RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-19-2010, 05:31 PM   #321
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
 
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
 
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,497
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
Great answer, Thanks! What office are you going to run for in DC?
None.

They already have way to many opinions, crisis, and expenditures.

I also understand that starting this fall, all politicians will be elected for two terms, automatically, every where in the country.

The first term in office.

The second term.............................................i n prison.

Politics was and still is, my worst subject.

Andy
__________________
Andy Rogozinski
Inland RV Center
Corona, CA
Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2010, 06:39 PM   #322
Rivet Master
 
SilverRanger's Avatar
 
2005 19' Safari
1968 24' Tradewind
Rural , Delaware
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,476
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
2Air,
...I paid for a top shelf margarita and got served up a garden variety swill with the premium price tag. Boy! the bartender sure was a hotty though.
Great analogy. And, now that I'm sober, the bartender isn't looking quite as good.
__________________
2005 Bambi
1968 Trade Wind
2007 Ford F250 4x4 Crew
WDCU
SilverRanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2010, 07:38 PM   #323
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
2004 22' Interstate
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,468
Images: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazyjohnny View Post
It is a shame there are many who spent far less on their educations than those designing these trailers and they can come up with a fix, but the trailer can not be designed correct up front. I think we should get what we pay for. To me that means I paid for a top shelf margarita and got served up a garden variety swill with the premium price tag. Boy! the bartender sure was a hotty though.
Actually, the trailers' design is brilliant. In 1936 there was absolutely NOTHING in the world like it; strong, light, aerodynamic. Through the late '60s Airstream was top flight. In the '70s folks demanded holding tanks that when full, the frames as designed couldn't stand up to the weight. From the '80s through today customer demand has been for 'stuff'. Bigger and heavier A/C units; Corian counter tops; heavy, plush flooring; heavy furnishings... appliances... the list goes on and on. The trailers grew in weight but the frame engineering and monocoque construction merely got wider and longer, but not significantly heavier.

So... the basic design remains sound as proven by the legions of 40 and 50 year old trailers still on the road. The problem, at least as I see it, is that the design has been overloaded with 'stuff' by popular demand. If they'd return to simple minimalist interiors with lightweight materials, I think a lot of the problems we're seeing wouldn't be problems.

Roger
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2004 Airstream Interstate "B-Van" T1N Sprinter & 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2010, 08:09 PM   #324
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 16,846
Images: 1
Holly cr@p it's our fault.....we demanded a trailer with all the nice stuff and they wern't smart enough to build it.

Brilliant design, poorly engineered.

I'm sorry...not good enough.

They could do it, if they felt it was necessary.
__________________
Ive always thought that over planning was just a firewall against not being sure of what you really want to do.
RLC

Tahawus
🌤
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2010, 10:22 PM   #325
Rivet Master
 
ROBERTSUNRUS's Avatar

 
2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 8,070
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 55
Arguement or dissagreement.

Hi, of course these threads and posts go back and forth; With all the different trailers, different tow vehicles, and different hitches, also with different people, and their opinions/experiences. [too many combinations to count] To own and operate a trailer, you need to be a mechanic, carpenter, plumber, and electrician. [or an all around handyman] If none of these fits you, then it would help if you're rich. [$$$$$$] It is normal for people to ask questions, then pick what sounds logical to them. No matter what is said, people are going to do what they want to do anyway. Many people have already made up their minds before they even asked the question in hopes of hearing statements conferming their thoughts. The only correct answer to any question, [right or wrong] is the one that you agree with, and makes you happy.


OK, Continue!!!!!
__________________
Bob

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2010, 10:24 PM   #326
Rivet Master
 
Ag&Au's Avatar
 
Port Orchard , Washington
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,464
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
If they'd return to simple minimalist interiors with lightweight materials, I think a lot of the problems we're seeing wouldn't be problems.

Roger
Absolutely true. Not only a lot of the problems, but all of them. Because they would be out of business. That is not what people want to buy. You said yourself that people demanded these new features.

Regards,
ken
Ag&Au is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2010, 12:13 AM   #327
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,177
I have heard of cabinet parts in a newer airstream that were made of 1" thick mdf. Mdf weighs more than the same thickness plywood, so 1" mdf is probably heavier than 1" plywood. In 1964 the cabinet sides and bottoms were made from 1/4" plywood. The heaviest parts were made of 5/8" ply but there was hardly any of this thickness. No tops, no bottoms and no backs. All of the woodwork from my safari weighed in at about 150lbs, maybe less. This is an extremely light way to build cabinets and it looks the same as heavier construction. I think this is indicative of the issue of additional weight without added benefit. Having a tv in your Airstream is not unusual now, along with a dvd player and solar equipment and these are not things that have just gotten heavier, they were not in trailers at all until fairly recently. Add the heavier refrigerators, AC's, furniture etc, and it becomes necessary to have a heavier trailer. I think it also becomes necessary to beef-up the foundation at that time to account for it, and to consider where and how you penetrate the shell that supports it all.
And if you fail to ensure that it all will last and be useable for a sufficient amount of time to satisfy your clientele, then you lose them.

Rich the Viking
VIKING is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2010, 06:02 AM   #328
Rivet Master
 
boondockdad's Avatar
 
2008 30' Classic S/O
Dearborn , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,403
Images: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, of course these threads and posts go back and forth; With all the different trailers, different tow vehicles, and different hitches, also with different people, and their opinions/experiences. [too many combinations to count] To own and operate a trailer, you need to be a mechanic, carpenter, plumber, and electrician. [or an all around handyman] If none of these fits you, then it would help if you're rich. [$$$$$$] ...
I think, this really nails it. It is, what it is. It's a house on wheels. I have expensive failures on my house- and it's not because it's poorly engineered.

We looked into a nice prevost before purchasing our 'stream... and we talked to friends about theirs. They paid many times over what our trailer cost, and they have repairs every outing... that's on top of their seasonal maintenance bill- which amounts to more than what we spend streaming all year.
__________________
A family of eight, blogging all things camping from our Airstream
https://boondockdad.com/
boondockdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #329
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
2004 22' Interstate
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,468
Images: 37
A few more random thoughts about some of these issues...

I think that some of you have missed my point. Airstream became popular because it was light weight and durable, not because of it's decorator amenities and creature comforts. They've had to provide those creature comforts and amenities to stay competitive, but have continued to use the basic construction design that they've always used. And they have beefed it up. The frame rails are twice as heavy today as they were in the early '60s. The bodies are wider. The aluminum is a different alloy and thinner. But, it appears that they're coming up against the maximums that they can stretch this design and still look like the Airstream that you guys want. The easiest thing to do would be to build them like a stickie on a box ladder frame, and then just stick the cabin over it and attach it. And it'd be heavy, and act just like a stickie, and folks wouldn't be happy with that either, 'cause it wouldn't be an Airstream.

I'm not sure what the answer is, guys... I'm just pointing out that todays Airstreams are twice to three times the weight of the original designs. If, in the '70s, merely placing a gray water tank in the frame caused separation issues in the original design, that perhaps the weights of the trailers today along with the demand for amenities and storage is pushing the weight-carrying ability of the design past the limits of the materials and engineering of the trailer.

Wally did that too. His testing grounds were the caravans where everything that could conceivably fail, did. But he was there personally to see the failure, figure out why if failed, fix it, and make sure that particular failure point was designed out of the next batch. Today, the consumer is left to be the proving ground for those design flaws... and the factory isn't right there to fix the problems.

In aircraft building, aircraft architects have come to recognize that a specific design can only be pushed so far in speed and weight carrying capacity. If you need to exceed the design specs of an aircraft, you re-design it. The design of an Airstream is borrowed from the aircraft builders way back when. Perhaps if you want 10,000 lb Airstreams, then a newer design might be the answer.

I recognize that none of these thoughts help with the failures you're seeing on your trailers... and yes, to a certain degree, some of these failures are a result of the factory bowing to the demands of the consumer and doing things to the trailers that the design doesn't allow for, like cutting hatches into supporting structure skin. And as travel trailers have gotten away from being a simple hard-sided tent on wheels that offer a few comfort amenities to full-blown vacation homes on wheels, you do in fact have to be an engineer, plumber, electrician, have and a bunch of other trades skills (or be rich) to keep them working. I think that simplicity remains a central feature for those who fancy the vintage trailers.

Roger
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2004 Airstream Interstate "B-Van" T1N Sprinter & 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2010, 07:48 AM   #330
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
ROBERT CROSS's Avatar

 
2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 16,846
Images: 1
Thumbs up

'Yer rite Roger, some do covet daze gone by......us!!
__________________
Ive always thought that over planning was just a firewall against not being sure of what you really want to do.
RLC

Tahawus
🌤
ROBERT CROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 09:09 AM   #331
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Altoona , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,114
Blog Entries: 22
The average size of the American home doubled since the 1950s... up to around 2400 s.f. When I was kid, many of us were living in those 800 to 1200 s.f. homes. Our Overlander has less than 180 s.f. I think the push behind ever larger (and heavier) RVs with features like "slide outs" is a direct reflection of what we've become accustomed to at home.

As for "engineering," I think most people would agree that Airstreams could be better engineered. It's regrettable that the "mother ship" has never taken the oft mentioned idea of gathering the best and brightest AS minds--the people who are tearing these things apart and putting them back together in new an innovative ways. In fact, I don't think it's an understatment to say Thor/AS is badly out-of-touch with its customer base.

My point is a little different than Roger's. To me, Thor/AS is like a car company that got into the aircraft business. Most of what they know about what sells "SOB" travel trailers works against them in selling Airstreams. I think that they think what people want is a "better" SOB with a nifty aluminum skin. And I suppose some people do... but there are many manufacturers producing "premium" trailers.

The modern AS doesn't really care about weight; they care about "design," making a trailer that "looks cool." They also care about cost and margins. Heavier is often less expensive. If I were running AS (and I'm not), I'd focus on modular components, shaving weight and designed "drop in/bolt on" options for users to customize coaches. If we've learned anything about the new consumer, it's that he or she wants an individualized experience. This isn't hard to deliver in a manufacturing situation... you just have to pick elements that are easy to change.

I think the fundamental problem is that the mothership doesn't understand the AS brand doesn't know what the final product is supposed to be. It's a classic "design by committee" product full of compromises and short-cuts. And honestly, I don't see any indication that AS is going to return to its roots and produce coaches with the 60s aesthetic... lightweight, rugged, simple, functional. I guess we can be thankful that they once did and we can renovate them.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 10:36 AM   #332
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,169
I would not want to be the VP of marketing at Airstream.

There are three market dynamics that are highly problematic.

1) The market perception is that high end RVs are motorhomes and that trailers serve a low-cost market.
2) The trend is towards ever larger, ever heavier RVs, with no rewards in the marketplace for high build quality, longevity of materials and construction, or visual design.
3) The lightweight travel trailer market niche is now pretty much pwned by Scamp, Casita, and the popup manufacturers. (If your purchase is really about light weight and easy pulling, why would you even consider Airstream when Scamp and Casita do such a good job? Their trailers are nearly 1000 pounds lighter than a Bambi.)

So we now have the 320 square foot size limit repealed and places building 38 foot 5ers with slides, weighing 15,000 pounds, and being pulled by medium-duty trucks, and many of the people who would otherwise be Airstream customers going to Prevost and other high-end motorhomes.

The consequence is that Airstream's traditional market is limited to people who value interior and exterior design enough that they're willing to make tradeoffs in cost and utility to get it, and who for whatever reason don't want a motorhome or a cabin even though they could afford one. I think the mother ship has figured this out and that's why they spend so much time and money on design. I actually think that's great. What's unfortunate is that they haven't been serious about engineering at the same time, hence this thread.

Most of the people here on the forums wouldn't be caught dead in a SOB 5er with three slides. I know I wouldn't. I'd travel some other way before traveling in one of those horrors. Who would want to return to a campsite to the unmitigated, utilitarian ugly of a nearly windowless 5er with slides sticking out? Even the military's stuff is prettier.

Look at the quality of the writing in these forums. I can only think of a few places on the Internet where the writing is this good. The wEll, back in its heyday. Wikipedia. The forum participants are by and large drawn from the top 1% of the population, intellectually. I think that is a fairly accurate reflection of Airstream ownership, in general. Compare and contrast that with rv.net or rvforum.net where it is clear from the posts that the participants are drawn from a much broader cross section of the population.

The trouble then is that, demographically, this is a small segment and one that doesn't usually buy RVs, because they can afford other modes of travel like 2nd homes, cruises, and resorts. And many of them can afford Prevosts. The case that Airstreams have benefits over Prevosts other than cost is a difficult one to make.

We lament that Airstreams have gained weight and lack the build quality and careful engineering that we would like to see. Yet, quality alone does not sell trailers, and the light weight segment is a crowded one. I think Airstream is making the best of a product with an appeal limited to a narrow and shrinking market.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 02:08 PM   #333
Rivet Master
 
flyfisher's Avatar
 
2004 30' Classic
Field and Stream , PA & MT
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 819
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I would not want to be the VP of marketing at Airstream.

There are three market dynamics that are highly problematic.

1) The market perception is that high end RVs are motorhomes and that trailers serve a low-cost market.
2) The trend is towards ever larger, ever heavier RVs, with no rewards in the marketplace for high build quality, longevity of materials and construction, or visual design.
3) The lightweight travel trailer market niche is now pretty much pwned by Scamp, Casita, and the popup manufacturers. (If your purchase is really about light weight and easy pulling, why would you even consider Airstream when Scamp and Casita do such a good job? Their trailers are nearly 1000 pounds lighter than a Bambi.)

So we now have the 320 square foot size limit repealed and places building 38 foot 5ers with slides, weighing 15,000 pounds, and being pulled by medium-duty trucks, and many of the people who would otherwise be Airstream customers going to Prevost and other high-end motorhomes.

The consequence is that Airstream's traditional market is limited to people who value interior and exterior design enough that they're willing to make tradeoffs in cost and utility to get it, and who for whatever reason don't want a motorhome or a cabin even though they could afford one. I think the mother ship has figured this out and that's why they spend so much time and money on design. I actually think that's great. What's unfortunate is that they haven't been serious about engineering at the same time, hence this thread.

Most of the people here on the forums wouldn't be caught dead in a SOB 5er with three slides. I know I wouldn't. I'd travel some other way before traveling in one of those horrors. Who would want to return to a campsite to the unmitigated, utilitarian ugly of a nearly windowless 5er with slides sticking out? Even the military's stuff is prettier.

Look at the quality of the writing in these forums. I can only think of a few places on the Internet where the writing is this good. The wEll, back in its heyday. Wikipedia. The forum participants are by and large drawn from the top 1% of the population, intellectually. I think that is a fairly accurate reflection of Airstream ownership, in general. Compare and contrast that with rv.net or rvforum.net where it is clear from the posts that the participants are drawn from a much broader cross section of the population.

The trouble then is that, demographically, this is a small segment and one that doesn't usually buy RVs, because they can afford other modes of travel like 2nd homes, cruises, and resorts. And many of them can afford Prevosts. The case that Airstreams have benefits over Prevosts other than cost is a difficult one to make.

We lament that Airstreams have gained weight and lack the build quality and careful engineering that we would like to see. Yet, quality alone does not sell trailers, and the light weight segment is a crowded one. I think Airstream is making the best of a product with an appeal limited to a narrow and shrinking market.
My 40' 5th wheel with its 3 slide outs has nearly 400 sq ft and weighs around 20,000#.

I have a much much superior view from all my thermopane windows now than I ever dreamed of having with my (thankfully, former) 30' Airstream, it tows much better with my F450 pickup truck than my Airstream ever did, and its overall quality is so far superior in every respect that I can think of to my Airstream that I never gave it a thought that anyone might think that the military's stuff is prettier. Thanks for the smile.

John

p.s. Maybe, just maybe, Airstream's market is also shrinking due to the quality of their product.
__________________
Flyfisher
flyfisher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 02:24 PM   #334
on the hunt
 
osolow's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
riverton , Kansas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 373
Send a message via Skype™ to osolow
I don't see why Airstream cant make one of these trailers just as lite as

the older ones, with the amenities that the consumer wants (TV,water

tanks, a/c). and be just as durable and still keep cost down to were they

still make money and put out a quality product.

I mean there so many different and updated materials that could be used

in place of what there using now. personally i would rather have all the

cabinets made out of 1/4inch plywood over the presto wood there use

now. also they could use more Aluminum in the interiors, aim sure most

people wouldnt hate that. I'll bet the factory could shave off a few

hundred pounds off the trailers just buy redoing the interior with lighter

better newer material.
osolow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 02:27 PM   #335
on the hunt
 
osolow's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
riverton , Kansas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 373
Send a message via Skype™ to osolow
p.s. Maybe, just maybe, Airstream's market is also shrinking due to the quality of their product.[/QUOTE]


I would agree with this they do need to pull there head out of the sand

and quit living on there past and look toward the future. Or they wont

have one and will all be in a vintage A/S.
osolow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 02:39 PM   #336
Rivet Master
 
2010 27' FB Classic
N/A , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,807
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfisher View Post
My 40' 5th wheel with its 3 slide outs has nearly 400 sq ft and weighs around 20,000#.

I have a much much superior view from all my thermopane windows now than I ever dreamed of having with my (thankfully, former) 30' Airstream, it tows much better with my F450 pickup truck than my Airstream ever did, and its overall quality is so far superior in every respect that I can think of to my Airstream that I never gave it a thought that anyone might think that the military's stuff is prettier. Thanks for the smile.

John

p.s. Maybe, just maybe, Airstream's market is also shrinking due to the quality of their product.

Don't forget to change your profile under your username to reflect your new 5th wheel trailer. Or, do you still have the Airstream?
Enjoy your new trailer, sounds like it's just right for you!
Bluto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2010, 08:10 AM   #337
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Altoona , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,114
Blog Entries: 22
If you are living the dream in a 10-ton, 40' fifth-wheel trailer and your Airstream is "thankfully, former," John, I'm not sure I understand your interest in posting here.

And, Jammer, I think you make some good points, but I wouldn't mind the Airstream gig. It's an iconic brand. All it needs is some iconic travel trailers to return the shine. I don't think the target market needs to be some top one percent demographic (of which I'm certainly not a member). I think the key is getting back to superior quality and understanding the user-driven modality. I think of Airstream as a platform. A more modular design approach would allow consumers to tailor the "build out" to their particular needs. And it would open the door for great aftermarket support.

I don't think Airstream is going to compete for customers like John. For the Airstreamers I have met, going camping is something a little different than putting a WD hitch on the house and towing it down the road. Airstream needs to do more than develop product; it needs to develop customers. Many people have a negative perceptions of "RVing." It's isn't just about a great travel trailer; it's convincing people that the Airstream experience isn't wonderbread-and-tuna sandwiches, loud neighbors and the stinky slinky.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2010, 08:39 AM   #338
Rivet Master
 
JFScheck's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Rockville , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,493
Images: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Look at the quality of the writing in these forums.
I would agree - the Airstream product does tend to draw in those with a bit more grey matter - or at least the "Airstream Forums" does....
__________________
John "JFScheck" Scheck
In Between Units
Airstream On Order
**I Love U.S.A.**
JFScheck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2010, 08:42 AM   #339
Rivet Master
 
JFScheck's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Rockville , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,493
Images: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
that the Airstream experience isn't wonderbread-and-tuna sandwiches, loud neighbors and the stinky slinky.
Of coures - my "wonderbread tuna sandwich" and a cold glass of "tang" sitting near a firepit and I'm one happy camper - only difference is now I can afford a "cool camper" that when it rains outside I don't mind being inside...
__________________
John "JFScheck" Scheck
In Between Units
Airstream On Order
**I Love U.S.A.**
JFScheck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2010, 10:18 AM   #340
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,169
Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
[Airsream is] an iconic brand. All it needs is some iconic travel trailers to return the shine.
Sure, but the struggle they clearly have at the mother ship is that they're trying to recapture some of the "small, cute" trailer market space by cutting prices and pulling out costly features that aren't inherently iconic. That's where their volume is, but you don't need an MBA from Wharton to figure out that it's a low margin product. I believe that the cost pressures in this part of the product line are probably what is interfering with higher build quality and more careful engineering on the 25' and 30' Internationals and Classics. Quality, engineering leadership, and for that matter cost sensitivity are not something you can turn on and off from one product to the next. It's part of the organizational structure and who you hire.

They're rumored to make only a few dozen 30' classics a year and so even if the margins on them are fantastic they won't pay for much engineering.

Quote:
I don't think the target market needs to be some top one percent demographic (of which I'm certainly not a member). I think the key is getting back to superior quality and understanding the user-driven modality. I think of Airstream as a platform. A more modular design approach would allow consumers to tailor the "build out" to their particular needs. And it would open the door for great aftermarket support.
It is my view that the perceived quality of the trailers really encompasses a number of completely unrelated areas from a manufacturing standpoint:
1. Quality of standard assemblies purchased from suppliers (appliances, axles, awning, converters, water pumps, head). Due to Airstream's relatively low volume compared to the rest of the industry, it is unlikely that they can force much change at, for example, Atwood.
2. Corrosion problems related to materials choices. Filiform corrosion and corrosion of hardware and trim don't have anything to do with build quality, they're due to inherent properties of the materials. I don't know how to solve this but I would guess it would involve engaging the expertise of metallurgy experts that the mother ship is unlikely to have on their own staff. I would guess that any solution is going to drive up the per-unit costs significantly.
3. Structural engineering. It seems to me that the structural problems ought to be solvable but these only plague the larger trailers where the unit volume is small. I would guess that the problem here is that there isn't any sufficiently detailed and up-to-date analysis of the frame and semi-monocoque shell to start the process and so it would take a structural engineer coming in and starting at the beginning. I also suspect that the mother ship does not have a "shaker" that they can use to simulate 100,000 miles of rough roads the way the major automakers do. With a few million bucks it would be straightforward enough to do a baseline structural analysis, feed a few trailers to the shaker, make changes, build new trailers, and feed those to the shaker and see how they do (Rinse and repeat). Short of that, it's guesswork.
4. Build quality. Seems to me like this is the easiest to fix but it still takes money and commitment. These problems get fixed by adding process, procedure, and training, and that slows down the line and adds expenses.

Quote:
I don't think Airstream is going to compete for customers like John. For the Airstreamers I have met, going camping is something a little different than putting a WD hitch on the house and towing it down the road. Airstream needs to do more than develop product; it needs to develop customers. Many people have a negative perceptions of "RVing." It's isn't just about a great travel trailer; it's convincing people that the Airstream experience isn't wonderbread-and-tuna sandwiches, loud neighbors and the stinky slinky.
I agree but I'll be a little more blunt. Airstream has to convince their market that RVing isn't just for the hoi polli. While this is an industry-wide problem, the white box SOBs are able to build and expand their business by selling a low-priced product into their traditional customer base, and the high-end MH makers are largely selling into a market that doesn't "go RVing" in the usually understood sense. They're selling to traveling performers and professionals who use a MH to further their working life.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.