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Old 01-17-2016, 04:26 PM   #337
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...and the dealers never have parts on hand-
Want you to leave trailer 2 weeks or more- assess, order parts-
Noooo!
Factory has access to parts- they buil trailers every day.


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Old 01-17-2016, 04:40 PM   #338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
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?


Casita pays owners who agree to be on a list to show their trailers $200 or so IF that person ends up buying a trailer and mentions who they were referred by. Not sure about Oliver.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:53 PM   #339
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Field & Stream, Brian

In my situation, I do not believe any commissions were exchanged. The new owners were very joyful with their purchase and that joy radiated outward. When it comes to finding owners with Oliver Elite II vehicles, I understand there are only two in New England. When my Elite II arrives in June 2016 I may be the only owner in New Hampshire. Since I believe in the concept of “passing forward” I would willingly offer to demo my vehicle to any prospective owners without commission. Here in New England our RV community is rather small and our paths can cross often. I would value a friendship much more than a dollar earned off a commission. I suspect that is a view shared by most AS owners.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:58 PM   #340
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"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." When we were researching, and starting to talk about a "learner" we actually took advantage of this from Casita. Met some nice people, saw how small it was, and thanked them for their time.

Many motorhomes are sold only factory-direct. Foretravel (the brand we have) sells new coaches only from the factory - no dealers anymore. They do have a lower priced line, the Realm, that is sold by Motorhome Specialists. It is basically their design, just built by Foretravel, and doesn't have the Foretravel name on it.

As others have said, a dealer has a huge amount of money tied up in new coaches purchased on speculation (hoping that someone will buy it the way the dealer spec'ed it out), as well as a huge investment in land, buildings, tools, parts, and assorted supplies. In addition, there are the people who want to be paid for their work. If someone is going to spend $1,500,000 or so for a new coach, yes, they will go to the factory to buy because the cost of the trip is very small compared to the cost of the coach. Change the price to $150,000 and the price is a larger part of the purchase price.

Back to the original question: does anyone have a good guess as to when and where this new Airstream will appear? Even though we can't afford anything new doesn't mean that we won't look.
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:28 PM   #341
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The AS dealer network needs a lot of help....for years, I've been a proponent of an AS authorized warrantee network that is not tied into dealerships. It would be intresting to see the actual numbers of what AS sales contribute to the Thor bottom line. It's a "halo" brand that Thor uses as promotion tool.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:08 PM   #342
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Full disclosure I am a dealer of course. The theory of factory direct sales might look good on the surface but factory direct sales would increase the price of an Airstream not decrease it. How you might ask?

1) Airstream would need a massive increase in staff levels to do all the new owner orientations and answer the 10's of thousands of phone calls now answered by dealers, let alone another 1-200 service bays that are not likely to be profitable.
2) Good dealers do a lot of repairs and tweaks on Airstreams that the factory does not pay for so these would have to be done by the factory. For warranty servicing customers at a distance through an unrelated party is always much more expensive that having warranty done at your franchise. Also your customer will not be the priority. We do warranty for other manufactures on occasion but never at the busy times of year, our customers by necessity have to come first.
3) Airstream's sales volume would drop dramatically resulting in much higher prices. The first problem is that the factory could not take all the trade ins, people will travel a distance and buy new over the phone. Most want to see a trade in. The factory would oversaturate the local market with used and then have trouble distributing the balance.

The main reason the volume would drop off is because of the loss of local marketing. About 1/3 of the new Airstreams we sell are bought by people that were already sold on Airstream the rest become interested in Airstream by visiting an RV show or other marketing event, visiting the lot to look at RV's in general and then are explained the advantages of an Airstream etc. Many of our customers are simply too busy to go to Ohio for service and many would not go there for a purchase they would buy something local that is simpler.

Obviously some dealers do not do justice the Airstream product but there are great dealers out there that add real value to the Airstream experience.

When your shopping ask to see the service bays, talk to an Airstream technician and see if you are comfortable with that side of the store. Our store sells 350 RV's a year and we have 12 service bays that never stop. If the store your shopping at sells 500 units a year and has 5 bays you know there is not a lot of service happening there.

I hope this helps.

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Old 01-17-2016, 11:28 PM   #343
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Exclamation Headwinds!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHAir View Post
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.
Considering that the middle class is diminishing and all the money is going to the upper 10%, it's good that Airstream is planning to offer lower priced options. But, RVs seem to have two economic headwinds: 1. the diminishing middle class, and 2. the need to charge more for fossil fuel to discourage its use (due to climate change).

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Old 01-18-2016, 03:39 AM   #344
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Andrew,

Thank you very much for your insights into the value added to the customer made by a good dealer. I agree many RV customers benefit from a great dealer for both sales and service and prefer that method. Unfortunately, it seems as though not all dealers deliver the same level of service. I suspect it is difficult for both Thor/Airstream and prospective owners to truly understand which dealers are great and which are not so great. (I like your insight into the relationship of sales to service bays.)

As Airstream prepares for the release of their new product, I would hope they envision a method for collecting metrics which surround the new product buying experience, initial quality and ongoing service. Maybe Airstream already knows which dealers enhance the brand and those dealers will be the only ones allowed to sell and service the new product? I would hope the good dealers are voices for the consumer during any discussions surrounding this new product.

Andrew, I see a great opportunity for Airstream to implement sweeping changes targeted on this new product which benefits the customer. If that is done, they might be able to expand the changes “upstream” to other travel trailers such as the Bambi models and so on. If all we see is a product release which resembles the one used with the Pendleton TT, then it will truly be an opportunity lost.
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Old 01-18-2016, 05:46 AM   #345
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I understand Andrew's point of view.
Although dealer service may work for some, I unfortunately do not fall in that category.
For me, a good dealer is 5 hours away.
I cannot get same day or even 2-3 day service. More like 2 weeks.
I cannot camp in the dealership lot for 2 weeks.
So it is 2 10-hour trips to get anything done.
So I might as well go to Jackson Center, get service in 2-3 days, and camp in the Terraport.
It's about 4 more hours driving, but 10 days less time for someone who still works.
I am geographically challenged.



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Old 01-18-2016, 07:20 AM   #346
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This thread was a lot more fun when we were speculating about specs... materials and configurations... I just want to know when the TT industry, and AS for that matter is going to join the 21st century.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:35 AM   #347
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m.hony,

I would be curious to know more about what kind of service an AS requires. With that understanding, one might be able to connect-the-dots and determine if the new product (once the details are released) will eliminate some or all of the most common issues.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:02 AM   #348
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Getting back to speculation, this: http://www.tinycamper.com
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:39 AM   #349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Getting back to speculation, this: Teardrop Travel Trailers by Camp-Inn

Wait a minute, the majority of those pictured are aluminum! After reading this forum for years, I thought that the only aluminum travel trailer in the world was an Airstream.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:56 AM   #350
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Getting back to speculation, this: Teardrop Travel Trailers by Camp-Inn
Those silver teardrops are wonderfully attractive and relate directly to historic iconic travel trailers Airstream comes from, much more so than the white plastic eggs mentioned here as somehow being related to Airstream. I think you could stick the Airstream letters on the back of one of these little aluminum (or so they appear) jewels and it would be convincing.
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