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Old 07-17-2016, 06:25 AM   #169
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Price increases might be acceptable to you. If you look at the whole retail business the mantra is that it is not. Marketing has convinced the general shopper that everything is the deal so most folks only look at how much they saved or how low a price they paid. That is a key to why jobs go to China to save pennies per unit but with worse quality. It is why we get $100 pants marked down 50% then with a BOGO store coupon so two pair cost $25 ea. That's if there is not another discount to be had on that. This is the mentality of the average shopper going shopping for a motor home. What is the best deal, how much can you knock off for me. Dealers are building in the knock off.

That is also what is behind the deal with warranty repairs. The average buyer will see fewer flaws than a good inspector. If the customer does not care then why fix it? Saves a lot of money for the dealer.

It's the world we currently live in. Until the people convince the marketing and purchasing folks that the customer thinks differently we will be stuck with it. It is also why small boutique vendors get much more money for doing the job right. There are some of us out here who will pay for it. The rest won't. Ask Thor or Forest River.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:35 AM   #170
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You don't need craftsmen to build RVs well, you need line workers who do a competent job. And seeing that they do a competent job (which is often as simple as <allowing> them to do a competent job) is management's task.

I've no doubt slowing production down to allow workers time to do things right and doing stringent QC would add to the cost. But on the other hand a revamping of a plant's system to allow better quality could lead to higher overall efficiency and this lower costs. I think these Hoosiers need to rethink things; I wonder if they're caught up in a kind of incestuous group think up there in their little corner of Indiana.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:53 AM   #171
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1, You get what you pay for.

2, You are making a big mistake comparing the RV industry to the Automotive industry it is more like the Marine industry.

I have done both boating from a 10ft kayak to a 46ft motor yacht and camping from a tent to my current 5er. Boats have there low cost junk and low cost good deal. And all will at times have a lemon. You don't hear about the ones that don't have a problem. Dose the RV industry need improvement yes . Keep posting the bad things and don't buy the junk it will thin it self out eventually I hope.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:02 AM   #172
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You don't need craftsmen to build RVs well, you need line workers who do a competent job. And seeing that they do a competent job (which is often as simple as <allowing> them to do a competent job) is management's task.

I've no doubt slowing production down to allow workers time to do things right and doing stringent QC would add to the cost. But on the other hand a revamping of a plant's system to allow better quality could lead to higher overall efficiency and this lower costs. I think these Hoosiers need to rethink things; I wonder if they're caught up in a kind of incestuous group think up there in their little corner of Indiana.
It's way bigger than that. I am mostly a casual observer of why things are done as they are. That said the idea that workers must be closely supervised to do their job goes back to the early days at GM and probably most of the auto industry. That was copied by much of the rest of assembly line manufacturing. The problem today is the supervisors often are hired to be supervisors but have little understanding of the jobs the workers subordinate to them do. That leaves them unable to train their workers and often easy to bamboozle if the work is at all technical. There has been a resurgence or rebirth of that with the automated supervisors used in places like call centers and checkout lines where the worker is constantly tracked. Makes me glad I am out of the work force as the effects are creeping upward.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:19 PM   #173
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If Mercedes were to market a $100,000 car with as many defects as our RV's, how long would Mercedes be in business? Buyers of high dollar cars expect perfection in that price range.
This put a smile on my face. Our son-in-law (in a much different financial category as us) bought a Mercedes AMG in March. He's had nothing but problems with it. The major one is he turns the key and it instantly revs to 4000rpm occasionally. The dealer has been in constant communication to Germany. It's been in the shop for three weeks and he's given loaners. Thursday he was notified that he will get a buy back as a Lemon Law. Son-in-law is furious that this could happen to a Mercedes.
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Old 07-17-2016, 02:03 PM   #174
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I wouldn't say a Hyundai buyer expects the same quality as a Rolls Royce as I've never met a Hyundai owner who expects that plastic dash to actually be made of hand polished wood.

What the Hyundai and Rolls Royce owners have in common is that each expects the car to be delivered without defects and not have to return to the dealership with a long punch list within a month or two after purchase. Also, neither expects to wait months for a service appointment or long waits for parts. That's what's called reasonable expectations.
And neither the Hyundai or the Rolls Royce owner expects the first question from the service advisor to be "did you buy it here?" RVs by definition are made for traveling, so when they break down it's not likely to happen next door to the dealer you bought it from.

The manufacturers need to step up and pay their dealers a fair and reasonable labor rate for a fair and reasonable time allowance. I know from many years in the auto service business that savvy car dealers welcome warranty work from their competitors' buyers because they know they're going to get paid for the work and it gives them an opportunity to favorably impress a customer who is certain to buy another vehicle at some point.

Happy trails,
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Old 07-17-2016, 02:09 PM   #175
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And neither the Hyundai or the Rolls Royce owner expects the first question from the service advisor to be "did you buy it here?" RVs by definition are made for traveling, so when they break down it's not likely to happen next door to the dealer you bought it from.

The manufacturers need to step up and pay their dealers a fair and reasonable labor rate for a fair and reasonable time allowance. I know from many years in the auto service business that savvy car dealers welcome warranty work from their competitors' buyers because they know they're going to get paid for the work and it gives them an opportunity to favorably impress a customer who is certain to buy another vehicle at some point.

Happy trails,
Bill

Called the local Ford truck dealer to get my MH recall done. First thing he said was "did you buy it here, no you couldn't have".

FWIW - not a personal attack but an interesting question - I wonder how many folks who think they can buy one place and get it fixed another would welcome warranty work that was compensated at a lower rate than their customary one in their business.
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:30 PM   #176
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Called the local Ford truck dealer to get my MH recall done. First thing he said was "did you buy it here, no you couldn't have".

FWIW - not a personal attack but an interesting question - I wonder how many folks who think they can buy one place and get it fixed another would welcome warranty work that was compensated at a lower rate than their customary one in their business.
Even in the auto industry warranty work is always paid out at a lesser rate. The difference being it still gets paid. In the automotive industry "customer pay" rates are usually 1.4x warranty rates. I never minded warranty work so long as I had customer pay works to help balance it out. I've never worked anywhere where anyone cared if you bought the vehicle from us or not.
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:57 PM   #177
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Seems to me the RV industry is in the same mess as the auto industry was in the 70's and 80's when they were turning out a lot of junk. Once management learned how to do quality control things got much, much better.

Regarding speed of assembly and quality: we toured the final assembly portion of the Ford F-150 plant in Dearborn last month and was stunned by the very slow pace of the assembly line. It moved at a snail's pace and still turns out a large number of trucks. Doesn't seem too much to ask of the RV industry to slow things down and turn out a better made product.
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:18 PM   #178
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Even in the auto industry warranty work is always paid out at a lesser rate. The difference being it still gets paid. In the automotive industry "customer pay" rates are usually 1.4x warranty rates. I never minded warranty work so long as I had customer pay works to help balance it out. I've never worked anywhere where anyone cared if you bought the vehicle from us or not.
Not trying to hijack the thread but I think you will get a kick out of my experience. I also asked about an oil change and he quoted me a week or more wait. OTOH when I took the camper down at 7 in the morning there were 3 others there. Stopped at the service desk to leave the keys and he said I could get breakfast and come back and it would be done. Evidently he sent a tech out with the programming tool and just did the reprogram on a bunch of them in the parking lot. There were 4 more in line when I got back. ;-) I don't think he lost much if anything on that deal.
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Old 07-19-2016, 11:38 AM   #179
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Even in the auto industry warranty work is always paid out at a lesser rate. The difference being it still gets paid. In the automotive industry "customer pay" rates are usually 1.4x warranty rates. I never minded warranty work so long as I had customer pay works to help balance it out. I've never worked anywhere where anyone cared if you bought the vehicle from us or not.
Warranty work in the auto industry is not usually paid at a significantly lower hourly labor rate than the dealer's retail rate. That was the case years ago, though. Dealers today are usually reimbursed at or near their retail hourly rate.

Where the manufacturers do pinch the dealers is in labor times. They do not pay the retail flat rate time to perform a given labor operation. Parts are typically reimbursed at dealer cost +20%, lower than retail.

So, auto dealers do make a profit on warranty work, just not as much as they make on retail work.

Happy trails,
Bill
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:13 PM   #180
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All the comparisons to the auto industry, foreign cars, etc. is a mental exercise, but really not relevant. Cars and trucks are made by a manufacturer with parts they buy in such quantity they can dictate the specifications. RVs are made with pieces from a variety of different companies and the RV builder has few options to choose from and no power to have anything customized for their use.

Because of the size of the unit and distances involved, our RV companies face little to no competition from off shore manufacturers. No one will build an RV in Japan, China, India, etc. and ship it to the U.S.

As to the thread's title, "Is this the needed wakeup call for the motorhome industry," I don't believe we're even close. As long as RV manufacturer's make money, they're snoozing, not waking up. If things start to get tight or difficult, they sell out to someone else, retire to count their money on the sale of their 'line' and start a new RV line with another name.

Many even follow the example of some business people and borrow money, leverage it to the limit, then declare bankruptcy and end up with well padded pockets.

With all this turn over in well known names, I see little indication that there is any more attention to quality control, worker pride in their products, or even good follow through on warranty repair. When we do see good customer care, it's offset by hundreds of others that can't get the most basic things repaired.
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:35 PM   #181
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Warranty work in the auto industry is not usually paid at a significantly lower hourly labor rate than the dealer's retail rate. That was the case years ago, though. Dealers today are usually reimbursed at or near their retail hourly rate.

Where the manufacturers do pinch the dealers is in labor times. They do not pay the retail flat rate time to perform a given labor operation. Parts are typically reimbursed at dealer cost +20%, lower than retail.

So, auto dealers do make a profit on warranty work, just not as much as they make on retail work.

Happy trails,
Bill
Customer "book time" is figured by multiplying warranty by 1.4. I've worked in enough dealers to be familiar with it. Even in the aftermarket there are separate rates for the "warranty" companies. In my shop we were an authorized service center for a couple of different aftermarket warranty companies. They often paid us by the "retail" book time but at a reduced labor rate, which worked out about the same as if they had been paying the O.E. warranty labor times at the standard labor rate. Since it brought in customers who otherwise would have never heard of us and we weren't losing money on the deal; we considered it worthwhile overall.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:50 PM   #182
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Bought a new F150 recently. (XLT trim to keep the $cost down. These days the XLT trim has luxuries that only came with the much higher spec trims of yesteryear)

Paid $32,500
(MSRP means nothing here in Texas. "Sticker" was $47K)

Bought a new TT a few days later. Completely impromptu. MSRP $32K
Paid $26K (same game I guess. Have no clue if I even got a "good deal")

Been living in it for 45 days.

I see what folks are complaining about as far as attention to detail and cheap materials for some things. But honestly, I am still amazed that this fully equipped tiny-house, with all the luxuries of modern life, costs LESS than an F150 XLT?

No doubt this thing could be built with far more expensive components, but again, it's an amazing value in my mind.

I admit that it would be a far better product if it was built by carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. But that'd likely increase the cost from less than my cheap truck to more than 2 of them.


edit: by the way, no punch list. The PDI was amazing. That WAS a punch list. Even nit-picky. But I didn't make the list. The dealer did. I was rather impressed. Didn't know until later that it isn't the industry norm.
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