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Old 01-15-2022, 07:48 PM   #1
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Chinese Airstream knock off

Happened to find this link to China Airstream knock offs for sale. What do you think?
Copy and paste link below into your browser. I was blown away!

https://www.alibaba.com/countrysearc...-for-sale.html
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:56 PM   #2
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The knock off is call Starship RV. You can see a video on the YouTube channel, called
"The RV CycleChef"
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:45 PM   #3
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One the one hand, Airstream has had competition before in the Aluminum TT space, most notably and recently from Avion, which, by all accounts, was a better trailer, yet was not able to beat Airstream.

On the other hand, giving Thor some fair competition in this space could be a good thing, but first this company has to survive more than the few years typical of such outfits.
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:30 PM   #4
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I wonder how real? Do any industrial search and Alibaba will show up offering you anything at a lower price. Just saying from my past experience. I would not trust anything Alibaba has listed........ From my perspective as well known fraud Chinese company trying to spoof you. If anyone has ever bought anything from Alibaba and been happy I would love to know and change my opinion. Chinese scam company!!!!
Sorry to burst the bubble.
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Old 01-16-2022, 05:32 AM   #5
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It's almost impossible to know from the listings what's real and what's imagined. They've got what looks like about a 19' model in one listing for about the same price as what looks like a 30' model in another. The interiors all look nice in the photos till you look close and see what appears to be a hand-pump on the sink faucet, no LP tanks or batteries on the tongue, and a tongue that is so long the tongue jack is mounted halfway back.

When I had a small wood shop making furniture I tried to order some items from Alibaba, and my experience with things listed on Alibaba was that many are just aspirational listings which are for products only existing on a CGI screen.
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:45 AM   #6
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I can't attest to the reality of the Airstream knockoff trailers, but my wife orders scrapbooking supplies from Alibaba on a weekly basis, and we have not had any notable bad experiences. I agree, prices seem too low to be believed--it is hard to imagine that there is any profit available. I suppose it works much like Amazon, there is the over-arching organization, and independent sellers that work within that framework. Itis Alibaba's best interest to enforce business rules on their sellers to minimize a bad reputation. If you want to get scammed, buy something from Facebook Marketplace (where there is no enforcement of anything), where I routinely see fake ads for plastic storage sheds that cost $900 at Lowes, supposedly selling on a "promotion" for less than $100.

One thing I have noted in the recent past is that the cost of shipping on stuff in general from Alibaba has gone up dramatically, and you might find several sellers, all selling the exact same item, but shipping can vary from $20 to $200. I am guessing to some extent that it is the "supply chain issue" that seems to be affecting everything these days, but probably also a sneaky way to get a buyer's attention with a seemingly low price, and then slip in a few hundred dollars of profit disguised as shipping. The cost of shipping for the Airstream knock-offs isn't listed, so it could be quite substantial.

Another thing that is interesting is that you will see American companies that have a product produced in China, and listed for sale on their own website in the US, for, say $20. Because they give up their IP rights the moment they make the deal to have that item produced on the cheap in China, you can also find that exact same item on Alibaba for $1.75. Not really a knock-off, it is the exact same item.

Anyway, it is a buyer-beware world we live in. Buying the Chinese trailer sight-unseen probably isn't any riskier than committing to the "fully renovated" (guaranteed not to leak) vintage trailer on the other side of the country.

Also kind of reminds me of a few years ago when the technology to synthesize "diamonds" that were absolutely flawless and of a decent size became available. Plenty of people expected it to mark the end of the high-profit natural diamond business, but as it turned out, people don't really want a "man-made" diamond, even at half the price of the natural variety.
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Old 01-16-2022, 07:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bweybright View Post
I wonder how real? Do any industrial search and Alibaba will show up offering you anything at a lower price. Just saying from my past experience. I would not trust anything Alibaba has listed........ From my perspective as well known fraud Chinese company trying to spoof you. If anyone has ever bought anything from Alibaba and been happy I would love to know and change my opinion. Chinese scam company!!!!
Sorry to burst the bubble.
I do not have a bubble to burst. This post was to inform our community to what's out there.
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Old 01-16-2022, 08:46 AM   #8
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Quality control is going to be the biggest challenge. My sister and brother in law have imported many things from China and their most memorable one was when they got some towel samples for printing graphics in some sort of screen process. The samples were perfect but why they got their order of 4,000 towels, they were complete garbage and unusable. They really have no recourse.

They are currently bringing large heat presses in from China and have had good results with those.

If you look at some of the pictures of the AS copy, you will notice that the windows are the Euro style which are very light weight and double glazed plastic. We had similar in our Camplite and they were great, The screen and blackout blinds were built into the frame.

The upper cabinets look tight to the ceiling which is a great look!

You take your chances if you can’t do a walk through! Sort of similar to our dealings with the real AS trailers in a way

If these guys were going to bring about 10,000 trailers into North America and set up shop, then I am sure Thor would have to take them seriously.
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bweybright View Post
I wonder how real? Do any industrial search and Alibaba will show up offering you anything at a lower price. Just saying from my past experience. I would not trust anything Alibaba has listed........ From my perspective as well known fraud Chinese company trying to spoof you. If anyone has ever bought anything from Alibaba and been happy I would love to know and change my opinion. Chinese scam company!!!!
Sorry to burst the bubble.
I purchased custom patio shades from a chinese company thru Alibaba, they were quite a bargain & I was very satisfied, the young lady I spoke with was knowledgeable/helpful. Next I purchased end tables that arrived damaged as they were poorly packaged, neither the furniture factory or shipper would take responsibility so I ate the loss. I would say that Alibaba has good actors and bad - kinda like Ebay.
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:33 AM   #10
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Hi

On something as large and complex as a trailer, I'd go direct to the outfit selling it. See what they have to say. If they want to do the deal via Alibaba, that's fine. I would not be at all surprised if they will be much happier doing another way. Will *you* be happier? ..... that depends.

Direct contact would also confirm that they understand US road regulations and that the various bits and pieces required to "make it legal" are present. Those rules are not uniform the world over so it's best not to "assume".

With Covid restrictions, travel to here or there is a bit nutty. The degree of nuttiness may well change day to day. Were it not for that, I'd budget a flight over to actually see one as part of any purchase process.

Bob
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:45 AM   #11
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Here's a video of a guy reviewing an electric truck he bought from China via Alibaba at a good price. The thing of interest related to this discussion is the lack of DOT approvals (can't use it on the road) and bare bones build quality. Just for reference. - Brad
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:01 AM   #12
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It looks like there's at least a few already in the United States. Saw a thread about a month ago on Reddit about one. There wasn't much info and I looked at their post history and didn't see anything else about it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GoRVing/com...my_little_boi/
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:11 AM   #13
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Ah ... Really?!?!

I have trouble believing anybody in the US that's in the market for a travel trailer would seriously consider buying one of these things. Even if you ever did actually receive it, it's hard to believe quality or design would be anywhere near an Airstream (and we know what kind of issues Airstream has), not to mention lack of conformance to US safety requirements. And then there's ... ah, never mind ... Mark
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:42 AM   #14
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"You image, we build" Really?

I don't think Thor has anything to worry about from this, um, "competitor".

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Old 01-16-2022, 05:03 PM   #15
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Copying existing good or best sellers is what the Chinese are good at. One of the early Hyundai or Kia autos had a similar appearance to a Jaguar, this was 10-15 years ago, and no way would I have bought one. Several weeks we mistook a Hyundai Genesis for a Bentley Bentayga (sp)which are north of $200,000. Yep, the Genesis looked that good, and they sell in the $80-100,000 range. Itís what Tiger was driving 11 months ago with that horrible crash. The point being China will get there on the knockoff Airstream, and it will be AT LEAST as good, and dare I say better, and less expensive?
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:07 PM   #16
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Hyundai and Kia are South Korean companies, not Chinese companies.

Totally different economies and business models.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Hyundai and Kia are South Korean companies, not Chinese companies.

Totally different economies and business models.
Thatís what happens when one rushes to make a point, you get it wrong. Shame on me.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:00 AM   #18
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Hi

Folks have been building RV's for roughly a century. They have been building cars and trucks a bit longer, but not a whole lot longer. Cars became an "international" thing very early on. Exporting / importing this or that one to the far corners of the globe became a significant part of the game for most manufacturers. Trucks followed that trend, but to a somewhat lesser extent.

Even now, the export / import of RV's (any RV) is an unusual thing. None of the big guys seem to be focused on a "global" approach. An outfit here makes stuff for this region. Another outfit there makes something similar for another region. AS has played with the European market over the years. All reports I've seen suggest it could best be described as a struggle.

I think it is unlikely with all the various regulations in this region that contradict the regulations in that region, that a "global" RV factory will be an easy thing to set up. It very much is *not* going to be a "copy the other guy" kind of thing. The Japanese spent many decades getting a handle on this in the automotive industry. We rarely give them credit for all that hard work. So far nobody has done that work for RV's ....

Yes, you *can* import an RV from here to there. It's an unusual thing to do. When you get it "there", if you want to use it as an RV, there is a long list of this and that to modify. Making it "street legal" is only the start of the process. There are a lot of threads here on the forum from folks who have done this sort of thing. It's not for the faint of heart ....

You also can go on YouTube and watch folks who have decided to "visit the world" in their US made RV. It seems to be a continuous series of "we just discovered" videos. Yes they work around this or that. I don't see a normal consumer buying into very many of those bandaids.

Only time will tell how this goes.

Bob
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:43 PM   #19
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Without DOT certifications I don't see how you could get it titled and registered.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:56 AM   #20
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Without DOT certifications I don't see how you could get it titled and registered.
Hi

Which is why one would want to check with the manufacturer and make sure they have a way to do those certs.

The typical answer is that they ship the "chassis" to a US shop. That shop puts on the required gear and does whatever DOT paperwork is needed. I believe they also need to be registered with DOT for the size of trailer involved. You also need to get a proper VIN on the vehicle or things will stall out very quickly.

Given the multitude of outfits welding up various kinds of trailers, doing this is not rocket science.

It is not uncommon to find that shipping / import / rework / transport is pretty expensive.

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