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Old 05-20-2017, 04:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by SuperD View Post

.....cut....

If foreign manufacturers came to the US and do what was done to the auto industry things would change right quick and in a hurry!!!
It's already happening in my opinion.

I can think of two separate instances where foreign companies are influencing the RV industry -- granted with limited impact initially, but it will continue.

Firstly, when Mercedes brought over the Euro Sprinter vans, there was a sudden switch away from Ford Econoline and Chevy Express vans, making Class Bs more practical and desirable. And if not for higher Mercedes costs, the switch would have been even faster. More recently RAM started importing Fiat Ducattos as ProMasters and with lower cost have taken over a large market share of Class Bs. Ford has responded with Transit van so overall we now have more and better choices for Class B platforms.

Secondly, when Hymer (German company) purchased RoadTrek, they quickly moved to first place in Class B production passing Winnebago. And that segment (still low production volume) is growing faster than Cs and specially As. I expect companies that offer 5 or 6 year product warranty place greater emphasis on a quality build.

Over next 3 to 4 years or so Hymer is expected to introduce small Cs and As to North America, but they won't compete directly with American products due to their much smaller sizes. Regardless, if demand is great enough, maybe that too will force improvement.
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Old 05-20-2017, 05:24 PM   #22
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It's already happening in my opinion.

...

Secondly, when Hymer (German company) purchased RoadTrek, they quickly moved to first place in Class B production passing Winnebago. And that segment (still low production volume) is growing faster than Cs and specially As. I expect companies that offer 5 or 6 year product warranty place greater emphasis on a quality build.

Over next 3 to 4 years or so Hymer is expected to introduce small Cs and As to North America, but they won't compete directly with American products due to their much smaller sizes. Regardless, if demand is great enough, maybe that too will force improvement.
Just because someone offers a six year warranty doesn't mean their quality is any better. A RoadTrek will cost you about 30K more than a comparable Winnabago. Since there are only so many manufacturers of RV components many of the components are the same (e.g. water pumps, electrical components, AC units, generators etc...) so the failure rates for these components will be the same. Companies like RoadTrex that extend the warranties at an increased cost to the consumer may be banking on the fact that 30K will cover any and all costs of warranty repairs over 5 years. Yes, 5 years because their warranty states that an equipment manufacturer's warranty applies first and most of those are 1 year.

Also, look what happened to Jeep since the European's took control. They now have more models on the top 15 vehicles "not to buy list" than any other auto maker. The Wrangler and Cherokee which used to be considered a couple of the best are now rated with the worst.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:04 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=Laco;68315] My point is, the RV manufactures have little incentive to improve their QA, when they can't produce enough units to even meet demand. They are perfectly satisfied to throw RV's together using the least expensive materials and paying assembly workers as little as possible, as long as their dealers continue to complete and fix the assembly problems and issues they create, as well as allowing the consumer to complete the testing process for their assembly methods.
Philosophically speaking;
One statement that I have heard too often from employe's at various levels in the RV industry is: I can't afford to buy one!
The person assembling cars, usually owns one. They have a vested interest in producing a quality product and hope that the person assembling their potential car has the same vested interest.
Given the price of even a mid-level RV, it appears that many of the employees putting them together have little hope of ever owning one.
I believe American manufacturing is in trouble. 45 years in manufacturing I have witnessed the elimination of many quality control programs involving employee input and problem solving. Programs designed to give all employees sense of ownership in the company's success. The Bottom Line has become more important than quality and that filters down to the guy driving the last screw.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:25 PM   #24
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Just because someone offers a six year warranty doesn't mean their quality is any better. A RoadTrek will cost you about 30K more than a comparable Winnabago. .....cut....
Agree, longer warranty period doesn't guarantee better quality. Still, I'd prefer longer period over shorter if everything else is equal.


By the way, we've compared Winnebago Travato to Hymer and Roadtrek vans and the cost isn't $30k when equipped similarly. The Winnebago Travato does offer a lot of value for the cost (too bad it has a stupid 6-speed minivan transmission).
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:14 PM   #25
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I'm in my first RV - a 2017 Freedom Elite 26HE - and I have no complaints. There have been a good number of small repairs and adjustments but none worth going back to the dealer over. Actually, I'm pretty impressed, notwithstanding the issues so many of you seem to have with your units. I fully understand the Freedom Elites are "entry level" products and are built to a price point but with a price in the mid $50K range - which is less than the price of a nice pickup truck - I'm really seeing a lot of value. I only have about 5200 miles on my machine so far and I hope my luck and opinion holds!
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:53 PM   #26
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... but if CW actually puts their foot down and won't deliver (or more importantly pay) for units this might be the impetus for...
first of all, I am not aware that ANY dealer can decide to 'not accept' or decide to not 'pay' for units THEY ordered! They would lose their contract quickly if so.
Delivery also has nothing to do with QC, and is performed by a separate individual delivery company that has no way to allow the dealer to 'not accept' the delivered unit, period. It just does not happen. What would the delivery driver do, drive it back to the factory?? no way. notta. does not happen.

All dealers have a contract with the companies that they are dealers for, and each contract says that if they order a unit, they must accept the unit, and THEN get with the factory if there are any defects or 'warranty' type repairs, period.
Dealers place ORDERS for the units they want...
Factories don't just 'send' units to dealers willy-nilly and then expect them to 'accept' them whether they like it or not.
Right now, most dealers are not receiving their ordered units quick enough, and certainly aren't in the business of 'turning away' ordered units just because they 'might' have some inherent issues - they ALL do!

Delivery companies only deliver the unit, they are not responsible for how the unit was built, or even what the dealer 'expects', but are only there to drive the unit to the dealer(motorized units), or tow/pull/trailer towables to the dealer. When they arrive, the dealer signs off on the new delivery, with the only exception being anything to do with the driving of the unit, such as damage during transit. This, though, has nothing to do with anything concerning the build of the coach.

I've delivered units from Newmar, Coachmen, and Fleetwood, and don't concern myself with how the unit looks, the floorplan, whether all the systems work properly, etc... only that it drives properly to the dealer. The delivery company and driver are not employees of the factory, and are not quality control people.
If I notice anything to do with the 'vehicle' performance, such as the engine, transmission, lights, instrument panel, tires, etc... I will take action, or alert the dealer at delivery... but the driver's job is not to 'inspect' the coach from an 'RV' build and systems standpoint.

Dealers take on the inspection of the 'RV' part once it reaches them. Some may do a systems check when it arrives, but MOST do NOT. Most 'assume' that the coach is in good order, brand new from the factory, and only get involved with any defects and/or warranty type repairs when the CUSTOMER gives them notice, AFTER the sale(PDI),unless, of course, it is so obvious to anyone in any precursory walkthru before then. Dealers understand defects, they deal with these new RVs everyday, but they do NOT want to take the time and money and effort to 'fix' anything UNTIL it is sold. Then they will be happy to help the customer and bill the factory for warranty work. Most factories frown on the dealer claiming warranty repairs are needing when the RV has not even been sold yet, it's just the way it works.

I think that most of us might assume that the 'higher' you go, as far as price of coaches, that you would expect better overall QC from the factory and/or dealers, but I've seen some of the same issues from various factories, no matter the name brand or price. You might not think so, at first, but there are so many less of the larger pricier coaches sold versus the number of 'entry level' makes, so it's safe to assume you'd hear more about the issues with these.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:56 AM   #27
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^^^ Actually not entirely true. I used to be the banker for Weekend Warrior Travel Trailers and their biggest client was Giant RV. Weekend Warrior considered Giant RV their client and certainly had a vested interest to keep them happy. If there were defective units, Weekend Warrior would take the units back. Matter of fact they had a separate facility just for return units with QC issues. How it would work logistically is that they would drop off units and pick up the returned units. Giant would not decline them while still on the truck. Giant would review the units and if it was something more than a minor issue, they would return them. Now Giant did also have a reason to keep Weekend Warrior happy as they were the hottest selling toy box on the West Coast. But their contract did absolutely say that it was Weekend warrior's responsibility to take back defective units prior to sale. Post sale, it was now on Giant to fix and send the bill to Weekend Warrior at a discounted rate.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:02 AM   #28
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I think the real issues are related to consolidation and competition. The smaller companies that built a good unit are getting bought up by larger companies and delineating the brand. Plus with less competition was have less options. When (or if) the RV Market starts heating up again then we will see companies having to improve their products to stay competitive. Until that happens, this will be our new norm. I think at the same time there are units without a single issue, and others with nothing but troubles. For everyone else in between those two extremes, they are no doubt getting a worse product today than they were prior to 2008, and the only thing to change it will be increase competition.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:11 PM   #29
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I am not sure why anyone would buy new. It seems like once you finally get all the bugs close to worked out, you sell it. We buy used with extended warranties. So far it has worked for us. We LOVE our Thor Hurricane, but perhaps our expectations are a little different than most, having graduated from tents, a tent trailer, a travel trailer, a Minnie Winnie, and now our Hurricane. So far, no regrets.
We owned one used Montana fiver and one new one. The used one had zero issues. The new one had numerous minor issues and we got an education on how horrible new factory warranties are.

We knew when the search began for a MH there was no way it would be for a new unit. Let someone else deal with determining if it is a lemon or not and work all the kinks out for a couple of years.

I agree with Scott. I'm letting someone else take the 50% depreciation hit on a new unit.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:12 PM   #30
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.....cut....

Dealers take on the inspection of the 'RV' part once it reaches them. Some may do a systems check when it arrives, but MOST do NOT. Most 'assume' that the coach is in good order, brand new from the factory, and only get involved with any defects and/or warranty type repairs when the CUSTOMER gives them notice, AFTER the sale(PDI),unless, of course, it is so obvious to anyone in any precursory walkthru before then. Dealers understand defects, they deal with these new RVs everyday, but they do NOT want to take the time and money and effort to 'fix' anything UNTIL it is sold. Then they will be happy to help the customer and bill the factory for warranty work. Most factories frown on the dealer claiming warranty repairs are needing when the RV has not even been sold yet, it's just the way it works.

.....cut......
Hence the problem being discussed -- dealers' "assumption" that the coach is in good order is often flawed given all the evidence provided by buyers on this forum. And the same goes for other manufacturers as well.


In other industries it is common to have an employee, or representative, do an inspection of major purchases before acceptance, payment, or shipment. I once flew to Japan just for such an inspection. It's very common.

Why couldn't RVs be inspected at or near the manufacturer's factory by the dealer or his representative, and then have repairs performed by manufacturer's employees prior to shipment? They have easier access to parts, labor, and knowhow.

I don't doubt the system works as you've stated, but that in itself doesn't make it right, or advantageous for customers. Final owner shouldn't be placed between the manufacturer and dealer. There has to be a better way.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:37 PM   #31
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I don't think it would take a foreign manufacturer: Just one or two that produced quality units for a fair price (wouldn't matter where they are located). When they start taking sales away from the others is when the others would start reigning in quality.

That is what happened in the auto industry: It wasn't that foreign manufacturers arrived, its that they got their quality control much better than the US ones (Toyota was here a long time before they really took off: They embraced Ed Deming when the US manufacturers kicked him out).
And VW had been here for 10+ years before Toyota arrived.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:59 PM   #32
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I don't doubt the system works as you've stated, but that in itself doesn't make it right, or advantageous for customers. Final owner shouldn't be placed between the manufacturer and dealer. There has to be a better way.

I completely agree. I am not sure if there is anything we mere common folk can do about it though, other than to not buy new from a dealer.

It would be great if a MH manufacturer only sold direct (Like Acme Tow Dollies). If and when an issue arises you call the manufacturer directly and they either equip you with troubleshooting, or refer you to an approved repair facility.

That way they are standing by the product and can track any trends in complaints, QC issues, etc.

I personally would feel more comfortable buying factory direct and not having to go through the dealer.

I was talking with a retired RV Dealership owner the other day and he said that he would only buy used. He said new will almost always have QC issues due to the fact that at the manufacturers facilities you have a general technician installing electrical components (not an electrician) and you have that same general technician doing plumbing, etc, etc...and very seldom does that General technician own a motorhome, let alone the very motorhome that they are responsible for putting together. So without expertise in what they are putting together, or end user knowledge of how their quality/attention to detail, or lack thereof impacts the end user, the quality that you are going to get is spotty at best.

When most homes are built a plumber installs the plumbing, an electrician does the electrical, and a carpenter does the framing, an concrete guy does the foundation, etc. This should be the same way a motorhome is built.

I know some might say that it would be way too expensive to take this same approach with RV's; but I have a friend who is a very good electrician that is struggling to find work. I imagine he would be more than happy to take that kind of a job.

But until one of the two above happens, we will just need to live with it, or make different buying decisions.
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:48 PM   #33
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If you hold the tech accountable for his work and have management that installs pride and ownership, quality will improve. It all starts from the top.

My wife, who is an RN, took over management of a large medical floor that was so bad doctors didn't want to send their patients there. In 4 months, using great leadership, my wife turned the unit into a cohesive unit that became the pride of the hospital. Two years later the same unit was turned over to a manager who just drew a paycheck, in six months the unit was back where it started. Again, it all starts at the top!
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:23 AM   #34
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Holy cow....

I never thought I could spend this much $$$ on any product any get such poor quality. If they built Cadillacs this shabbily they would be out of business pronto. We really need to all get together and protest the lack of workmanship on these products. I have not even been camping yet and will be back in the shop for the second time for multiple repairs. Stick by home when you first get your unit as I understand that this is "normal" in the RV world. How awful. I will NEVER buy a Thor product again. I hope I can get 10 years out of it. If it still drives I'll ride it until the camper box falls off. It's ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Such POOR quality.
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:43 AM   #35
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Look what it took to fix the auto industry in this country. The RV industry needs the same advocacy. Until then, they will continue to produce an inferior product especially when business is good, as it is now.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:03 PM   #36
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I completely agree. ......cut.....
He said new will almost always have QC issues due to the fact that at the manufacturers facilities you have a general technician installing electrical components (not an electrician) and you have that same general technician doing plumbing, etc, etc...and very seldom does that General technician own a motorhome, let alone the very motorhome that they are responsible for putting together. So without expertise in what they are putting together, or end user knowledge of how their quality/attention to detail, or lack thereof impacts the end user, the quality that you are going to get is spotty at best.

When most homes are built a plumber installs the plumbing, an electrician does the electrical, and a carpenter does the framing, an concrete guy does the foundation, etc. This should be the same way a motorhome is built.

I know some might say that it would be way too expensive to take this same approach with RV's; but I have a friend who is a very good electrician that is struggling to find work. I imagine he would be more than happy to take that kind of a job.
.
You are comparing apples to oranges as the saying goes. RV's are slapped together by general techs making between $10 and $20 an hour in northern Indiana. That $250,000 brand new little diesel pusher a manufacturer just gave a dealer really only costs Thor about $105,000 and the dealer is paying about $150,000. So the dealer marks it down "special" and you buy it for $230,000 and think you got a deal. In reality you just paid $230,000 for a product that cost around $85,000 to produce by Thor before they added their profit. But in your mind the thing cost as much as your house so it should be high quality and last 50 years. Anyone with an expectation of this type of value when purchasing a new RV WILL BE HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED.
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:43 PM   #37
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Quality an issue?

I read this whole string. Lots of good point and lots of lost souls. Welcome to America. Now understand this. They don't build em like they used to and never will. The grass is always greener over at the other RV manufacturers QC department. The squeaky wheel gets the grease most of the time. Cash is king unless you have a certified check. You can't get there from here because your wife is navigating. Bottom line? Do your own QC at the PDI. I drove far to pick up my new Thor and quess what? It too had issues. Guess what again? I left it there and went home with the check in my pocket. Guess what again? They are taking care of everything and are going to DELIVER it to my house. Guess what again? I will do my own PDI again and if it fails they can drive it back to the dealer and I will keep the check in my pocket again.

Moral of the story? Don't rely on anyone to perform due diligence. That's your job!

If you think American quality is so poor in 2017 just wait until these snowflakes move out of their family's basements after discovering they have to work to eat and start working in manufacturing production lines. OMG!
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Old 05-23-2017, 02:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by DogLovers View Post
...

Moral of the story? Don't rely on anyone to perform due diligence. That's your job!

If you think American quality is so poor in 2017 just wait until these snowflakes move out of their family's basements after discovering they have to work to eat and start working in manufacturing production lines. OMG!
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Old 05-23-2017, 02:09 PM   #39
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I read this whole string. Lots of good point and lots of lost souls. Welcome to America. Now understand this. They don't build em like they used to and never will. The grass is always greener over at the other RV manufacturers QC department. The squeaky wheel gets the grease most of the time. Cash is king unless you have a certified check. You can't get there from here because your wife is navigating. Bottom line? Do your own QC at the PDI. I drove far to pick up my new Thor and quess what? It too had issues. Guess what again? I left it there and went home with the check in my pocket. Guess what again? They are taking care of everything and are going to DELIVER it to my house. Guess what again? I will do my own PDI again and if it fails they can drive it back to the dealer and I will keep the check in my pocket again.

Moral of the story? Don't rely on anyone to perform due diligence. That's your job!

If you think American quality is so poor in 2017 just wait until these snowflakes move out of their family's basements after discovering they have to work to eat and start working in manufacturing production lines. OMG!
Very well said! I may just add along the same line, if you can't perform, or don't want to perform your own upkeep and preventative maintenance on your RV, then be prepared for additional stress and dissatisfaction after the factory warranty ends. Checking the batteries every couple months, doing roof inspections, flushing that hot water heater out, exercising w/load the generator every month, coating slide seals..... on and on. I average about 2 hours or more each week while using my RV just doing general maintenance and inspections, and that's not counting any oil changing or washing/waxing duties. Once you realize they are not like owning a car or house and accept their standard of quality then you will tend to be much happier using/owning one. Heck, there are folks out there that constantly shop and evaluate tons of RV's but never really find that perfect high quality unit. Their expectations are too high and they will never find what they perceive as the "perfect" RV. They won't find it because it is not out there.
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Old 05-23-2017, 02:12 PM   #40
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🎯 on target sir!
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