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Old 05-25-2007, 02:34 AM   #15
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I've been following ALL of the subjects on this forum and have seen replies by many apparently wonderful people. Also a few very disgruntled Alpine Owners.

Does Alpine ever look at the posts and have any idea what damage is being done them by their apparent lack of interest?

I sent them an e-mail asking for a bit of history on the 1999 I just bought and have yet to receive a response. No Hello, Welcome, How are you, get lost, kiss my a**.

Having been in industry for many years and enjoying extremely good customer relations, I can say with certainty they are missing a wonderful opportunity. Many times a person having problems can be turned into an extremely loyal customer and source of additional business through recommendation when they are treated as the only person in the world. Quite the opposite is true as well. When a person is ignored they most often become a member of the Nay-saying crowd.

Good business dictates that a company stay in touch with their customers and keep their fingers on the pulse of an owner's community. Failure to do so is tantamount to saying "I got your money now go away". Is that what we are experiencing?
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Old 05-25-2007, 06:35 AM   #16
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Engineer Mike, thank you for the vivid explanation. It is know very clear to me.
I believe I will keep the secret for longevity of age at this time.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:37 AM   #17
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I have to add my comments - We just purchased a 1998 Alpine -- I called WRV service to check on getting something fixed - (senior moment - don't remember what) had to leave a voice message. Mark was very quick in returning my call and suggested I call back with my vin # to get an update on what all the recalls were. I called the next day, went into voice mail again and once again, Mark called back in a very timely manner - I found that the coach has had all the recalls taken care of --- if the return calls are any indication - it seems that Service is trying to do a good job. This weekend will be our shakedown to a pretty local campground. I will check back next week with the results.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:48 AM   #18
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That is good news.

BTW, Mark replied to my e-mail apologizing for the delay. So, all is well on that front.

Mark informed me there is no record of the fuse issue being remedied. Consequently, I will check that as soon as I am able.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:00 PM   #19
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rmmpe,

Regarding the folks at WRV monitoring this site, I suspect they do. Certainly some of their Dealers do. Over the last several months, postes seem to show that WRV is working on customer service. Clearly QC is the next area they need to work on.

I have a neighbor that works for Boeing, as a QC inspector. When a task is completed, it is inspected. If it is not right, it is redone. If WRV were to add a QC program whereby all coach work was reviewed to be sure it was done right (before the coach leaves the factory), they just might be able to overtake that other Northwest luxury motorhome builder.
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Old 05-26-2007, 03:35 AM   #20
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Mike at WRV responded to my post so I am now confident WRV stays on top of these forums.
That's a good thing and I'm a lot happier for it.

Regarding Quality control; I am no stranger to QA activities and believe WRV could subscribe to a program more akin to what the "Big 3" use rather than the Boeing program. A stripped-down, inexpensive version of Ford's Q1 program would suffice nicely. Also, having spent over 40 years in the Engineering/Manufacturing/Operations/Quality arenas, quality starts on the floor when each component is handled for the 1st time. General rules apply here and every Assembly person is provided documented procedures and charged with the responsibility for each operation, including in-process inspection.
The old saw "You can't inspect quality into a product" applies completely. Quality is an ongoing responsibility that is shared by all in manufacturing.

Considering Ford, Chrysler and GM produce between 50 and 65 "Jobs per Hour" on their assembly lines, the actual modality of failure is pretty low; Ford being the better of the 3.

If we consider a company like Toyota, who uses Kan-Ban and Statistical Process Control approaches together, quality is even better. And, they don't use an "Incoming Inspection" activity. All participants in the manufacturing process are responsible for the "First through last" activity(ies).

I know this is longer than some would like but it is to emphasize that quality does not cost; it pays. And, if implemented properly and on the appropriate scale, the "Cost to Benefit" ratio is well justified. In some cases, incredible.

Unfortunately, many geographical locations in this country do not have Employees bringing these skills to the workplace. The Employer must 1st make the committment to support the QA functions required and instill them into the Employee, who, for the most part, will absorb them like a sponge.

The subject of Quality is extensive and good sense and dictates that I not belabor it here. So, I will not continue this Philosophical monologue. Sorry for belaboring the points. It's just something I'm a bit passionate about.
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:12 AM   #21
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Bob.....Great "post" I hope WRV takes note!!!!
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:57 AM   #22
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Thank you.

I've spent a great deal of my life working with various products, from Automotive to Aerospace. As I was most often responsible for Customer Service Engineering, Manufacturing, QA and Warranty Claims at the same time, I was close enough to the problems to realize that if an OEM organization takes pains to start with quality components out of the gate, they are sure to be in a position to produce a quality end-product.

From what I've seen in/on the Alpine Coach I bought, it is apparent to me they got that right.

Consequently, the problems and questions appearing on these forums indicate to me the breakdown is in the manufacture of the final product. This is no easy task and if the skill-set is not readily available to establish the least cost/most effective procedures, the end product is compromised. Unfortunately, manufacturing in an area not near a major manufacturing mecca breeds these issues. It is no-one's fault. It's just the way it is. Any person, such as myself, that has and does consult for companies requiring this asistance can tell you that.

It has been my experience that a company building a high-end product really does care about what they produce and employs the best people they can get. And they are aware of the pitfalls that plague their business and compromises their reputation. It's not always money alone that restricts their ability.

Then, there's the issue with the population of people who are qualified for the task and can guide a company to the best business model for the consumer base.

I'll stop myself here because I have a tendency to go on about things I am passionate about.

As an aside, the only thing on my Coach I would consider less than good and incongruous with a unit such as we have is the stupid little toggle switch controlling the heated mirrors. However, in all fairness, I bought my unit used and cannot say for certain it was an OEM component.

But if it was OEM, someone fell asleep at the switch or was not aware of how a wart looks on the nose of an otherwise beautiful woman's face.
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:10 AM   #23
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You all know that I am often in contact with Ron and Burk at WRV due to our involvement in the Focus Group, as well as ACA and SoCal. I can assure you all that both Ron and Burk read what you post here on IRV2 every day if they are in town and often while on the road. They are very interested in what you have to say, and I believe they are commited to delivering a quality product to all of us.

Having said all of that, the challenges they face are stated very well by Bob, in the difficulty of finding and attracting people in the Yakima area with really good skills for all of the various components of a motorhome.

We are still planning a Focus Group session at the August rally in Newport, so please continue posting your suggestions for product enhancements/adjustments.

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:37 AM   #24
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Thank you John.

What a lot of folks have difficulty comprehending is that, as compared to an Automobile, a quality Coach is understandably more difficult to assemble properly. With the myriad components and systems comprising a large high-end vehicle, much care must be given the design and structure. The extras not seen in an automobile just compound the process.

This is not to say that problems and/or failures are excusable; just that they will occur. Regardless of the care given in the final assembly process, component failures will only reveal themselves while in use or called upon to function.

So far, I've heard about brake pressure issues, fuse problems, refridgerator failures, etc. What I've not heard of are serious accidents resulting from poor design or careless assembly, which I believe to be the most critical of functions.

WRV, like any manufacturer, operates in a "Scale of Volume" environment. As they don't produce vehicles in large numbers, they cannot obtain large discounts. Obviously, this affects the consumer base in direct proportion.

On the up-side of all tis is my only contact with WRV regarding the vehicle's history and their answering questions relative to problems experienced by those on this forum. WRV has responded and, as often happens, I looked beyond the simple answer to the query and considered how the answer was presented. To this I say Mark's response was proper and somewhat generous. This demonstrates a desire to do more than simply respond and extends into the realm of true courtesy to a person just buying a Coach that is 8 years out of print.

I find that commendable.

OOOPS! There I go again.
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Old 05-26-2007, 02:32 PM   #25
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Bob,

Regarding that toggle switch, it is OEM!

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Old 05-27-2007, 02:50 AM   #26
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Jeff,
Thanks.

That switch is totally out of character with the rest of the Coach..........
and it will be immediately replaced by a rocker switch identical to the others (I already bought it at my Marina).

I guess now I'll have to look really, really hard to see if Salma Hayak has a wart on her nose.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:06 PM   #27
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I have been off line for several days because I am using a cell phone system for internet which has not worked from several small towers in eastern Oregon. We arrived at WRV last night.

So far, things are going well, and I will post what the final results are on some of our issues (some appear to be owner ignorance).

To Lindsay, thanks for your post. We already had Guaranty on our list of "sites to see" in the Northwest. We will be calling you in a day or so to hopefully schedule a paint job for a basement panel we are having replaced. WRV doesn't have anybody trained yet in service for paint jobs.

You are right Lindsay. I believe our PDI was nonexistant. We had issues as soon as we drove off the lot that should not have happened. Also, we had about a 30 min. walk-thru. Some simple questions I asked were answered with "Look it up in the manual."

Yes, WRV has people who look at the posts. I have known that for months. I do believe they are trying.

Will post more later as we continue here.

Beverly and Buddy
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:23 AM   #28
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We bought an 05 Alpine Coach Avalanche.
I have re-named this model.
Its now called "Avalanche of Problems".
We have had so many problems that I have had to keep an excel spread sheet to keep track of the repairs. We are currently working through a problem with the gas tank that has the fuel gage fluctuating and beeping with every bump.
WRV has committed to replace the Gas Tank for free. They still insist I pay the $800 labor to replace the tank. The irony is they replaced these in an acknowledged design flaw for original owners under warranty. My coach would still be under warranty had I been original owner.
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