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Old 04-08-2016, 05:58 PM   #631
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THIS JUST IN………………….

http://www.rvbusiness.com/2016/04/ne...airstream-inc/
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:38 PM   #632
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I'd buy an R Pod before that Nest.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:38 PM   #633
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Chuck, thanks for getting all that info about Thor and Airstream. Strange that there is no unified purchasing at Thor since many items are used across all sorts of RV's.

I'm wondering when the Nest purchase has (or will) occurred? Did the guy in Bend have problems raising money to go into production? Are there other problems we don't know about such as health, change in personal objectives, need to raise money fast, his manufacturer not being able to manufacture, design issues that he couldn't resolve? Is Airstream paying much for an idea, plans and a few prototypes? It doesn't look like the Nest is terribly different than other trailers. It would be interesting to see what Airstream is paying for what seems like not much in assets and innovation. If the Bend guy designed the Basecamp, there is a long relationship between the parties and that personal touch probably paid a big part in this deal.

Large companies are known for purchasing competitors when the large company is devoid of ideas and needs to get something different going. Usually a stultified company screws up the purchase and makes an innovative design old and tired.

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Old 04-08-2016, 09:40 PM   #634
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There's one more link in the story to the Bend newspaper where the founder says the marketing of the Nest was aimed at "the more affluent". I regret having sold my t@b (made by Thor) and can't help but wonder if this is an upscale replacement marketed through the AS system. Perhaps the Nest is to Airstream as a Ford is to Lincoln.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:50 PM   #635
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In my opinion, there was a totally unjustified price increase from $97,000+ to $125,000+ between the 2014 Classic and the 2015 Classic. There have been around 5% price increases in the International models the last two years with little or no innovation or increase in the quality control.

In fact, reading the significant quality control issues some are reporting here (the tip of the ice berg), one would question where or what justifies the price increases.

From personal experience:

2013 25FB built July 2012 at 26 units per week - zero quality issues
2014 Classic built January 2014 at 41 units per week - too many QC issues to list quickly and significant damage in shipping unit to dealership
2015 23D built September 2014 at 51 units per week - no Airstream name on the back, plastic wall film wadded up beside bed, broken skylight shade, improperly adjusted pantry cabinet slide and inoperative pantry catch, insufficient grease in a wheel bearing destroying one bearing set and insufficient grease in other three wheel bearing sets to last until first suggested service, toilet not installed per drawings, door bumpers on wrong side of bathroom door and the list goes on....

So we see price increases and quality decreases. The speed of production is now 81 units per week. Quality control is decreasing and the factory is relying on their mediocre dealership network to find and fix issues. Not quite true, they hope the issues do not show until after the warranty expires.

That is a receipe that the shareholders would not be happy to see. The perceived lack of concern for quality control seems, in my experience, pervasive from top down to the lowest worker and even spreads to the dealerships I have experienced.

My Airstream dealership experiences taught me that a third party shop is the only answer to getting quality work done right the first time and the coach returned in as clean a condition as it was brought in, if not cleaner.

When one pays over $50K for a car or truck, we expect and receive a clean vehicle that is fully operational with systems checked. When paying Airstream and their authorized dealer twice that amount, it would seem entirely reasonable to expect the same treatment. Not my experience with dealer #2 and #3.

We make a big deal over the walk through. So there is a stove with an exhaust hood, refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, television and sound system, a waste plumbing system and water supply and sometimes a version of microwave. These exist in most houses. Most home owners would know how to operate these basic appliances.

In addition there is a battery system with charger, a tongue jack and a brake system that could be considered something outside the typical home owner experience.

The walk throughs should perhaps concentrate on where Airstream "hides" the water filters and pumps, the location of all the shut off valves, the fuses for the propane detector, etc. Perhaps show where the potential problem areas are in that particular model so the owner knows where to inspect and what to look for if there are problems.

Yet we receive trailers with main doors with major gaps, broken cabinetry, inoperative systems, poor fit and finish that leads to leaks and the list goes on.

The thought of Airstream starting a completely new cheaper model with entirely different manufacturing processes before they have an 80 year old design coming out the door perfectly every time should give any potential purchaser pause to consider what they are getting into with this purchase.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:56 PM   #636
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switz,

The RV manufacturers must believe that they have a current customer base that evidently doesn't really care about quality or price. Why else does this continue?
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:11 PM   #637
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An old saying -

"Lower your expectations zero and you will never be disappointed!"

One could say that the likes of Walmart has conditioned the Americans that cheaper price = cheaper quality and that is okay.

The RV industry lobbyists have gotten legislation passed to preclude the lemon laws being applied to anything in the RV industry. It is not unheard of for a half million dollar RV to spend the first year sitting in the repair lot until the dealer "gets around" to fixing the unit.

The lemon laws would grab the attention of the manufacturers when the units were rolling back as fast as they rolled out with back charges equaling the original billing plus penalties and interest payable to the consumer. After all, the monthly payments are still due for the RV loan and insurance while the unit sits there disabled.

Until lemon laws are approved with real consumer protection, nothing will change. The quality issues will escalate during this current upswing in demand and the consumer will be paying the price for the poor quality and repair service which is endemic across so many industries.

How can replacing a failed cheap part with an exact duplicate cheap part do anything but shove the problem out a few weeks?
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:56 AM   #638
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Chuck, thanks for getting all that info about Thor and Airstream. Strange that there is no unified purchasing at Thor since many items are used across all sorts of RV's.

I'm wondering when the Nest purchase has (or will) occurred? Did the guy in Bend have problems raising money to go into production? Are there other problems we don't know about such as health, change in personal objectives, need to raise money fast, his manufacturer not being able to manufacture, design issues that he couldn't resolve? Is Airstream paying much for an idea, plans and a few prototypes? It doesn't look like the Nest is terribly different than other trailers. It would be interesting to see what Airstream is paying for what seems like not much in assets and innovation. If the Bend guy designed the Basecamp, there is a long relationship between the parties and that personal touch probably paid a big part in this deal.

Large companies are known for purchasing competitors when the large company is devoid of ideas and needs to get something different going. Usually a stultified company screws up the purchase and makes an innovative design old and tired.

Gene
Gene -

I worked for decentralized corporations through most of my business career. The primary reason corporations don't adopt central purchasing is they determine the savings from leveraging the buying scale the total organization is more than offset by higher costs from a loss of operating effectiveness (i.e. speed with which decisions can be made and actions taken).

Let me give you a hypothetical example using Thor. Let's say Thor centralizes purchasing. The central purchasing department issues an edict stating all trailer batteries will adhere to a specification determined by the corporate office. It then engages in competitive bidding for a battery meeting that specification and chooses the lowest cost supplier. To achieve the lowest price Thor commits to buy batteries exclusively from Supplier A for 3 years and agrees to minimum annual purchases of batteries. In addition the negotiated contract provides for a significant financial penalty if Thor cancels the contract or misses its contracted volume commitment.

Six months later another supplier visits Thor's corporate purchasing director for a confidential meeting. Supplier B shows the purchasing head a new battery technology. The new battery is half the size and weight of the Thor specified battery and has four times the charging capacity. Since Thor is the largest manufacturer of RV's, Supplier B offers Thor exclusivity for the new battery technology in the RV industry for 2 years and a price only 10% above the price Thor is paying Supplier A for the larger old technology batteries.

In almost all situations of this nature I've seen the corporate purchasing head will not consider the potential strategic benefit for the corporation to be the first to introduce a new technology and to have exclusive rights to the technology. Instead the typical purchasing director will focus on the higher cost of the new product, the company's volume commitments to the current supplier, the penalty to exit the current supply contract, and the difficulty of starting up new supply relationships. Inertia at the corporate level will be to preserve status quo, even though the new technology could result in a competitive advantage for Thor's products. In all likelihood, the division heads would not be consulted before the offer from Supplier B was rejected. Even if a division head became aware of the opportunity, he would have to use considerable time and political capital to fight a powerful corporate officer. For most division heads trying to deal with all of the daily operating issues a fight with the corporate office is a waste of time and could be a career limiting move.

Under the current decentralized operating model, Supplier B meets with the division purchasing head who immediately talks to the head of product development if not the division president. If the division CEO perceives the technology as offering his company an opportunity in the marketplace, she does not have to seek corporate approval to move forward. A decision is made to adopt the new component and the company puts in place the programs to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Likewise, if a division develops a new trailer for which an existing component does not work, the division can move forward with a different component part and/or new supplier. There is no need to work through a lengthy corporate process to change specifications and work through existing contracts.

In many decentralized corporations there may be little cost savings to be realized from central purchasing. In large organizations there is typically a high degree of information sharing between the purchasing departments and other operations departments of the divisions (manufacturing, engineering, IT). Often with major suppliers (Dometic for example) the purchasing heads of the divisions will formally or informally group together to leverage their combined purchasing power for common items. In any event, suppliers know the purchasing heads share information and behave accordingly when quoting prices. It may be in this industry Thor already realizes close to "best price" through internal information sharing and collaboration.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:14 AM   #639
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Take a look at these photo's and see why so many people particularly younger people like fiberglass camping trailer's and the options they offer to them in so many different ways.

I guaranty you that the owner's of the rig in this photo are NOT part of the "Fat 55 & Up" Airstream crowd and it's a good possibility they never will be!
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:33 AM   #640
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IF you are still interested in looking at Fiberglass trailer owners and their rigs attached below is a link to over 80 pages of Fiberglass campers and their "Tugs" as they are referred to here on "Airforums"!

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...igs-26772.html
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:33 AM   #641
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Nice! However, for every picture I was wishing they had more / bigger windows. The Nest has that. Hmmm...
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:07 AM   #642
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Airstream's prices are reflective of most products made in America. And they speak volumes about the hidden reality you don't notice on a day to day basis because of cheap imported goods. Inflation in America is staggeringly high and our wages haven't improved in 3 decades. This is hidden/offset in part by free trade. But you'll notice that actual things made in America cost three to four times as much as their slave labor made counter parts.

Let's not forget they're paying American workers, decent salaries. If you'd like, they could move operations to Mexico and get some hard working Mexican citizens to build Airstreams for $1 an hour. And probably save $30-40K off the price of an Airstream.

Another factor is Aluminum metric ton commodity prices which have been on the rise over the past two years.

Nest is very interesting. I'm not 100% convinced it's about the younger market, being someone that is under the 35 crowd but above the 25 crowd. But it might be appealing.

Most of my generation, and the generations coming up behind me the "millennials" tend to be urbanities. (I really cannot relate to that wanting to live in a city crap.) And they tend towards cool, trendy things that are small and eco-friendly. But they also have to be hip and cool.

Lots of people our age and younger are restoring classic Airstreams, because they're hip and cool. It's environmentally friendly to use an already built product. And HIPSTERS.

I don't know too many buying new. We looked at new originally, but I was already reading these forums, and realized that I wouldn't be getting the value out of a new Airstream that I would out of used. I feel for the money spent on my 2007 I have a greater return on value.

But the Nest might meet the hip/trendy consumerist desires of a younger generation that wants to get outdoors.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:42 AM   #643
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First thought was - white whale vs shiny bullet. The next was surprise at how many rigs were big truck and small trailer. Expected to see lots of small TV rigs. The one thought that raved praise was the potential to put the trailer in a standard residential garage.

Keep thinking of an image we saw in Yellowstone. It had just started raining and a couple with a small trailer was outside cooking. It was a dismal image, but they did not seem to be upset.

Will be interesting to see if the small solution brings in customers to catch 2ftitis over a couple of years with their fibreglass Airstream or develops a new owner group that drives change from a different perspective.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:08 PM   #644
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Nest is very interesting. I'm not 100% convinced it's about the younger market, being someone that is under the 35 crowd but above the 25 crowd. But it might be appealing.

Most of my generation, and the generations coming up behind me the "millennials" tend to be urbanities. (I really cannot relate to that wanting to live in a city crap.) And they tend towards cool, trendy things that are small and eco-friendly. But they also have to be hip and cool.
I don't think it is exclusively about the younger market at all. We are 55+ and like the idea of the Nest. Our travelling is just that, travelling. We don't set up for a longer stay, we are always moving. Something that tows better, can be towed by a standard vehicle, that has some design quality, is interesting to us. The pricing of the Nest (current/previous offer) was aimed at those who wanted a more premium product, and didn't equate size with quality. Still to see if build quality matches design quality. But a simpler product is easier to build.

It might not be coincidental that we are urbanites. We did the suburban/commuting thing. No more. Now we live in an urban centre, with lots of amenities close by. The building we are in has lots of people with a similar outlook, of a variety of ages. We walk and bicycle more than we drive now. We are down to one vehicle. We haven't ever thought of it as city crap. It is a choice. Sure, there are some hipsters downtown. They like to drink coffee. But does that mean that I shouldn't drink coffee? Acceptance of personal choice is key. And if the Nest doesn't appeal to current large Airstream owners, well, that wouldn't surprise me at all. That group isn't the target market. Airstream already has their money. Some of us want a premium product that is smaller. We don't tend to calculate the value of products such as these by $/kg.

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