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Old 02-19-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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Dealing with a Dealer


Just became a new member today.

Will be going to a dealership this week-end to discuss purchase of a new Airstream. Looking at 25FB International.

My question is:

What is the average 'discounted' price I can expect from the dealer? I assume it's much like buying a car. You never pay the sticker price. Is haggling for a lower price expected?

Any other sound advice from your past experience in buying a new Airstream?

Thanks and look forward to many years in this new community!
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:27 PM   #2
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I think they can easily come down 10%, but then as with a car, it sort of depends on whether you have a trade-in that they could resell, whether it's last year's model that they want to move off the lot, and so on. Or sometimes you could pay closer to the asking price, but negotiate an add-on. If you can check around with different dealerships' sticker prices and for sale by owner trailers, you can get a better sense of a good price. The last time I checked the main AS website, they gave some suggested retail prices, so of course a dealer can give you less than that.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:28 AM   #3
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Unlike auto dealers, RV dealers expect prospective customers to make several visits making up their minds before they buy. There should be little pressure to pick your trailer and negotiate a price the same day. Which is a good thing, because it gives you some options.

What I did three years ago was to visit my local dealer and pick out what I wanted, then I contacted FIVE dealers by e-mail and asked them all to quote me a price on that exact model with those exact options. Of the five, one didn't answer at all, and one tried to quote on something similar but not identical to what I asked for. So those two were out of the competition. Of the other three, I got prices from each and figured out who was lowest. Then I asked the two that were higher if they could beat the lowest price. One dealer could beat the to-date lowest price, but that one wasn't the closest dealer.

Since it would cost more in out-of-pocket expenses to travel a day one-way to buy one versus traveling an hour one-way to buy one, I decided to give my local dealer a chance to match the then-lowest price and save a few more bucks on the "sunk" costs. The closest dealer said he could match the price, but not go lower, so I accepted his offer and sent my thanks and regrets to the other dealers, and purchased the unit I wanted from the local dealer at the agreed-upon price.

My final price was approximately 20% below MSRP. You may not do as well. Or you may do better. There are a number of factors that go into determining how low a dealer is willing to go that may be different for you than it was for me.

The most important thing is, before you start negotiating, determine the most you're willing to spend. Do not tell the dealer what that number is, but write it down on an index card and keep it in your pocket. As long as your negotiated price is below the number you've written down, it's a win. If the negotiated price is higher, thank the dealer for his time and walk away. There's always another dealer who who can sell you the trailer you want.
I thought getting old would take longer!
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Old 02-20-2015, 02:19 AM   #4
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IMO, about 18-20% is the best one can get discounted. However, on a new Classic this may not be true as the demand is apparently quite high.

One of the realities is that if you purchase from a non local dealer and have problems you cannot expect much dealer "goodwill" when dealing with warranty issues. And if a service facility is very busy, they will take care of their customers first. This is true in the car business as well.

Thus what protagonist said about travel cost can be added to loss of goodwill and it supports the idea of a local dealer purchase being preferred.

I have purchased three new AS from my local dealer Out of Doors Mart and have felt like I was given a fair deal each time. I consider my dealer as a friend and not just a business relationship.

Good luck, happy trails, drive safe...

Ms Tommie Lauer
Greensboro, NC
2015 Serenity 30 RB / 2008 Dodge Cummins 4 X 4
WBCCI #4165 AIR #31871
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:15 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Yes, 10% would be nice and reasonable. I just hate the haggling part though, but hope it works for both of us to walk away happy
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:20 AM   #6
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I really like your plan of contacting various dealers with a price offer and going from there. That can be a nice bargaining tool. Thanks so much for your input!
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:22 AM   #7
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Very good insights from you too. Will take all this in mind as i go forward the next few days or weeks. Thank you!
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

We purchased a 2015 FC 25FB in September. We got got 12% off MSRP. We knew exactly what we wanted and found two of them. One was at Colonial in New Jersey and the other was at Dixie in FeFuniak Springs, Florida.

We got a price from Colonial and asked Dixie if they could match it, and they did. We went with Dixie as they are only 35 miles from the house.

I hope this helps.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
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Old 02-20-2015, 11:51 AM   #9
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Since 25s are a common floorplan maybe you can stand to wait when the 2016s start coming into the dealers. I'm guessing you want a 25 with ducted air. Unless the 2016s have a better ducted air solution there shouldn't be much difference.

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Old 02-20-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
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My suggestion is what we have done. If the local dealer has a good service department with good service reputation I would and have gone in and tell them - I want you guys to stay in business for my service needs (which is where they make the big bucks, not warranty service, but after warranty and any add on things you might want done). I've gotten some prices from other dealers, never disclose the price and simply ask them for one price, one quote - and then make up your mind.

I always try to put the entire thing in their hands, which it is anyway, but let them know I value them as a partner.

I sold a type of motor vehicle for years and when someone approached my sales people with an attitude like I use (not my original idea or method) we always gave them a rock bottom price and treated them well. Dealers don't like the game anymore than we do, the back and forth nit picking etc. So puff them up, give them the shot to give you a quote and see where it lands. I would do as several others have suggested and actually get other prices. My wife and I do pay more for a product from a dealer we like and one that has good service, not much, but we are wiling to do so.

As an aside, keep in mind people will tell you they got 15% or more off and their unit may be three or four years old. I'ts not the same game today, AS has had a booming year past and 2015 is going to be bigger - some locals you can't find one on the lot that is not sold. So, a discount anywhere from 10% - 15% is a pretty good one when a supplier can sell all they can make, which means AS corporate is not giving the dealers many if any incentives to move product.

Good Luck, you gonna love it.


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Old 02-20-2015, 12:16 PM   #11
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Thanks SuEllen and Brian. I hope I get so lucky!
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:17 PM   #12
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Yes, the duct air is the selling point, otherwise I might try for a 2014.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #13
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Thanks Allen and Bud. That is some good strategy! Kindness and flattery will get you further than 'buyers attitude'. I'm sure this will be a good season for dealers and AS
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:44 PM   #14
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Buying tips

Most of these new car buying tips also apply to RVs:

How to Effectively Negotiate a New Car Price | New Car Buying Guide - Consumer Reports

For the best deal, research prices thoroughly before beginning the final sales process. If you are uncomfortable haggling, find a friend or relative who is experienced in "the dance" and take them along.

As others have stated, the lowest price may not be the best price. Each dealer must make a profit to stay in business, so don't expect one to give you an Airstream for free. However, a reasonable profit is different from price gouging; so be an informed shopper. There's a price compromise where both you and the dealer will be happy; you just have to find it.

Happy shopping!
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:13 PM   #15
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If You Can Afford New

If you can afford a new one, go for it. A new 28' was just more than we wanted to spend.

Having recently bought used, I can tell you it is a very tight market for AS's that are less than 5 years old. They bring a premium price tag, and most private sales are doing so because they can't afford it, and are in over their heads, or they just don't have the time. Those rigs are WAY over the going market as they have to pay off a note where they haven't touched the balance, only scratched the interest. We wanted to purchase from a dealer, but the used inventory has, and remains today to be quite slim across the country. The recent surge of hype in owning an AS has kept used units priced pretty high. The used market is hot.
A few lessons we learned before finally taking ownership:

Get out there and spend time in several models. Act like you are using it, and see if it offers you the space you will not just need, but what you WANT.

Don't settle for a smaller one just because it's in your budget. You will get two-foot-itus, and that can get expensive & frustrating when you long for more space.

Don't impulse buy. Walk away from the first one. Really...walk away, and THINK about it. We did, and we're glad we did because we found a newer one, in better shape, the one we REALLY wanted, and for less $. That was the hardest thing for us to do, walk away, but we read here on the forums that you should do that, and we are SO glad we heeded the advice. Thank you my fellow AS Forum friends for the advice. Spot on.

Search, look, search, look, search, look. By this time, you know what you want. Watch the ads on CL, RV Trader, and others to see the ballpark of what your desired model is commanding in price.

Have your stuff together financially. Be prepared to pounce when "the one" hits the market. The last thing any private seller wants to hear is, "Well I gotta get to the bank & see if they will...." My seller had three offers for more than what they were asking. I called the seller 42 min after it hit the classifieds here on AS Forums. He was a vet, as am I, and we hit it off. Despite the higher offers, they all had $ issues. Have your sheet together.

Get it inspected by a dealer, or find a forum member in the area to do it for you. Fortunately mine was only 1 state N, so I basically had all day for the seller to demonstrate that every aspect of the rig worked. It was a very long day, but an enjoyable one.

Meet at a bank to close the deal. No funny stuff, and all the I's are dotted, and the T's crossed.

The biggest point I wish to make is to take your time, buying new or used. Don't settle on a smaller one, and buy it on an impulse. It took us more than 5 months to find the one we wanted, AND the right seller. Our seller was awesome. He took care of his rig, and had taken extensive notes about her, everywhere they had travelled. He had notes that covered every mile she had traveled, and all maintenance performed. A really nice plus.

Good luck in your purchase, and welcome to the forums. The information that can be found on here, and the folks that help are a priceless addition to owning an AS.
Sea ya down the road,
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:17 PM   #16
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Having just purchased a new 2015 23FB, my general sense is that the final price that a dealer will offer/accept is very elastic, and will be influenced on a daily basis, and maybe even hourly, depending on time of year, inventory, sales quotas, etc. In January, they are motivated to rack up sales volume to give them a start on their annual sales goals/quotas and more likely to sacrifice pricing. As the year progresses towards spring, demand will increase and they can start pushing for higher pricing.

I think that if you are a serious buyer, in that you have a number that you would buy at, you are more likely to close on a deal. I had a number I told them at the start of the conversation what I would pay, it truly represented my first and final offer. The dealer worked hard and came back with offers that were very competitive, but I was firm in what I would pay and was prepared to walk away and not make a purchase. The dealer decided to accept my offer and we finalized the purchase within days. There was no ambiguity to what I would pay. It either worked for them or it didn't.

In my example, I researched pricing; selected a unit on a dealers lot; its January; and if I could get this unit for $XX, I'll buy it. What is $X? that is an individual decision, but I was realistic in that it had to be within reasonable pricing parameters. I did not expect to buy a new 2015 at a 30% discount.

There was not a lot of drama, but I did hold firm with my price. The dealer was great to work with and I was honest with him on what my price point was.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:18 PM   #17
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MSMOTO (Tommie) and I are both satisfied customers of our local (Colfax) NC Airstream Dealer. She's bought 3, I've bought 2 -- including a just delivered 2015 30' Classic. I found another dealer that would have sold the same trailer for less $ -- but I would have had to buy it out of state, deal with the transfer details, etc. BUT most importantly, I have strong feelings about buying from the folks who will take care of the service end, AND also supporting my local economy. The unfortunate truth is that most of us (and I include myself) don't support our local merchants. Internet sales have severely impacted small businesses in our communities. While I don't have the sage answer to how to fix this, I do think that building a local relationship pays enormous dividends. To wit: my trailer was rear-ended while I was on a trip in New England. I downloaded photos of the damage and sent them to the dealer. When I returned home most of the parts were there, the insurance company had been taken care of, and so had I. Buy local if you can. It may have hidden benefits!
"SilverLeaf II" 2015 30' Classic
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #18
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I second BAB Out of Doors Mart in Colfax has been outstanding to deal with.

Lucky Dave, Denver NC
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:26 PM   #19
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My wife and I just ordered a 2015 23D and we were happy with a 15 % reduction and the WD hitch and brake controler installed and throw in. My gut feeling is a big motivator. If I don't trust or care for the individual. I move on. We have about a six to seven week wait for our AS. We are new to the AS community too but we are really looking forward to meeting the people and touring the USA.
Some days your the bug.
Some days your the windshield.

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Old 02-20-2015, 06:52 PM   #20
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Similar experiences with buying out TV. Did the research then went to our local dealer with the target number in our pocket.

Basically told the salesman when he pulled out the 'quad chart' that we were NOT playing that game. Said we did our research, and he could go to the sales manage and get their best and final up front. He did so, the manager came up with a number for out the door total, we hit them with a decent down payment, and the rest was paperwork. No issues going back for service, either. When it came time to unload that vehicle, they gave us a decent price for it, also no issues. And we did not buy a new one, either.

I do have another vehicle from them still, and go there for service still. If I need another vehicle we'll go there first the same way.

Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums
Rich, KE4GNK/AE, Overkill Engineering Dept.
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