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Old 08-31-2016, 08:07 PM   #1
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Thor CEO on Mad Money

After watching this video, I have a better understanding as to why Thor may have a difficult time following up on quality-related repairs. I was actually surprised of how the company is structured. Or more accurately lack of centralized structure.

https://youtu.be/J58bSvQpgKE
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Old 09-01-2016, 01:52 AM   #2
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Do not mean to challenge, however each individual "line" or name is more than large enough to have a sufficient quality assurance aspect, if they have decided not to, that is a concious decision ... But I am not sure that trying to centralize quality control at a Thor level ... Would make things better.

Jim
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Old 09-01-2016, 02:53 AM   #3
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Jim, you have a valid point.

When I thought of Thor, I was thinking in terms of the largest RV manufacturer with the resources that come from size; like a centralized engineering department that can tackle major design issues, or innovate at a higher level.

However, if it's more like a bunch of much smaller (competing) companies that happen to be managed by less than 50 people, who exactly handles warranty issues? And do individual lines have the technical expertise in all disciplines to prevent problems before they reach production?

From my observations, it appears that many reported quality issues begin with bad designs. And much of that should be avoidable.

Granted, we really don't know how decentralized these companies really are, and how much of what the CEO says is for show.
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Old 09-01-2016, 03:42 PM   #4
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Interesting that he sees long terms customers as a key to the future, yet quality or customer service doesn't seem to be something they strive for. I have a 2015 Hurricane and if I am fortunate enough to buy another coach one day, it won't be a Thor brand. I've had ours for over a year now and still dealing with issues that should have been taken care of at the factory and in most cases they are problems everybody else is having.
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Old 09-01-2016, 04:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by brucev View Post
Interesting that he sees long terms customers as a key to the future, yet quality or customer service doesn't seem to be something they strive for. I have a 2015 Hurricane and if I am fortunate enough to buy another coach one day, it won't be a Thor brand. I've had ours for over a year now and still dealing with issues that should have been taken care of at the factory and in most cases they are problems everybody else is having.
ha..... I'm thinking long term to them means people that want to participate in RVing.
Folks like us.
and if they keep buying up all the brands.....
.... then if WE want to buy another RV to replace our aging ones, we have little choice but to buy a Thor!
instant locked in long term repeat customers
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:13 PM   #6
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On related subject ....

Not exactly sure what they mean by "engineered space", but it's interesting that some US manufacturers think they can learn from Europeans who are forced to be more efficient due to size and weight limitations.

"Likewise, many U.S.- and Canadian-based manufacturers sent representatives to the venue to gauge the European product, which due to size and weight limitations feature a high caliber of engineered space and fit-and-finish"

SLIDESHOW: Caravan Salon Attracts Huge Crowd | RV Business


Sounds promising, including the fit-and-finish part, provided it doesn't drive cost much higher, which Americans probably won't pay. Regardless, I'd be interested in knowing if European owners have as many design quality issues, and whether it takes as long to get them corrected.


It seems to me that American RVs don't have as much engineering (or detail design and testing) as they should during development. Whether it's windshields that crack, house batteries that don't hold a charge, chassis batteries that can't be easily replaced, oil fill that are hard to access, furnace electronics that get wet, valves hidden behind panels, slide drives that can't handle weight, chassis that handle poorly, etc... it seems these "quality" issues are just bad designs. Or no design at all and a product of being an afterthought.

As long as they are making huge profits I guess their business plan is working for now. Personally I find it discouraging.
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Old 09-02-2016, 01:50 AM   #7
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Hello chance, totally agree about engineering, must be an efficiency to find here by centralizing.

Ji
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:17 AM   #8
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As long as North American's continue to buy a mediocre product and companies like Thor are able to appease their shareholders, then a business they will run. They expect a certain volume of lash back from dissatisfied customers and have people in place to front end that process. Cost of doing business.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by schreinertms View Post
As long as North American's continue to buy a mediocre product and companies like Thor are able to appease their shareholders, then a business they will run. They expect a certain volume of lash back from dissatisfied customers and have people in place to front end that process. Cost of doing business.
Remember when GM, Chrysler and Ford made "junk" during the 70's? Along came Toyota and quality increased over the years and today most all autos are high quality compared to the 1970's. One day a manufacturer will come along that puts quality in their RV construction as a priority and you will see quality for all manufacturers get better...I hope that occurs sooner than later. Jayco comes with a two year warranty...Thor is 1 year. Thor has purchased Jayco... the question is what will happen to Jayco quality and their warranty. Time will tell.
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Old 09-02-2016, 02:44 PM   #10
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Yes it certainly is an interesting game of opposing business models.

Currently, it seems to me, their profit margin is probably big up front.... relatively cheap to build but poor quality..... but that margin gets eroded on the warranty repair thing, which is mitigated somewhat by the choke point of working through the slow process..... and some of this erosion transfers profits after the fact to the dealership repair network to keep them alive.

Meanwhile, the model most of us would probably prefer is perhaps a somewhat smaller margin for the manufacturer up front, even if it means slightly higher prices, to get better design and quality. BUT, this would result in less going to the dealership network after the fact by the way of repairs.

It really just seems like two ways to play the same game.... but in my thinking one of them feels much more ethically sound than the other.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:27 PM   #11
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I agree that trying to keep costs down affects quality. How can it not?

Price pressure is probably very high, which may cause them to make decisions at times that affect quality. Even if incrementally.

As an example, I was looking through Ford's E-Series build and price information to see what options are available for 2017, and saw that selecting the Cutaway chassis with 176-inch wheelbase adds considerable cost over those with 158-inch wheelbase. I think it was in $500 range, which over many units adds up.

I had been curious why there were so many smaller Class Cs with 158-inch wheelbase (from various companies) with very long rear overhangs, when the 176-inch wheelbase would seem to make it more balanced and stable. Could chassis cost difference influence design/engineering? Obviously, there is longer turning radius and all that too, but why go from 158-inch wheelbase up to stretching frame with so few in the middle?


As a point of reference for comparison, Mercedes Sprinters which are often shorter are built on 170-inch wheelbase, so using a Ford 176-inch on a longer motorhome doesn't seem out of place to me.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:30 PM   #12
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Hey Gang,

Guess I got lucky in finding the right thread. I have a 2015 MIrimar 34.2 and it is 5 months out of OEM Warranty (I have an extended). For S&G's, I sent an email over the weekend to Thor customer service asking for someone in a managerial position to contact me to express my concerns.

Issues, Schwintec...slide and bunk, windows losing seal and fogging up, 3 televisions which don't work on cable (or at least Direct TV park broadcast), alignment of super slide and leaking during drive time rain storms, just to name a few.

I received an email back from the warranty department saying "Upon further research, I see that your Coach is 5 months out of warranty". That's it, nothing to address the issues, or empathy at all. Its amazing.

Thor is one of the largest manufacturers of not only motorhomes, but RV's in general. I can tell you, it is not from its exemplary product or customer service, but through acquisition, plain and simple. My last 5th wheel TH from Keystone, they replaced 5 year old decal package on the whole coach from defective quality vinyl. Way out of warranty. They must care about their brand in Fuzion.

Venting yes, but this also will be my last Thor product. I am in sales, and well sell a product and service after the sale. I'd hate to see how my customers would react if I treated them like this.

So, soon, we plan on upgrading to a diesel pusher, so does anyone have any recommendations on a quality product which I may look into. Know all about Tiffin, and their quility customer service and control. How about Fleetwood, Entegra, Newmar, etc...?

Thanks all and sorry for the rant.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:36 AM   #13
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If possible, next time it will be a Tiffin for us. Much higher customer satisfaction when you read the forums.
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Old 09-08-2016, 03:30 AM   #14
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Plan a trip up to Red Bay, AL and tour the Tiffin factory. Call ahead and make sure they have a spot for your RV. While you are there, talk to some of the owners who are waiting for service. We were shocked by the number of high end coaches doing the waiting game.
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Old 09-08-2016, 03:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by trkworm2 View Post

....cut....

Issues, Schwintec...slide and bunk, windows losing seal and fogging up, 3 televisions which don't work on cable (or at least Direct TV park broadcast), alignment of super slide and leaking during drive time rain storms, just to name a few.

....cut....
The easiest way to avoid these issues in my opinion is to eliminate content, or reduce quantity of content in favor of greater quality for the same price.

However, I honestly think manufacturers wouldn't stay in business in US if they reduced content to improve unit quality and reduce problems requiring repairs.





By the way, regarding my post above as to why manufacturers seem eager to cut an E-Series short chassis in half and then weld it back (along with other required modifications) to make it longer, I saw on the Ford site that they offer a discount of $2,075 for the 158-inch wheelbase Motorhome Package. That's got to influence design, and not necessarily for the better.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:24 AM   #16
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Plan a trip up to Red Bay, AL and tour the Tiffin factory. Call ahead and make sure they have a spot for your RV. While you are there, talk to some of the owners who are waiting for service. We were shocked by the number of high end coaches doing the waiting game.
Name me a better coach for the money....
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:04 AM   #17
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So, soon, we plan on upgrading to a diesel pusher, so does anyone have any recommendations on a quality product which I may look into. Know all about Tiffin, and their quility customer service and control. How about Fleetwood, Entegra, Newmar, etc...?



Thanks all and sorry for the rant.


Be careful of what you wish for. Visit the Tiffin owners forum. They also break.

But, when they break it's something far more spendy and/or detailed, and usually requires a visit directly back to the factory for warranty repair.

You will be in line with everyone else waiting for their new Tiffin warranty repair. Sometimes for a week or more.

This is the same for Newmar, and every other top-end coach. These top-end coach manufacturers usually have their own RVPark close to the factory to accommodate warranty repair visitors! Welcome!
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