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Old 01-13-2010, 07:31 AM   #1
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quality control and warranty-related or not?

I've found the discussion about the new quality control and the reduction in warranty an interesting one. IMHO, these two items are impossible to seperate one from the other.

For many the average consumer, the warranty offered is the one tangible piece of evidence regarding what the company believes about their product--ie: "we are so confident we provide x amount of worry free ownership". This is especially true on big ticket items. And it is circular-when the manufacturer backs their product for a specific amount of time, problems that occur during that time tend to be evaluated in an attempt to fix recurring problems that cost the manufacturer money.

I believe there has been quite a volume of research by the auto companys suggesting that the warranty on new vehicles (or for that matter "pre-owned" vehicles now) is a major selling point. Thus after the auto industry began to dump to foreign manufactures, due to quality control issues, one of their returns includes much longer warrantys in many cases. I guess another way of looking at it is, this is the one area where the average consumer can see them putting "their money where there mouth is". Thus, while I am really glad to hear about the QC program at Excel, I do believe that reducing and complicating the warranty at the same time, goes the opposite direction at best.

It also makes it much more difficult for people like us who either FT or have the closest dealer hundreds of miles away. In a different post on the new warranty thread, Brian had this to say.

"You are both right. Yes, the new warranty states that componant parts are covered by their seperate manufacturer's warranties. I didn't consider those of you who don't have an Excel dealer close by, or who's dealer may no longer be in business.

If a particular componant is only covered by a 1 year warranty, then that's what you get on that componant. My point was that for most, (who have a local dealer) that DURING the warranty period of a particular item, your dealer will be more than happy to go to bat for you and get that componant replaced.

For those of you who travel extensively, then yes, you will have to deal with the componant manufacturer.

I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I jumped in and muddy'ed up the waters a bit and I apologize for that.

Bryan"


I actually thought that Excel owners did tend to be people who traveled extensively or FT'd, at least more than the average fifth wheel owner. I really don't know this as a fact. But I do know that needing to deal with multiple manufacturers when I have a problem, depending on how long their warranty was, is more than I want to think about.

I want Excel to survive and thrive. I continue to believe it can be a quality unit. I don't know what the savings are by reducing and changing the warranty. But I sincerely believe this can be "penny wise and pound foolish" in the long run. Someone on one of the other threads on this issue indicated their dealer was unable to even explain the new warranty. Thats a little disconcerting.

I don't know what all the various warrantys out there on fifths are. I know New Horizons and Carriage for example, still have maintained their full, two year, bumper to hitch. I sincerely hope this change is closely evaluated by PI. The more difficult part will be getting a true picture of how much the warranty issue is a selling point. Although I suspect that the way warrantys become a front and center advertising point gives some guidance.

Sorry for the length. I don't have a dog in this fight currently as my rig is under the 2 year bumper to hitch. But I so strongly feel the QC changes and warranty changes send mixed messages that I needed to get this off my chest.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:33 AM   #2
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Actually, I believe you do have a dog in the fight as you onn an Excel. I've come to understand that manufacturing and assembly are two different animals. Most auto companies are assemblers and for most of us, our easiest to "touch" product with a warranty that could swing a decision for or against a purchase. RV manufacturers do some of both - manufacturer and assemble. There's also two ways to ensure quality: inspect in or build in. So if an auto manufacturer hasn't ensured a "build in" approach, there's tremendous amount of testing along the assembly line and inspection after the auto rolls off that assembly line. If you're ever in Kentucky, visit GM's corvette plant, then visit Toyota's assembly plant. Note the amount of inspections during the assembly process.

Based on Joe's comments, PI is moving to a "build in" approach. I've always thought "build in" quality was a better approach. But some of it will still remain an "inspect in" approach: the convection microwave, for example. However, for most RV manufacturers, it's all "inspect in" approach. Consequently, that's why we're told to ensure we do a thorough PDI before delivery.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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I think I am going to step in it big time on this one.

Many companies have shifted the burden to the employees or consumers in this age. I work for a major company and most of my HR and medical payment issues are handled by me. Do I like it, not normally, but I understand the company needs to do this to make money and continue to pay me. Not sure if it is cost efficient but it is what they are doing.

In the past, if your Atwood hot water heater failed after one year PI took it upon themselves to act as your liaison to Atwood. They made the calls; they acted on your behalf to get the problem fixed. They probably got another sent to them and installed it free because it made good customer sense back then.

In doing so they probably spent an enormous amount of time communicating with Atwood about each and every problem that Atwood caused. Atwood felt some pain but not as much as PI who did not create the problem. All that has happened is the burden is shifting to each one of us to talk with Atwood directly. Inconvenient, yes.

Times have changed and companies are operating in a different economy than what they did a few years ago. Companies have laid off workers, Wall Street has made it harder for us to get credit to buy new rigs so the sales are slowing down. With reduced sales and reduced staff companies needed to change their business model to survive in the new economy. It will be forever changed.

PI could jack the price up a few thousand to several thousands and take on the role of liaison again. But that business model doesn’t make sense right now. These are not necessities they are luxuries and people will be slow coming back to party.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:53 AM   #4
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I see this both ways. I'll give you my experience as an example.

Shortly after taking delivery on my new 33RSE, my television and my microwave failed. PI could not have known about these problems. But they gave me a credit check on the TV, and the dealer replaced the microwave. Cost to PI - significant.

Three of my LR double pane windows leaked immediately. PI should have found this problem at the factory by leak testing them at installation. Cost me two trips to a distant dealer and a lot of inconvenience. Cost PI shipping for the two windows and installation by the dealer. Which helps to motivate them to improve QC, as they are now.

Thus, one can see short term costs and long term benefits for standing behind your product. As well as previously mentioned marketing advantage. Little doubt in my mind, and apparently Bryan's mind, that QC pays off. A long warranty represents that commitment to quality.
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