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Old 12-05-2006, 11:27 AM   #1
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I got to thinking about my posting in the topic "Your MH dealer". Please check my response. It would be best served as a new subject.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:27 AM   #2
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I got to thinking about my posting in the topic "Your MH dealer". Please check my response. It would be best served as a new subject.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:57 PM   #3
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Good Idea Lundy

Maybe someone might read this?
WRV produced some RVs with less than 1000 lb. CCC - this should have never happened.
If WRV is to compete in this feature driven industry = They MUST reengineer their chassis and employ new heavier axles. They already use Meritor axles - but only 13,000 capacity on front & 20 rear. Most other mfgs are using the Meritor 14,600s for front but only 20,000 rear.
WRV could produce a new concept in RV by using a
16,000 lb Front axle and 26,000 rear. This would eliminate going to tag axles with their problems and limitations.
Meritor Axles

This would allow WRV to produce Motorhomes with all the features anyone might want plus a 500 hp ISM and 200 gal fuel tank and capacity left over.

It appears that Tiffin is ahead in inovation with their LED lighting and large 17" screen GPS, computer and back cameras. Plus QUIET ACs and heaters!
But other featrues they offer are inferior and they won't produce a mid door diesel RV which is far more popular than producers believe.

The features won't matter if the chassis can't carry them.

Rick
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:31 AM   #4
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It's a great idea Lundy!

An organized customer feedback loop that generated substantive suggestions for improvements, which are integrated and implemented --with suficient testing to avoid new problems-- and contribute to Alpine's value and competitiveness among its peers, would be a wonderful thing.

Having made that statement, therein lies several challenges. I believe there are many exceptional people with diverse talents on this forum with the potential to make a difference. This is the closest owners forum to the "Trek" phenomenon I've ever seen. Thing about Trek forums is there's not much complaining about the "factory" because it's essentially gone and most of the dialogue is about support for the owners of older beloved coaches.

Harnessing that potential is one of the challenges. Diverse views can be valuable and at the same time inherently hard to focus. Some views are too focused and are blind to other realities that block their outcome. A group of "wish list" generators just won't cut it IMHO. The right decisions to spend (or save) money on changes/fixes/features/etc. that result in more profitable coach sales must be considered as WRV's perspective.

But, I've seen several ideas and observations emerge, which just make sense, should achieve consensus, deserve a slice of even a tightly controlled operating budget and assignment of valuable company resources as WRV restructures and re-charts their course.

Ron Doyle once told me he reads this forum 3 times a day. There's probably a lot of "read-only" factory presence. Can you blame them, who wants to be a virtual target? There have been rare instances of factory reps offering help, but I figure they're wary of staying and drawing the ire of complainants.

Forgive my rambling, I am driving towards a point, which is: the nature of this forum makes it difficult to have an effective "suggestion dialogue". As long as WRV approaches it as "read-only", communication is one way.

But, what if we had another forum focused on Alpine improvements with organized topics (chassis, AV, new features, etc.) and ground rules for restricted participation. No complaints, no specific coach agendas; only people solely interested in helping WRV succeed.

I know there is a traditional focus group, but can a virtual (forum) focus group with wider, organized and conveniently frequent participation by a dedicated owner's talent pool be more effective?

Forgive me, I don't mean this as a personal plug...

But, after 20 years with a Fortune 1000 company, as a CEO of one of their smaller subsidiaries, my greatest challenge wasn't surrounding myself with talented people, it was harnessing diverse talent towards a common goal and making sure it was the right goal.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:46 AM   #5
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We love our 04 36MDDS Alpine, which is our first Motorhome. One of the main reasons for purchasing it was the PEAK Chassis (ride and CCC's). We are looking to upgrade to a new 40 foot Alpine with Smart Beds and three slides. Our concern echo's Rick's post....the decreasing CCC's on the Apex and SE.

We are going to wait to see what Bob Lee and MMC bring to WRV. I am hoping that all the concerns and new ideas posted on this site will be addressed. WRV makes a good product....hopefully with this new change in ownership we will see innovative and needed upgrades to the coach.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:00 AM   #6
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quote:

"16,000 lb Front axle and 26,000 rear. This would eliminate going to tag axles with their problems and limitations."



20,000 lbs for single axle is max unless there is some excptions I haven't heard of. I would think that the 16,000 lb steer axle with larger steer tires would limit the wheel 'cut'.


http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/publ...ghts/index.htm
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:42 AM   #7
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One of the things that make the Peak chassis so good is the 40/60 weight ratio front to rear. With the max rear axle weight of 20,000, this makes the front axel limit 13,333. I love the ride so I vote to keep it that way.
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Old 12-06-2006, 01:31 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Daddy Louie:
One of the things that make the Peak chassis so good is the 40/60 weight ratio front to rear. With the max rear axle weight of 20,000, this makes the front axel limit 13,333. I love the ride so I vote to keep it that way. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I believe the 40/60 ratio is also governed by wheel base and wheel placement.

I have reservations about the Peak chassis after raising rear with jacks - the creaking noise in cabinets along with the mid door that jammed to the point of where it would not open!
This seems serious to me?!
Maybe someone at factory missed a few welds?!?!?

They must either increase capacities or reduce loads, like lighter appliances (not mega refrigerators) - LCDs and advanced electronics -
Using only one smart bed for most frequently accessed supplies - lighter and stronger furniture & walls - use of long life (20 year) linoleum instead of heavy tiles.
Swing forward/sideways bay doors to eliminate 'headaches'

Adding features ad infinitum does not make sense if it reduces what you can carry with you. With a CCC of less than 1000 lbs. you only have to carry 4-6 other people and no supplies to be overweight.

Is this creative input?
Rick
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:47 PM   #9
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Improvements recommended at WRV for Alpine Coaches:

Clearly, there need to be several viewpoints for suggestions, improvements or recommendations to the new owners and management of WRV:

1. First of all, from the WRV customer's viewpoint
2. From the WRV dealer's viewpoint and non-dealer repair facility's viewpoint
3. From the WRV owner's (Monomoy Capital Partners) viewpoint
4. From the WRV supplier's viewpoint
5. From the WRV employee's viewpoint

I suggest that this list is in approximate priority order. In some cases, there are likely to be conflicts between these viewpoints, but this approximate priority order should mostly determine the outcome of any conflict. Obviously, WRV cannot exist without a ready supply of reasonably happy customers willing to pay a reasonable price for the WRV product. However, WRV cannot satisfy every single customer whim or they would end up building an elephant designed by a committee. Thus, they would not be competitive, and they would not make a profit.

I suggest the following as a starting point for discussion of each of these viewpoints, although this is clearly not comprehensive or completely thought out:

1. WRV customer's viewpoint:
a. QUALITY of the shipped coach is number 1. Quality issues appear to be the most talked about issue at every rally and in this forum.
b. QUALITY of Customer Service at the WRV factory service center. Customer Service issues appear to be the next most discussed issue at every rally and in this forum. If the manufacturing build quality is much higher than it currently is, then Customer Service becomes less of an issue.
c. QUALITY of Customer Service from dealers and non-dealer repair facilities. These dealers and authorized non-dealer repair facilities need to be trained specifically with the Alpine Coach service. Also, these dealers and non-dealer repair facilities need to receive the utmost responsiveness directly from the WRV factory service center. These dealer and non-dealer repair issues are much discussed at the rallies and on this forum.
d. New features and capabilities that keep up with or exceed the industry market segment standards.
e. Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) of the coaches with the more advanced features and capabilities. For the sake of safety, no one should desire a coach that has barely minimal CCC. This issue needs to be addressed to entice more customers for the more advanced coaches that seem to have the least CCC.
f. Maintain and improve the features about Alpine Coach that most attracted existing customers. For example, the great driveability of the Peak Chassis, a very attractive appearing coach inside and out, very appealing floorplans, a very good feature set for this market segment and price, etc.

2. WRV dealer's viewpoint and non-dealer repair facility's viewpoint
a. Quality coach build
b. Quality customer service from WRV
c. Dealer technician training from WRV for servicing the Alpine Coach
d. Outstanding servicing support to the dealer and non-dealer repair facility from the factory service center
e. Features and capabilities that keep up with or exceed the industry market segment standards
f. Reasonable and competitive CCC
g. Maintain and improve the great features that have attracted customers in the past
h. Help the dealers with advertising and/or WRV must do its own national advertising
i. Allow dealers reasonable leeway in their own advertising with prices and discounts
j. Set MSRP and dealer cost at competitive market segment rates to allow a very competitive dealer profit margin

3. From the WRV owner's (Monomoy Capital Partners) viewpoint
a. Industry leader in customer trust
b. Industry leader in market share in their market segment
c. Company where successful people want to work
d. Profitability levels to finance the products their customers desire
e. Profitability levels to satisfy the owners and investors

4. WRV supplier's viewpoint
a. Inclusion in WRV product planning as early and as completely as possible
b. Honest and complete feedback on quality and feature issues
c. Commitment to vendors as long as they meet documented standards and requirements
d. Reasonable payment schedules

5. WRV employee's viewpoint
a. A great place to work
b. Competitive pay rates
c. Incentive pay for company profitability levels and build/service quality
d. Satisfaction in doing a great job in building a quality coach
e. Training to stay current with job skills

Although I am not qualified to speak authoritatively on any of these viewpoints, I do have personal, management experience for several of these viewpoints in the high tech industry of Silicon Valley.

Comments, corrections, disagreements, additions?

2006 Alpine Coach 36FDTS
(previously 2001 Alpine Coach 38FDDS)
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:02 AM   #10
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Lundy, I just read your initial posting from a few days ago on "Your MH Dealer". John & I are members of the Alpine Focus Group, and some of the items you mentioned have been discussed at our meetings, and others have not. Since the very first meeting we have discussed build and service quality and stressed to WRV that there should be no higher priority.

I have begun a new list for our next meeting, and will include items that I see here for our discussion. Ron and Burk attend all of these meetings, and they both read these postings, so are aware of all of your thoughts. Of course, the timing of our next meeting is unknown at this point, but I will track the suggestions I see here and ensure there is a discussion.

I will share with you all that the input received from owners by the Focus Group members have been thoroughly discussed with WRV management at previous meetings, with the result that WRV adopted many of our suggestions...thus the birth of APEX. Many of the smaller items were also incorporated into the Limited over the last 2 years. Some of our suggestions were declined, but we were always given good business reasons for that "no". As of our last meeting, there were still a few items under discussion.

Dale, for not a lot of thought, this is an excellent outline of an approach that should be valuable to WRV...IMHO.

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:03 PM   #11
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Dale,

very comprehensive! Can tell you're an IT person

Gail, thanks for the update
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Old 12-08-2006, 02:23 PM   #12
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I have a few degrees in mechanical engineering.I do not profess to be any form of an expert in motorhome chassis design, but I will say that the chassis offered from 34' to 40' is an excellent match. Possibly if they become longer or heavier weight loads some modification to the chassis will be necessary. Personally I would leave the chassis alone and go to another manuufacturers product for an upscale motor chassis with larger weight capacities. In my opinion trying to modify the Peak chassis as it is may not be the best option. This is all under the assumption that WRV does not want to re-design the existing chassis for more weight and length.
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Old 12-09-2006, 07:02 AM   #13
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I'm with you Ted.

Pushing the limits of the existing chassis seems to risk losing the edge of the chassis' performance (and loss of CCC), shifting the Alpine into the ranks of so many other over-loaded chassis platforms.

If this has happened, then it seems they lost their original chassis design "vision", in their words: a "bullet-proof" and "over-built" chassis.

If it's easily addressed with upgraded axles and no negative consequences or performance compromises, then maybe go for it.

But, contemplating chassis re-design to enter larger coach market segments (go big strategy) seems risky.

Sticking to their "backyard" and refining upon their current "coach size" market segment -- just competing for a larger market share -- should merit consideration.

It seems ALpine's simple (and less expensive chassis) is an economic "edge" that can be leveraged with "box" improvements, resulting in a high value/high performance coach, within their existing market segment.

Alpine is gaining recognition for their performance/handling distinction. It seems every prospective buyer is drawn to that distinction, but takes pause over other deficiencies.

Generally speaking, focusing on deficiencies and more "problem-free" innovations/features within their market segment, seems like good strategy.
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Old 12-09-2006, 08:13 AM   #14
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In a closed topic: Swansnest wrote:
"Rick - Where did the extra 6" come from?"

When I wrote about Olympic Queen Beds - I should have spelled it out better & this is also a suggestion about beds and placement.
Link about Olympic Queen Beds

An Olympic Queen Bed sleeps just like an King size bed (72"x80") only it is 6" narrower.

The best use of floor space is to have the head of an bed in a slideout = this makes the 80" length required sideways and adds space to the length of the bedroom by 20" for a regular queen - 14" for an Olympic Queen - 8" for a King. An opposing bedroom slideout will really open up the bedroom! The second slideout will allow at least access to the bed when your parking space is tight and you are only able to use one slideout.
We are also buying/paying for comfort and one of the <span class="ev_code_RED">PRIMARY</span> comforts is the BED!
If a manufacture produced RVs with only Olympic Queens Beds that slept like King beds - They should get peoples attention as an exceptional manufacturer selling comfort as well as bells & whistles /(loud horns )

Does this sound like a valid suggestion?
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