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-   -   Future of Airstream Motorhomes? (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311/future-of-airstream-motorhomes-20281.html)

guy99 01-17-2006 09:23 AM

Motorhome 'news'
 
From the yahoo group:

To put the source of this info to rest, it WAS Larry Huttle who spoke at the
WBCCI IBT rally held last week at Anthony, TX (near El Paso). He stated
that the new Classic motorhome had been put on the shelf. The replacement
for the Land Yacht is dead. The XL/Skydeck/A series will remain as special
orders for another 18 months to 2 year depending on demand. The Enterstate
and Parkway (b-van size based on Sprinter chassis) WILL remain in
production. The construction on the new motorhome plant has been halted
where it stands. Larry stated that the new Classic motorhome was complete,
considered timeless in design, and that A/S would review reviving it
periodically. Larry stated that A/S's core business of trailers was
performing well and that A/S remaining in the motorhome business was a
duplication of product available from other THOR owned companies. He did
state that A/S was considering having one of the sister THOR companies to
make an A/S branded motorhome, but that was still in discussion.

To anyone that has been to the A/S factory, you know the shortage of space
at the existing factory. With A/S TT production running on a 12 week
delivery schedule (about 3 times desired and normal) due to demand, the most
efficient and quickest way to create more space to increase production is to
pull the motorhome production out of the factory. Remember that the
existing Land Yacht was already a dead product due to GM redesigning the
chassis which was forcing A/S to design a replacement to the Land Yacht
(about 75 Workhorse chassis remain so if you want a new Land Yacht, get you
order in NOW).

As the GM of an Airstream dealership, I certainly don't see this development
as a sign of bad times, but rather the realization that motorhome sales have
tanked and with the current product line at or beyond end of life, the cost
of new product development/production being astronomical, a return to the
core competence of A/S (ie travel trailers) just makes good business sense.

According to Mr Huttle, this series of decisions was made over the Christmas
holiday. Could/would A/S reverse its decision? Well anything is possible,
but THOR management (ie Dickie) was apparently the final decision maker, so
a reversal would seem a very remote possibility.

David



ALANSD 01-17-2006 09:36 AM

sorry to hear that, makes sense though.
If you want an Airstream Classic style motorhome they're out there, just takes a bit of diggin g and energy, some ambition to find one, and the will to keep it maintained. The good news is the values are strong and seem to be holding if not increasing.

guy99 01-17-2006 09:41 AM

Yeah, bit of a bummer. I was looking forward to maybe owning a used 'new classic' in five or 10 years. Sure wish I could get a reliable modern drive train in my 84.

ALANSD 01-17-2006 09:49 AM

have you considerd the Cummins engine swap out?

cooperhawk 01-17-2006 10:04 AM

Diesel Swapout
 
I haven't heard of that. Has someone got something like that going?

ALANSD 01-17-2006 10:24 AM

here is a post or two regarding that swap. It has been done, and of course a number of owners have done mod 454 engines for more power, etc.
I have to say once I got past the heat starter issues, and alternator weakness, all has been ok for us mechanically( knocking wood here)...although I do have an exhaust manifold redo or replacement in my future.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...hlight=cummins


http://www.airforums.com/forum...ment-2896.html

jcanavera 01-17-2006 10:26 AM

An understandable decision. With the demand for trailers, it probably makes a lot of sense to put your resources where the demand is. As nice as the motorhomes are, they are not the unique product that the trailers are......hmmm just a thought but where are all those WBCCI folks going to go when their motorhome needs replacement or they want to step up from their trailers?

Jack

markdoane 01-17-2006 10:50 AM

Is this a late reaction to the many quality problems with the motorhomes a few years ago? I remember LOTS of quality complaints on this forum.

Silvertwinkie 01-17-2006 10:56 AM

From a ROI sense I can see why they made the decsion. I do think however that the factory at times has needed additional space. Seems rather odd that they would have laid out the resources they have to date and halted it when the factory in general could have used the additional space. I agree the plant had been busy, though on my visit there in late April, early May, there were some significant gaps in the line unlike late in 2003 where it was bumper to hitch down the line.

In the end, the "Classic" style motorhome would most likely have been a very select niche market. I know of only a handful of people that would have been able to swing those kinds of dollars for a unique unit that had both the modern expectaions with the traditional design. Compared to the trailer, nearly any average Joe can almost afford a trailer. :D

wingfoot321 01-17-2006 11:54 AM

It is not surprising with oil at $65 per barrel and the current economic cycle approaching 3.5 years. Anyone adding floor space right now would need a bullet proof product.

Those big motorhomes were up against some other very good competitors as well. If Thor has another factory that is under utilized, an Airstream badge and some glue is a cheap way to go. :)

thenewkid64 01-17-2006 01:24 PM

From what I have been seeing the trend in the RV industry at this time is the towable market is RED HOT and the motorized market is in the tank or flat. The speculation is that it is due to the current price level on fuels.

The folks that can buy a .75M$ motor home normally don't care that it is a $600.00 fill up, most of us would drop dead at the pump..... So the current strategy makes sense to me.

Chaplain Kent 01-17-2006 01:44 PM

I never thought it was a true replacement for the classic but a stylized concept motor home. The classic remains as the classic with no competition. I do believe we will see the value on our buggies rise. This sure gives more reason to save as many of them as possible.
As for the modern power train I am loving my 2004 Isuzu Turbo Diesel. May not be the fastest on the road but it sure is quiet and fun to drive.

Bumperstickr 01-17-2006 02:47 PM

Dinosaur Row
 
Can't wait to see what happens to the front row at the next few big WBCCI rallies. Those plastic boxes never looked like Airstreams anyway. I guess those who want the diesel Class As will be custom-ordering their rigs from now on ...:lol:

noiva 01-19-2006 08:18 PM

Future of Airstream Motorhomes?
 
According to a Yahoo Airstream discussion group two days ago, Airstream is definitely backing away from almost all MoHo production, especially a redo of the Classic. Larry Huttle spoke to the WBCCI IBT rally last week in Anthony, TX. He said the new Classic was on the shelf, the Land Yatch replacement is dead, and the XL/Skydeck/A series will remain as a special order item for about 18 more months, depending on demand. The new motorhome plant construction has been halted. A new Classic 'design' is complete, and will be reviewed from time to time. According to Huttle, THOR (ie Dickie) was the final decision maker, so a reversal would appear unlikely.

I'm reporting this as best I know. Some of you may know Huttle or THOR's Dickie, and can better testify to their knowledge on this matter. In fact, some may have been at the rally.

Tim

overlander63 01-19-2006 09:18 PM

They probably have a market for a single style motorhome, with a few minor floorplan changes, and color combinations. However, I think the reason they are discontinuing most motor homes prduction is to increase trailer production.

dwightdi 01-19-2006 10:58 PM

Motor home planning
 
We were at Ewald in Milwaukee last week. He is doing very well in sales considering he has been in business a little over a year. He keeps in touch with Airstream alot. He has a number of Parkway and Interstate and smaller 18 footer. He was showing us a Land yacht and said it would be the last. He said Airstream's marketing survey said they would have sold less than 75 of the new classic motorhomes if they had continued the project and that was not enough to justify the engineering. He said they would continue the large diesel pushers and Skydecks but no more front engine coaches. He has already ordered 9 of the Base camps and expects them before the summer. He is doing pretty good on selling new units but does not seem to be taking trade-ins or doing much business in accessories or other RV stuff.

AgZep 01-20-2006 12:21 AM

Dang. We were going to go to Anthony, but we ran into a guy that said it would be "mostly business," which didn't sound all that exciting to us. This would have been interesting to hear.

Perhaps this makes business sense from the Thor point of view: Lots of the Thor subsidiaries make motorhomes now. I guess it's only advantageous for Airstream to do so if they have a product that really stands out, and brings in a customer the others wouldn't. But if the special Airstream models won't sell, it's hard to justify building them. Pity: I'm a huge fan of the A series. Not like I'm in the market now though.

Are we to assume that trailers sales are so strong that they need a lot more capacity? If so, is the action all in the smaller models and basecamps, or accross the whole range? Are there motor home owners here that were looking to buy again in a couple years?

Ok, I'm sure I'm over my provocative question limit...

noiva 01-20-2006 07:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AgZep
Dang. We were going to go to Anthony, but we ran into a guy that said it would be "mostly business," which didn't sound all that exciting to us. This would have been interesting to hear.

Perhaps this makes business sense from the Thor point of view: Lots of the Thor subsidiaries make motorhomes now. I guess it's only advantageous for Airstream to do so if they have a product that really stands out, and brings in a customer the others wouldn't. But if the special Airstream models won't sell, it's hard to justify building them. Pity: I'm a huge fan of the A series. Not like I'm in the market now though.

Are we to assume that trailers sales are so strong that they need a lot more capacity? If so, is the action all in the smaller models and basecamps, or accross the whole range? Are there motor home owners here that were looking to buy again in a couple years?

Ok, I'm sure I'm over my provocative question limit...

Here's the complete message a friend copied and sent me from the Yahoo discussion. It addresses many of the things we have been discussing. Again, I'm just passing on info., but it certainly appears to be the real thing.

Tim

Message below:

Message: 5
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 07:38:35 -0600
From: "DT & BW" <dtbw_1999@yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: Re: Motorhome Gossip...not gossip but fact

To put the source of this info to rest, it WAS Larry Huttle who spoke at the
WBCCI IBT rally held last week at Anthony, TX (near El Paso). He stated
that the new Classic motorhome had been put on the shelf. The replacement
for the Land Yacht is dead. The XL/Skydeck/A series will remain as special
orders for another 18 months to 2 year depending on demand. The Enterstate
and Parkway (b-van size based on Sprinter chassis) WILL remain in
production. The construction on the new motorhome plant has been halted
where it stands. Larry stated that the new Classic motorhome was complete,
considered timeless in design, and that A/S would review reviving it
periodically. Larry stated that A/S's core business of trailers was
performing well and that A/S remaining in the motorhome business was a
duplication of product available from other THOR owned companies. He did
state that A/S was considering having one of the sister THOR companies to
make an A/S branded motorhome, but that was still in discussion.

To anyone that has been to the A/S factory, you know the shortage of space
at the existing factory. With A/S TT production running on a 12 week
delivery schedule (about 3 times desired and normal) due to demand, the most
efficient and quickest way to create more space to increase production is to
pull the motorhome production out of the factory. Remember that the
existing Land Yacht was already a dead product due to GM redesigning the
chassis which was forcing A/S to design a replacement to the Land Yacht
(about 75 Workhorse chassis remain so if you want a new Land Yacht, get you
order in NOW).

As the GM of an Airstream dealership, I certainly don't see this development
as a sign of bad times, but rather the realization that motorhome sales have
tanked and with the current product line at or beyond end of life, the cost
of new product development/production being astronomical, a return to the
core competence of A/S (ie travel trailers) just makes good business sense.

According to Mr Huttle, this series of decisions was made over the Christmas
holiday. Could/would A/S reverse its decision? Well anything is possible,
but THOR management (ie Dickie) was apparently the final decision maker, so
a reversal would seem a very remote possibility.

David

ALANSD 01-20-2006 10:29 AM

I want to be first on the list for the one new Classic they did make. If they have a raffle or something:)

noiva 01-20-2006 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ALANSD
I want to be first on the list for the one new Classic they did make. If they have a raffle or something:)

Careful! You could end up like those VERY few of us with 370s. Drive into your local Airstream dealer and ask for parts for those....:bb: .


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