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Old 04-10-2016, 10:29 AM   #659
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ALUMINUMINUM - I think you have brought up many valid points.

I very much agree with you of the use of the Airstream name on this product is not appropriate.

Many manufacturers have done this, Snap-On, Armani, Carhart, and many auto manufacturers. Now I just have a hard time trusting them.

Whats next? "Coleman by Airstream" or "Yeti-Stream, the ultimate boondocker cooler".
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:04 AM   #660
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So many entertaining comments! I guess, if you aren't into smaller trailers, you never will be. We have owned our boler since we were in our late 20s, and we still own it. We bought our Airstream in our late 30s, but we still use it like we use our boler. It's just bigger.

The comment about the the sad situation of the couple cooking outside in the rain also applies to the couple with the shiny Airstream cooking outside in the rain -- that's us! Our tiny boler has a 2-burner stove and our Airstream has a 3-burner stove. We use those stoves for boiling water for coffee in the morning. We never cook in either trailer. Why not? Cooking odors for one. Even a 30 ft Airstream's bedroom closet is WAY too close to the kitchen. Second, we are stuck inside for the entire winter -- and winters in Canada are LONG and COLD. I look forward to being outside, and cooking in the rain is part of the experience. It's not bad or sad.

The back door on the Nest is not a negative, nor is the large window over the hitch. The beauty of these small trailers is that once you unhitch them, you can easily push them around the campsite until you find the optimal view! Last August, we were getting ready for bed, and we heard 2 vehicles pull in. Then we heard the sound we are familiar with (the sound of a boler being pushed around a campsite), and we looked at each other and said, "sounds like boler!" We rushed to the window and 2 couples (one young, one retired) were pushing 2 trailers around on 1 site until they both had optimal views of the lake. Now that's camping!

Windows -- I bet the window to wall ratio is similar on a fibreglass trailer as an Airstream. Our boler is very bright and airy -- but not sterile as some have suggested. One feature of the CCD, which we bought, was the white upper cabinets. It was reminiscent of the boler cabinets. I don't like the the woodsy look. But Airstream offers a full line for all different tastes. The CCD was the first model we were interested in. We wouldn't have an Airstream if they all had the woodsy look. Thanks Christopher Deam!

Porta-potty vs toilet vs campground facilities -- my parents also have a 13 ft fibreglass trailer (Trillium). They only use campground facilities and have never wanted a toilet onboard. I think my dad says it best: "What I'm leaving behind is not something I want to take with me." ha ha ha! In fact, we've never used our Airstream toilet to its full potential.

Attached is a picture of me and my dogs in the pouring rain with mosquitoes the size of small birds. Still smiling!

Lisa
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:15 AM   #661
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Such refreshing statements on both sides of this 'new' hybrid product. Actually enjoy following this Thread.

The next small living compartment I plan to be involved will be an urn sitting on the mantle over the fireplace at home. My 25 foot Airstream is big enough for now. My plans to downsize, I hope, will be after this trailer has taken a bigger beating upon my travels and I call it quits, not the trailer.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:22 AM   #662
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Questions, and a case study

#1 Why wouldn't someone just buy a Casita, or Scamp for half the price?

#2 Is an Airstream name plate worth double the cost ?

#3 Why doesn't Airstream just make a Casita like product that looks like an Airstream ?

All have to do with…..money ( price, cost, profit ) no surprise

CASE STUDY

GIBSON ( An iconic American musical instrument company that makes guitars, banjos, and mandolins)

Gibson makes GREAT mandolins that sell from $5000 to $12000.
Gibson acquired a competitor called Flatiron. Gibson then made hand carved solid wood Flatirons in the Gibson factory, and sold them for $2000 to $4000. The Gibson Flatirons sounded just about as good as the Gibson mandolins, and they sold a ton of them.
One can only guess why Gibson, moved Flatiron production to Korea, and started making inferior plywood Flatirons, that sounded terrible, that sold for $400.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:33 AM   #663
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Which sounds like Airstream is looking to diversify. How can that be a bad thing?

Sounds good to me but the stuck in the mud fan boy traditionalist fear change of any kind.
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Old 04-10-2016, 01:49 PM   #664
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Gene,

To your points on Airstream quality, I agree with you 100% the issue is lack of competition. Airstream badly needs an innovative and capable competitor for its travel trailers. Today it owns the "premium" travel trailer segment and as long as people will buy everything the factory produces it has no incentive to innovate, improve the durability of the component parts, or address the quality issues it sees everyday when its customers return their products to the service center for warranty work.

The reality of capitalism, in markets with many competitors, is the consumer benefits from diversity of product, sharp pricing and more customer service. In markets where there is one dominant business, over time the monopoly will use its market power to stifle innovation, cut quality to enhance margins, take inordinate price increases, and offer a poor customer experience. As you mentioned the US auto companies, from the 1970's to 1990's, were the classic case. Consider we are seeing the same thing now with Wal-Mart which once offered clean stores, low prices, broad product assortments of quality branded merchandise, and cheerful service. Today Wal-Mart is resembling more and more the Kmart it vanquished - no service, indifferent and unhappy employees, national brands replaced with cheap private label knockoffs, dirty stores, and poor inventory management. Unfortunately Target, Wal-mart's chief competitor is exhibiting many of the same issues and what remains of Kmart seems to be waiting for the liquidation sale. When businesses get too big they invariably forget the operating principles they used in their early days to attract consumers from what was the previous preferred brand.

Free market theory would tell us Airstream should have a hungry, innovative competitor seeking to snare some of its expanding business and apparently inordinate profit margins. Any design patents for the basic aluminum aircraft style design are long expired so there is no protected technology barrier to competition. A new brand could be created or a heritage brand name from the past (Avion, Silver Streak, Streamline) could be revived. The absence of competition suggests prospective investors perceive the market niche Airstream trailers inhabit to be too small to generate sufficient returns on the investment required to compete in that niche. Airstream's foray into Class B motorhomes and its acquisition of Nest are indications the market segment for premium priced silver aluminum trailers is too small today to support a brand. The demise of Avion, and all other silver trailer brands, is another indicator it is unlikely a direct competitor will emerge or some beneficent billionaire will appear to provide the $100 million in funding you need.

Airstream recently sent me an email offering me $3000 off the price of its Class B Interstate motorhome. While the offer is not compelling to me, it may be an early sign what has been a high growth segment for Airstream is reaching saturation. How many $160,000 Interstates can Airstream sell when Roadtrek, Winnebago and other competitors are offering similar vehicles for $20,000 to $30,000 less? In fact, while Airstream has the aircraft style aluminum trailer market to itself, it faces an increasing number of aggressive and capable competitors in the Class B business.

It is noteworthy in the Class B segment Airstream brings no differentiating unique design or engineering to the party. In fact its competitors use the identical Mercedes powertrain and shell. If Airstream's current business model is vulnerable, I would expect the first signs of trouble to appear in its undifferentiated Class B business.

The last time I was in Jackson Center someone from Airstream mentioned Interstates were contributing 40% of the company's revenue. That is a significant share for a product that sells at an inordinate price premium and is not highly differentiated from competition. If I were Mr. Wheeler I would worry more about customers rejecting the price premium Airstream charges for Interstates than I would about an Asian, European, or even American competitor developing a product to compete for my travel trailer business. It is interesting Thor's most recent SEC filings suggest the corporate parent of Airstream is more attuned to opportunities in the growth of Class A gasoline powered motorhomes, and Class C motorhomes than it is to future growth in the Class B motorized vehicle segment. Could Mr. Wheeler be anticipating a slowdown in the Class B motorhome segment and be looking at the fiberglass trailer segment as a way to offset this coming sales slowdown?

Ultimately market forces do come into play even for monopolies. When new competitors do not emerge, high prices for products can result in consumer tastes or consumption patterns changing (think L'eggs pantyhose, fine china and silverware, or suburban mcmansions). If Airstream keeps raising the prices of its trailers at twice the rate of inflation, eventually even the most well heeled customers will question investing in a high priced depreciating asset. We have already reached the point where someone can buy an old Airstream and pay to have it renovated into a customized, ultramodern, high quality vehicle for less than the cost of a new trailer. Several of the renovations I've seen from highly capable small companies are superior to what Airstream ships from the factory in terms of design aesthetic, quality and technology. From time to time, and with increasing frequency, there are comments from owners of SOB's on other RV forums who state they can buy three equivalent SOB's for the price of an Airstream. We may be reaching the tipping point where a 55 year old, who envisions a 20 year ownership horizon and is considering a new $90,000 Airsteam, decides she/he will buy an equivalently outfitted and sized SOB. The buyer can scrap the SOB in ten years, buy another, and still come out ahead financially.

In any event, Mr. Wheeler's job over the next five years will likely be much tougher than it has been the last five years. Airstreams have been cool and trendy in popular culture and press. All trends eventually fade. When the young Hollywood set moves away from Airstreams to another "cool" product, and hip businesses no longer remodel Airstreams for food service or boutiques, Airstream will no longer benefit from a huge amount of free press and PR. Owners in their 60's and 70's, who bought Airstreams over the last 10 years will, start moving on to another life stage and the 2000's era trailers flooding onto the used market will compete with the shiny new models on the lot. Without major design innovation and product improvements it will be tough for the fewer new customers to justify a $50,000 premium for new versus a well maintained 10 year old trailer. It will be ironic if over the next few years the Airstream company finds its major competitor for new trailer sales is the return to the market of the trailers it produced during the boom times of the 7 years.

If Airstream is smart they are out recruiting a few prominent young Hollywood actors and actresses to be seen camping in the first Nest trailers out of the factory.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:24 PM   #665
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Flordia55 said, "Airstream recently sent me an email offering me $3000 off the price of its Class B Interstate motorhome. While the offer is not compelling to me, it may be an early sign what has been a high growth segment for Airstream is reaching saturation. How many $160,000 Interstates can Airstream sell when Roadtrek, Winnebago and other competitors are offering similar vehicles for $20,000 to $30,000 less? In fact, while Airstream has the aircraft style aluminum trailer market to itself, it faces an increasing number of aggressive and capable competitors in the Class B business.

It is noteworthy in the Class B segment Airstream brings no differentiating unique design or engineering to the party. In fact its competitors use the identical Mercedes powertrain and shell. If Airstream's current business model is vulnerable, I would expect the first signs of trouble to appear in its undifferentiated Class B business."

When we decided to buy a Sprinter based MH, we looked at several makes, including the AS. We were able to compare an AS alongside an LTV Unity. There was no comparison! Our 2013 Unity TB is made in Canada by Mennonite craftsman. LTV has opted to maintain it's current production levels and a 9 month wait for a Unity is not unusual. If I was of a mind to sell, I could probably get 95% of the original purchase price. Like the AS trailer, the International is overpriced and there are quality issues that are inexcusable. My Unity was almost $30,000 less than the International. It is the only RV that I've owned over the past 45 years that was delivered with ZERO defects. My 2006 Safari 25 FB is parked on a permanent pad next to the Animas River and serves as a $67,000 potty and wet bar for friends and neighbors.
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Old 04-10-2016, 03:38 PM   #666
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Read most of this thread. I think the only reason why there is not more fiberglass campers out there is because they do not have dealers all over the USA. Maybe that will change with the Nest. The Nest does not warrant a 30-40 k price tab. My thoughts. Carl
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:25 AM   #667
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Less Expensive Airstream

So, do I understand all of the posting I have been following for months about a new less expensive Airstream? Does this mean that a product called a "Nest" is what all of the "excitement" has been all about for all of the hype?
I looked at the pictures of the Nest, it is just another fiberglass two piece glued together small camper.
Is that what this is really all about?
I would think that the folks at Airstream would have come up with something better than that if it's going to be called an Airstream.
I have actually been delaying purchasing a camper because I actually thought there might be something worth waiting for in a small easy to tow travel trailer that might actually be priced where I might be able to afford it.
I am 67 years old, I want something so easy to tow that even a mini van could tow it (although I have both a truck and will have a mini van when I retire). I have had so many campers in my life I can't remember them all, actually years ago I used to buy distressed campers and fix them up to sell so I could afford to take better vacations. I have had everything from a 10 foot Aliner to a 34 foot double slide fifth wheel and even two Airstreams (they were my favorite). One I bought new, the other used.
I am now where I've discovered that, for me, less is more or better when it comes time to travel. I just want a nice comfortable dry place to sleep and have enough facilities to be comfortable. I was hoping to own another Airstream as my retirement camper but I guess maybe not.
I do enjoy looking at the multitude of posts I see on the forums site and I realize I could buy an older Airstream and fix it up, but I'm over that now.
Besides, I hardly ever see a used 16-19 footer for sale. When I do see one, they want almost as much as a new one.
Thank you, Vaughn Hobbs
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:15 AM   #668
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If it weren't for the premium price, I'd suggest you look at a Bowlus. Otherwise, maybe a teardrop would do the trick?
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:30 AM   #669
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALUMINUMINUM View Post
NEST in a POKE


I read all forty pages of the Fiberglass Camper website thread showing Nest's history and how it's built. I see it it has 279 likes on its Facebook. The Nest website isn't working today, or it's being taken down. There's still plenty of images and explanations to be found throughout the WWW tho.


I don't understand its purpose relevant to the Airstream name, other than an opportunity for Airstream to exploit its perceived reputation to the unwary. Airstream's name doesn't belong on this thing.


I cringe using the truly exemplary product, Rolex, in this thought, but,


Rolex never put their name on a plastic digital watch to appeal to less affluent wrists.


If Thor wants the Nest, it should assign it to a more appropriate division or create a stand alone Nest division. Yes, a less expensive/entry-level/lightweight plastic trailer is nice. If it is built well, let it become its own Icon, like Scamp.


The “Nest” has a long, long way to go. I'd scrap that 3-piece back door vacuum glued clam design. There's too much proprietary design/manufacture. How do you goose-proof its airplane windshield? What about a design that can be repaired? How's the plastic floor/frame going to be fixed when a wheel drops into a too deep pot-hole or rock and the torsion axle rips away?? Or Your GYM Explodes? Take it to Jackson Center and have 'em screw on some angle-iron and mud it up with Bondo? Will patches and panel repair be vacuum formed? Can I buy a quarter panel and appropriate adhesives? Is it supposed to be a disposable or recyclable thing? Will it go in for a “clam-shell replacement”?


Not all, but most campsites are laid out to accommodate trailers with curbside doors and curbside awnings. The evolutionary history of trailers depicts this. Would you like to crawl through an “innovative” rear entry Chevy Suburban? The Nest's floor-plan doesn't allow for the co-mingling of in and out of doors that most campers enjoy with the door open. With the rear door entry, it just makes a hallway to hang out in. There's no Living area (which a side door can help define). A side door opens the trailer to the under-awning and camp activity. Not saying you can't drag the picnic table over behind the Nest, and erect a free standing tent-awning/shelter over it..


Sitting on folding chairs shoulder to shoulder facing the wall with your back to the room is bad wang sway. Lose the Queen bed, for a double/full, and make a face to face dinette for two with a big window alongside. The Nest's narrow hallway obstructs the by-passage of two persons. As currently designed, if someone is seated at the table, the chair blocks a passer-by. Wonderful big windows only in the bedroom. How does that make sense?



A $35,000 trailer with a $130 porta-potty?? Really?? Inside, the Nest looks like a chest freezer with windows. Don't really need a panoramic view of the back of my TV. NOT cuddly and warm as its name implies. A '63 Bambi is warm and cuddly, and also at 17', weighs the same as the space-age composite Nest..


Nest?? = A bunch of woven sticks in a tree? I like Airstream names... Flying Cloud, Safari, Trade Wind, Overlander… Names with adventure and movement! Torpedo!


If AS would bring back the “Torpedo” within the Basecamp format they'd have a hit. The Torpedo is byam's true Airstream, much more an Airstream than when byam riveted his Airstream badge onto Hawley Bowlus' Road Chief trailer, then called it his own, to “not change, only make improvements”. A “New Torpedo” could be designed to fill the $35,000 market targeted by the Nest. We'll call it the “100 Year Anniversary Model”, 'cause we can sell lies.


The nest is simply one man's incomplete, mediocre design dream. There isn't any part of it that hasn't been already done in Europe, except for the unnecessary expensive fiberglass shell mold technique, the propitiatory airplane plastic front window, and the untested plastic frame. Lightweight space-age composites are not necessary to camping. We'll see if it “develops”.


We all know that after 45mph, Drag is what matters more than weight. Nest may look aerodynamic, but it hasn't been wind-tunneled. A 1963 jaguar XKE roadster with the top down has exactly the same drag coefficient as a 1968 VW bus(0.42), which was wind tunnel designed. You know these texting millennials can't drive 55 in their SUVs. With the Nest's 250 pound tongue cantilevered by the optional aft roof mounted AC, and the optional “swing-away rear receiver bike rack”, we know what'll happen…



The Nest should be re-engineered to cost $19,000 as a base, and not named an Airstream. This trailer needs many more years of thought. It's over-priced. Just because it costs a lot to make, doesn't add any value. I guess Thor thinks they can smooth an Airstream sticker on it an it'll sell to you know who and his money.

For me, after all the hype and speculation, it's disappointing, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
We had a 17' Casita between AS #1 & AS #2. Was a great "fully" self contained unit with dinning, cooking, shower, queen bed, etc., and although we purchased "used" we bought/ sold for $14K 2 years later....This Nest is way over priced compared to what your getting. You can get a new Casita for < $20K! But, what is everyone getting worked up about??
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:13 PM   #670
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As I have said many times before, Airstream can NOT seem to ship a new Airstream trailer with zero defects even though they are working with a 80 year old design. In fact, there has been little floor plan innovation over the years. The 26U FC is the first new floor plan in a long time.

Their Interstates seem to have the same poor quality legacy. At least many folks are having the opportunity of competition and will vote with their wallets for the best built units and may leave Airstream with unsold inventory in the future.

Their dealer network does not repair these deficiencies during a PDI (if they even look at the vehicle while checking the boxes on the form) because they get more money if the work is done after the sale. Thus the known issues are not fixed and will bite the customer down the road after the warranty expires.

A good example of poor planning - the street side and rear awnings package are attached after the water pressure test. Guess what? Holes are drilled and often gaskets are improperly or not installed and there are leaks in the awning fittings. If one has not seen the build process, they would not know that the awning package price includes a high probability of leaks.

And what about the power awnings that auto deployed while folks were driving down the road causing major damage to a brand new trailer?

And now this Thor division is going to try and build a new design with materials which they have never used before.

I would have been very pleased if the 2015 23D International Serenity formica cabinetry had actually been finished properly with beveled joint edges versus the raw rough glue joints that have actually cut my skin more than once.

Oh well. Saying that Airstream is the best of the lot sets the quality hurdle pretty darn low....
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:36 PM   #671
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As I have said many times before, Airstream can NOT seem to ship a new Airstream trailer with zero defects even though they are working with a 80 year old design.
I don't count the jack motor failure on my unit as a defect, since that's not really Airstream's fault. Other than that, I did have to tighten some hinge screws on the left hand door under the sink after we did 4-5 short shakedown trips - but that's it. Things line up, and the formica cabinetry is properly finished. The % full indicator for the grey tank seemed somewhat off, but its either improved with usage, or we've just adapted. We have the awning package, and we've been through torrential rains with no leaks. I have to think we aren't the only ones that got a unit that seems to be well built.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:16 PM   #672
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I have to think we aren't the only ones that got a unit that seems to be well built.
Some units are, some aren't. That's what happens with poor quality control / quality assurance. The quality can vary wildly from one trailer to the next, but nobody really knows why.

Stories say Detroit used to have an issue where you didn't want a car built on a Friday or a Monday. Maybe Airstream suffers from something like that?

Anyway, here's our laundry list of warranty repair issues as of 9/20/2014 from another thread on that topic: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ml#post1513458

Since then we had a number of additional things fixed under warranty, most notably replacing our completely worthless Micropulse sensors (e.g. they *never* worked) with See Level II and replacing the forward storage door behind the propane tanks with one that had two latches.

Despite this, it's exciting to see Airstream taking this on and we look forward to seeing what happens.

We're also quietly amused whenever we see folks on the forum suggest they should be the arbiters of what is "appropriate" for Airstream to slap it's logo on. For starters, what about all that stuff they sell out of the Airstream store at https://store.airstream.com/? I've yet to see an aluminum hat there, though I'd love to buy one if they did. Classier than the tinfoil I've been wearing up to now.
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