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Old 05-28-2017, 08:20 AM   #1
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Is this Airstream's biggest year since 1970s?

Last night I did some research and deduced that 2016 and likely 2017 are Airstream's biggest years based on sales and numbers of units produced since about 1976.

I wrote a blog post about it with the sources if found. I also added to a previous thread on here.

Does this sound right? Does anyone have additional info and/or sources?

Happy Memorial Day weekend 2017!

Writing from Idaho.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:48 AM   #2
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Here's some good historical data from RVIA--for the whole industry. 1978-2015. http://www.rvia.org/?ESID=histglance
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Old 05-29-2017, 06:48 AM   #3
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I know of no public source of Airstream production numbers from that far back, but each month in the WBCCI Blue Beret magazine the Airstream rep mentions recent sales and notes that sales are the most since 1980 (when Thor bought them). I would guess they should have production numbers from the 1970s (the Beatrice years), but maybe not easily accessed. Like you, I would assume sales were on a significant downward trend in the late 70s. I believe Beatrice closed the California plant in 1979 before the sale to Thor.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:02 PM   #4
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Joe,

Thanks.

Of course somebody must have access to the numbers . . . hope to track them down. So curious to know (for example) 1973 vs. 2016, or 1963 . . .

Here's to the current boom!
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:46 AM   #5
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According to the weekly RV Newsletter that I get every Saturday, the sales of travel trailers lead the pack in RV sales, way over 5th wheels, pop-ups, classes A, B, and C. These are way up from last year which was a banner year.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by utahredrock View Post
Last night I did some research and deduced that 2016 and likely 2017 are Airstream's biggest years based on sales and numbers of units produced since about 1976.

I wrote a blog post about it with the sources if found. I also added to a previous thread on here.

Does this sound right? Does anyone have additional info and/or sources?

Happy Memorial Day weekend 2017!

Writing from Idaho.
Since the 70's it probably is the largest number for a single plant. In 1971 they were producing up to a 104-110 trailers a week in Jackson Center. Plus the production from the California plant.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:50 PM   #7
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Wow, those are big numbers! Do you, or did you work for Airstream? Any idea if Jackson Center was producing more, the same, or less vs. California in the early seventies?

If these numbers are right it sounds like we still have a ways to go to catch up with production numbers from the pre-1970s oil crisis days. Interesting.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:27 AM   #8
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I'll let Schu introduce himself, but he is a former employee.

I just remembered that I talked with another former employee a while back that told me that shortly after the new larger factory in Jackson Center opened (it started production in July 1970), the Jackson Center plant was producing about 110/wk and California about 65/wk (I have been told that plant was smaller). Together that's about 175/wk or 9000/yr for a 50 week working year. We cannot be sure how long this production level was maintained, as the beginning of the oil crisis was only a couple of years away, but I will guess that this was the peak production level that Airstream ever achieved.

Of course Airstreams were much simpler back then and they made a lot fewer different models. Both of these could aid a faster line speed. I might guess that Airstream had a larger percentage of the market share back then, too.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:40 AM   #9
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The issue of production numbers would seem to be less important than that of quality control, which appears to have fallen IMO. It would be nice to have something to cheer about in this regard.

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Old 05-31-2017, 10:29 AM   #10
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The issue of production numbers would seem to be less important than that of quality control, which appears to have fallen IMO. It would be nice to have something to cheer about in this regard.

I was thinking the same thing as I was reading the posts. Cutting quality control steps makes for faster production. Unfortunately, as in many businesses, it's all about the money.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:26 PM   #11
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Hi

I'm not sure that market share was up by anything like the production numbers back in the early 70's. The trailer industry as a whole was bigger back then (at least in terms of number of units). If you want to look better today than "back then" look at dollars ...

Bob
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Old 06-01-2017, 02:14 PM   #12
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Thanks Joe! Great information.

So even with quality problems, as reported by many on this forum, we are living in the greatest boom time for Airstream since circa 1975!!

I think that's pretty cool. And even with the quality issues, I'd love one of the 2017 Airstreams that I saw in Idaho last weekend!

I remain curious about production numbers from the fifties and sixties--especially since I am the proud new owner of a '62 Safari!
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