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Old 12-27-2015, 06:32 AM   #15
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We had a Westphalia when we graduated from tent camping with our two young daughters back in the mid-seventies and I loved it!

It was our daily driver too.

Seemed plenty big enough for the four of us in those days, but now, many years later I cannot talk my wife into downsizing from our Classic 30 to a B van for just the two of us!

I guess you cannot go back in life! I think I'd be very happy with a B class!


Brian & Connie Mitchell

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Old 12-27-2015, 07:04 AM   #16
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I agree with Ray, but add this. Airstream and all successful companies look at next year, five years and sometimes up to 20 years out. In that they are attempting to gauge their market and what their customer base will look like 5-10 years and beyond, not just next year.

What Airstream is seeing, my guess, is what Harley Davidson saw 20 years ago at a dealer meeting I attended. They saw a major shift in their customer demographics and buying habits. They needed to expand their customer base and their solution was to bring in women in large enough numbers to offset what they saw as a diminishing senior big bike buyers. It worked in part but not enough and as such they are not doing well at this time.

Airstream sees a relatively well off baby boom generation buying their $100k trailers in record numbers, but know this is going to end or at least diminish. Social Security at some point will change and not for the better, their are almost no more pension plans, only 401ks and other such programs. There is less of an interest in the following generations to camp and get out and about. They are electronic folks, on the computers, games, phones et al and their habits will change but not significantly. Airstream sees all this and it appears their solution is a less expensive product.

I would suggest they instead cut forecasts, improve their product and just as important improve their sourcing department to source significantly better accessories, ie furnaces, stoves, A/C units etc. Raise the price to offset these improvements, extend the warranty exposure to five years and offer a factory extended warranty of up to 10 years and thereby size the company for what is coming in their direction instead of trying to bring in customers by offering less of a product who probably don't want to come in anyway. What might happen is those who were going to buy an AS buy the less expensive one and thereby reduce the overall revenue of the company when that is exactly what they were trying to avoid.

I am glad I am retired as I faced this similar situation about 10 years ago and it is a very difficult world to be in. It impacts the associates, their families, customers and stockholders all of whom deserve the best decisions possible.

Be Well



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Old 12-27-2015, 07:16 AM   #17
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Lots of speculation in this thread. I have many millennial friends who love camping and would like a "cute" camper - but it needs to be towed by their Honda CR-V rather than by something bigger.

We started with a T@B, another trailer with a younger demographic. Well-built, it was a fantastic way to start, something that made a statement yet was easy to tow and maintain. It was affordable too; we could have bought new, but bought used for under $10k, losing little on resale. (The people who bought it from us made a profit.)

With that size trailer, without the intent to boondock for 5 days, it's ok to have a single battery, smaller tanks, or the other sacrifices that Airstream made with the current Sport. We took our T@B cross-country, lugging along an extra battery and a portapotty for five weeks, never to use either.

Yes, if VW brought over their (ironically named) California campervan, we'd probably be first in line. But we could swing the $60k that would likely cost - my friends can't.

So, I think Airstream could make a less-expensive trailer work, assuming that it looks good and is reasonably practical. (The first Bambi 16' floor plan was not.) You might not need it, but the success of Safari Condo (building another assembly line to address backlogs) shows there is a market out there.
Now: 2007 Safari SE 23' "Anne" towed by 2011 Dodge Durango "Herman"
Before: Argosy Minuet and T@B, towed by various Honda Odysseys
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:20 AM   #18
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My grandfather drove race cars back in the 1910s.

When the 1963 Corvair had a turbocharged flat six engine (from AirResearch, one of our turbocharger competitors), he test drove one they had purchased to study.

The aerodynamic shape functioned like a wing and the front end would get light. He had a simple and easy fix, he put 200 pounds of factory shot as far forward in the trunk as possible. From personal experience on the newly constructed I-465 beltway in Indianapolis, it held the road well when I had a friendly drive with a chap in another Chevy product and he was surprised the Corsair could hit 112 mph.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:21 AM   #19
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Wow, another great thread to read! I also enjoyed the sister thread entitled, “New less expensive Airstream” here in the Airstream Lifestyle section. I sense that most members on this forum truly enjoy camping while exploring the open road and spending time in their Airstreams. It is an activity which makes their hearts smile. For those with travel trailers that require more maintenance and repairs, I hear the owners say they love to tinker with their trailers. After all, busy hands are happy hands. The annual trips to Jackson Center for repairs are joyfully explained as a road trip and an opportunity to participate in yet another tour of the factory. When you add in the WBCCI membership and the many friends you make, I can understand the brand loyalty.

In many ways I am very much an outsider attempting to understand this phenomenon. I do not currently own an Airstream. Not sure yet what I need to make my heart smile.

I suspect many existing Airstream owners will have an opinion regarding the new product and that is OK. Many seem to already have an opinion regarding the Pendleton trailer. I do predict this fine community of Airstream owners will graciously welcome the new owners no matter what Airstream travel trailer they choose
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:59 AM   #20
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Arctic Fox....higher, heavier, with slides.....certainly an alternative....but, as one who understands slides, as the bumps on the highway take their toll, after five years and 50,000 plus miles....what really happens to a unit constructed like an Arctic Fox...

I looked at a lot of different travel trailers before deciding on another AS.

As to "cheap", well Honda Aircraft is a couple miles from me....and if they built an guess is about twice the price, albeit, very luxurious, but for a quarter million bucks, i like mine the way it is.

For those who are smarter financially, purchasing a two or three year old AS may make a lot more sense. These are the "cheaper" models. My opinion a lot of others....not worth much...LOL
Happy trails and Good Luck
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:43 AM   #21
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Does it really have to be an Airstream?
There are some very good brands out there that have more modest prices.
Yes, they lack the snob appeal of an AS.
But what is life if not a series of compromises?
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:55 AM   #22
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Attic Fox/Nash, Lance and Jayco are good from my research before buying Airstream.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:17 AM   #23
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san francisco , California
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Fortunately for me I am handy and am restoring my old 59' 18 footer.
It has gotten all the best so far and will continue to get ALL modern upgrades and best materials.
I am more into boondocking so I am more of a minimalist in my needs.
Got 3" more ground clearance (Dexter Torflex) and less crap hanging down now.
Also doing away with blackwater and toilet. They got them nice lined 5 gallon composting buckets ....good to go...LOL!
I hope to be back on the road by spring but will be years before completely done if ever.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:36 AM   #24
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We Get What We Pay For

We are new Airstreamers, and have read with interest the QC concerns and complaints on the blog. We shopped all the RV brands carefully and just did not find in any other brand the long experience, careful design to survive long road use, and clear understanding of how to build for more durability and ease of use. Poor QC has not been our experience, thankfully.

We recognized and accepted we were going to pay more, much more, for those features and attributes. Our first year of ownership and use had a few new-trailer issues, not unexpected. But it was also clear the extensive pre-delivery checklist was carefully used by the dealer. We have not found serious QC issues - quite the opposite. On the few new-trailer fixes, our dealer welcomed same or next-day service and moved quickly to address issues. Traveling with the Airstream has been a total pleasure, and we are waiting out the Northeast winter eagerly planning to get back on the road.

I've watched several good friends buy (much) cheaper RV's, and see them now planning to replace too-small tow vehicles, and/or to trade to different RV's since their cheaper choice didn't get them what they really wanted. In one case, the tow vehicle was purchased first and the purchased RV was too big and heavy to tow successfully. I don't need to, and won't plan to, change out or replace our 27' IS. I bought it once, its exactly what I wanted, and I'll keep it. 66 coupe
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:40 AM   #25
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Two lane that's a nice forklift thingy. Could use of those around here.

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Old 12-27-2015, 12:17 PM   #26
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Airstream today... ten years behind Casita Trailers

paiceman in post #16 thinks like I "use to" when investing in real estate or purchasing stock. Looking 5, 10, 20 years into the future.

As a skeptic and never back down conservative 65 year old who now looks into the future... as 5 years. Maybe 10 years, but anything beyond is a pure test of endurance of my DNA.

Airstream is among Sears Roebuck, Kmart and J. C. Penny. Thor took a 1930's idea that had its ups and downs, finally grabbing some market share and thrived with the "eye appeal" of an aluminum wingless airplane, towed by an equally stealth vehicle. Airstream should have been looking 5 to 10 years ahead, 5 or 10 years AGO. They sat on their drawing boards and could not imagine anything as an improvement. Neither could Sears, Kmart, JC Penny. Never let an accountant run a manufacturing business.

THE Airstream, parked next to a $150,000 RV, is the attention getter, not the RV. The large RV and Bus is among a directly opposed to one another need of an Airstream. They both share only mobility.

Profits make one short sighted. Times change and so do those potential customers that have grown up in a new technical world with a "dinosaur"... travel trailers.

I had been in numerous businesses... all self inflicted. Some did so poorly, they were fleeting and short educational experiences. Others so profitable due to breaking in as a original idea that came into its prime years after I had begun. That was the "Home Gameroom" business in the 1970's and 1980's. Today... it is a dud.

Airstream has boxed itself into a corner. They are expensive and now cater to those who rode the boom years, saved wisely and now have disposable income beyond just the day to day needs. But this is going to end, and soon!

Fifteen years ago I found myself in the Geological Sciences Book Business. I managed to find so much from Bust and Boom corporate libraries being disposed it was a windfall. Then came the internet, digital files, print on demand and portable tablet devices... physical books are an albatross around one's neck. Other than for my own personal uses... my personal library of 20,000 or so print books... are "Airstreams future". I hope not as it would be a great loss to future generations, but I see no great future for Travel Trailers. Trailers and Airstreams are a depreciating asset. Airstream not as fast, but still represents a generation that is losing the battle over time. Reference books today... a dud.

If our tow vehicles had the same quality control as trailers... we would be back into the 1960's and 1970's with 12 month warranties. On the 13th month rust and parts began to fall off. With aluminum and the shape that appeals to the human eye, Airstreams do have an edge as used assets, but the buyers will be fewer and less likely to want to carry on a tradition that no longer will exist.

This also includes Harley Davidson, when the factory fired up in Kansas City, Kansas. I lived in the Missouri suburbs at the time. Harley and Airstream have that name recognition... and Harley's quality control was the original thought in the revival. Harley's sound and the Airstream's eye appeal strike the primal instincts.. of mostly males... but some females who take these things seriously. Like Paula in Colorado. But... check the newspapers for Harley Davidson motorcycles... for sale by owner. Hundreds and maybe ZERO Airstreams. Watch out if you hold stock in HD. Third world nations have a market for a smaller version, but that is not Harley Davidson strength. Nor Airstreams. Enjoy your Airstream and Harley for personal reasons, but do not expect the new adults retiring in the next ten years to share your interests. Everything eventually is fleeting and just good memories of how things use to be, and not how they will be seen in the future.
Human Bean
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:08 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Sit back, take a deep breath and think how this "Less Expensive Airstream" will have less of...
(Thirty years ago I DID buy a less expensive Airstream -- a 1966 Bambi for $500; it needed some work, but so did I.)

I've been in the vintage trailer world since 1972 when I bought my first canned ham, a 1960 Highway Cruiser for a few hundred bucks. "That trailer was in absolutely immaculate condition," I would say. And my wife would add "Yeah. It was only twelve years old."

That was when we thought what we were interested in were merely old, affordable good-quality trailers. We didn't know that they were fine examples of mid-Century design. We owned at least a dozen vintage trailers. In the Seventies and Eighties, our trailer would inevitably be the oldest in the campground. Meanwhile, it turns out we weren't the only ones interested in vintage trailers. With the emergence of the near-ubiquitous trailer restoration and refurbishment shoppe, the "hobby" has really taken off.

Witness the explosion of vintage trailer rallies. And the high demand for old trailers in good, restorable condition. The cost of a fully restored, remanufactured (with all new mechanical systems) riveted aluminum airframe trailer, resplendent with beautiful wood cabinets has skyrocketed, but it's still a bargain, especially when compared to buying a new Airstream Bambi.

To the vintage aluminum aficionado, buying a brand new trailer is old hat.

"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands... A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope,—the three sister Graces of our moral being.’
Sir Richard Francis Burton
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:20 PM   #28
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Yep... I need a Cheaper Airstream

Possible counter example. My youngest son bought our family airstream out of a love of camping and a deep appreciation of the style, durability, and comfort it gives. He's a 1980's kid. I'm a baby boomer.

We share the AS, both do the maintenance and use it. It's got a desk space in the rear for computer and studying use. It fits both our lifestyles, and except for a blown GYM tire causing repairable damage, it's in good shape overall. It will be in our family for a long time.

We're slowly upgrading some of the silly stuff Thor put in it, but really it's no biggie to use it as is.

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