack of complaints about some aspects of the product, we still buy them and I, for one, love my Airstream. No personal interest in replacing mine, but welcome all the attention Wheeler's announcement is garnering for the brand. I wish them very best of luck!
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Old 01-16-2016, 06:13 PM   #326
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Folks have offered good improvement suggestions and identified quality issues. This thread is not a bunch of noise about nothing. The RV market needs a wake up call. May the new less expensive AS be a step in the right direction and if not, all are encouraged to keep hammering at AS to improve their product lines. Pat
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Old 01-16-2016, 08:34 PM   #327
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There are small, innovative companies out there making travel trailers that are fresh, stylish, hi-tech, and appeal to a younger mindset:

The Trailer | Happier Camper
NEST Caravans
Oliver Travel Trailers | Fiberglass Travel Trailers

Change happens.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:36 AM   #328
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Harley Davidson is facing the same problem. The older chaps are retiring from riding and the younger ones can't afford a $20,000 two wheeled vehicle. So the much less expensive imports are getting the sales.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:39 AM   #329
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It is said, “To be a happy RVer, you need a village”. In many ways groups like Air Forums, WBCCI, Oliver Forum, Fiberglass RV and others are villages. These groups have an opportunity to guide and nurture new owners and thereby cultivate brand loyalty. A prospective owner would be wise to understand each village and choose wisely. Their journey may involve far more than just camping.

I suspect Bob Wheeler realizes he is on the verge of introducing a new product to the AS village. But more importantly, he will be introducing a new group of owners. Will they be welcomed by the village elders and others? Only the village can answer that question.

Does this thread have relevance? Perhaps the answer depends on where you are on your journey into the RV world. I believe this thread has already had a greater impact than many could even begin to imagine.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:48 AM   #330
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Happy days! 329 post in 24 pages and all based on an off hand remark by a company employee.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:38 AM   #331
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brain View Post
There are small, innovative companies out there making travel trailers that are fresh, stylish, hi-tech, and appeal to a younger mindset:

The Trailer | Happier Camper
NEST Caravans
Oliver Travel Trailers | Fiberglass Travel Trailers

Change happens.
One common element of the business models of Oliver, Nest, Happy Camper, Casita, Scamp is the direct to consumer distribution channel. There is no dealer network. Customers order trailers from the factory, pay some of the cost of the trailer up front before delivery, and travel to the factory to take delivery of the trailer.

Dealer networks are expensive. Dealerships must have and maintain buildings and large tracts of land for display of inventory. Taxes, rent, employee salaries, loan interest to floorplan the inventory, parts, advertising, utilities, insurance, the cost of transporting RV's from the factory to the dealership, and other expenses of dealerships contribute greatly to the cost of the Airstream purchased from a dealership. From what I've been able to learn about dealer margins, from 35-40% of the list retail price of a trailer goes to a dealer. This means a $50,000 list price Airstream 22' Sport is sold to the dealer for $30,000 to $32,500. A $100,000 list International Serenity 30' costs the dealer $60,000 to $65,000.

Recognize of course very few customers pay dealers full price for a trailer. Most of the Airstreamers I know who have purchased a new Airstream from a dealer recently have negotiated a price about 20% off list. This discount comes out of the dealer's margin and effectively cuts it in half. True dealer net profit margins are around 4-5% of selling (not list) price. Consider the following on a $50,000 list Airstream Sport
List Price $50,000
Selling price $40,000 (20% discount)
Dealer cost $30,000
Dealer margin $10,000
Operating Expenses: $8,400 - transportation, salaries, rent, interest, taxes, insurance, advertising, customer delivery, utilities
Net Dealer Profit: $1,600 (4% of $40,000 selling price)

The estimated dealer cost of a 22' Sport at $30,000 is in the ballpark of the price of fiberglass egg competitive trailers delivered direct to the customer at the factory. It is the additional cost of the dealer distribution channel that keeps the Airstream Sport from being price competitive with the fiberglass egg trailers.

It will be difficult for Airstream to be price competitive with the "modern" fiberglass and composite trailer brands targeting younger customers if it distributes its budget line through a costly dealership network. Perhaps Airstream will adopt the less costly direct to customer sales, and delivery at the factory, distribution model with its new budget line. If Airstream uses its dealership network for the new value product line, the only way to be price competitive with the fiberglass egg trailers will be accepting very low profit margins or sacrificing quality.

How much is the dealership network worth to the customer? Oliver, Scamp, Casita, Nest, and other upstarts catering to a younger customer seem to believe it is has no value. Apparently they are able to attract enough customers who are willing to pay money in advance for their trailer and travel thousands of miles to the factory to take delivery.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:48 AM   #332
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Maybe bring back the Holiday
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:37 PM   #333
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"How much is the dealership network worth to the customer? Oliver, Scamp, Casita, Nest, and other upstarts catering to a younger customer seem to believe it is has no value. Apparently they are able to attract enough customers who are willing to pay money in advance for their trailer and travel thousands of miles to the factory to take delivery."

Chuck,

You highlight an interesting observation regarding the effect of the dealer model on the price structure. You are correct other manufacturers have implemented a model which does not include a dealer network. I can tell you from my observations and first-hand experience, there may be at least four positive results to the prospective owner who chooses to buy directly from the factory.

1. You have already identified the potential elimination of the dealer mark-up within the price structure.

2. Owner to Prospective Owner Sales Process. Since not all new owners can/will make a trip to the factory to see the TT, the manufacturer will help arrange a local owner to graciously allow the prospective owner to tour their unit and have their questions answered. From my experience, this approach is far superior over a tour by a sales person motivated by a sales commission.

3. High Initial Quality. Interestingly some smaller manufacturers state this as the main reason for elimination of the dealer networks. In the case of an Oliver trailer, the factory has implemented a very structured system consisting of 4 levels of initial quality control. The new owner is actively involved in level 3 at the factory and level 4 is performed by the owner over a 12 to 18 hour period as they test all systems during a complimentary stay at a local campground.

4. Factory Owner Involvement in Customer Satisfaction. Many Oliver owners report how the Factory Owners/Key Leaders sat down with them during the delivery process to gather any ideas or comments which could help deliver a better product or process for future buyers. The Factory Owners feel the presence of a dealer network might be a barrier to their involvement and reduce the effectiveness of their continuous quality improvement program.

Might a prospective owner of a new AS product see benefit in this kind of approach?

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Old 01-17-2016, 02:45 PM   #334
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The dealer network means nothing to me. I have to travel to Jackson Center for prompt service, anyway.
Maybe Airstream should imitate Casita's business model.


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Old 01-17-2016, 02:58 PM   #335
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NHAir -- regarding your comment above: "2. Owner to Prospective Owner Sales Process. Since not all new owners can/will make a trip to the factory to see the TT, the manufacturer will help arrange a local owner to graciously allow the prospective owner to tour their unit and have their questions answered. From my experience, this approach is far superior over a tour by a sales person motivated by a sales commission."

It is my understanding that trailer manufacturers using this sales model actually pay a sales commission to the owner who "graciously allows" someone to see their trailer. This raises two questions:

1) does Oliver do this?
2) as you said in an earlier post, do you have an Oliver on order?


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Old 01-17-2016, 03:59 PM   #336
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I ran away from the dealer network due to our experience of incompetence or interest in doing the job correctly the first time and returning the unit absolutely filthy. A good third party service outfit is worth it's weight in gold in customer satisfaction.

The factory expects a dealer to do a complete pre-delivery inspection. The descrepancy items we found in both the recent trailers should have been corrected by the factory before the units went out the final door. Or the list sent along with the unit so the dealer would attend to them before a custom ever would see the new unit.

So a factory direct allows model would be beneficial by removing dead weight overhead and keep sales price low. The customer talks directly to the decision makers of the company management team and improvements and suggestions can be considered along with getting an issue addressed immediately.
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