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Old 07-06-2016, 07:53 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by cb1000rider View Post
Crasher, I'd agree with you, but consumers should at least be given a choice or have transparency in what they're purchasing. Consider a "new" RV'er who purchases a brand new 5th wheel, price range $40-$65k (not including the tow vehicle):

* We're told that it will have a 1-3 year warranty. We're not told that in many cases warranty work is back of the line and repair times can easily exceed 30 days for a single issue. Have 3 issues, it's easy to see 90+ day repair time.

* We're told that the warranty is nationwide. Yet non-purchase dealers (in most cases) can chose not do to warranty work - or at least make sure that the consumer is persuaded not to bring it in. They choose not to do it because they're not paid appropriately for it by the manufacturer.

* Manufacturers (most states) are not held accountable for reasonable products - the lemon law does not apply to RVs in most cases. You can have an RV that is mostly unusable (new) for the majority of the 1st year and it's acceptable for the industry to spend most of that time repairing it.

* We hear experiences of consumers with 120+ days of shop time within the 1st year. Although I don't know how common this is and certainly some repairs are reasonable, there seems to be no real consumer recourse for egregious quality issues, outside of funding litigation against what is a bigger corporation with deeper pockets.

Provide me a quality vs cost option and I'll be responsible for my choice. Instead, if you ask for "better quality" a dealer sells you an RV made on the same line as a lower price one that has better cabinets and more bells and whistles.

Airstream and DRV - has quality gotten better since they were purchased?
Can't go by what you were "told". Up to the buyer to be aware and do research. If you go by what you are told when buying anything, you deserve what you get especially when sales people are involved

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Old 07-06-2016, 08:54 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by raineman View Post
Can't go by what you were "told". Up to the buyer to be aware and do research. If you go by what you are told when buying anything, you deserve what you get especially when sales people are involved

Totally agree. But there isn't exactly a consumer reports for RVs nor are independent and unbiased consumer-focused reviews available.

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Old 07-06-2016, 09:04 AM   #45
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Manufacturers are making exactly what the average consumer wants. I work at a large dealership and watch and listen. I don't work in sales. More often than not you hear things like how a unit has a big screen tv, 4 tv's, 4 or 5 slide outs, the cool changing color LED lights, outdoor kitchen, etc. It's more about the bling than quality. Oh yeah, and they want it at a very cheap price.

Heck, even on this forum when someone asks what they should be looking for in a unit it's the same old thing, floor plan, floor plan, floor plan. If we are so worried about quality shouldn't the first thing be quality of the unit? As mentioned earlier, people want it cheap, cheap, cheap.

Can't have it both ways.
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:38 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Brian W View Post
Heck, even on this forum when someone asks what they should be looking for in a unit it's the same old thing, floor plan, floor plan, floor plan. If we are so worried about quality shouldn't the first thing be quality of the unit? As mentioned earlier, people want it cheap, cheap, cheap.

Can't have it both ways.
I've been actively shopping for a Class A motorhome the past six months and have taken multiple factory tours and have visited a number of dealerships. I've dreamed of the day when I was able to make this purchase and from a newbies perspective, reading the initial quality issues online are giving me reason for pause.

I may be the exception to the rule and my first concern is not floor plan, it's product quality. Since I'm not mechanically inclined, I'm prepared to pull the trigger the moment I find a manufacturer that has developed a unit that does not include the long punch lists that seem to plaguing the industry at this point.

Instead it seems that many big name manufacturers tout customer service. Heck, wouldn't it be better to be able to say that you won't need customer service as our units are built to the highest standards and are fully tested and checked before they leave the factory?

I'm truly miffed why it's the customer's responsibility to spot the defects and the dealers job to fix things that should have been addressed at the factory. For example, I've read a number of posts about motorhomes that arrived with obvious defects such as a misaligned steering wheel. Huh? Then, the buyer has to fight with the factory, the dealer and the chassis manufacturer and suffer a lot of downtime taking the coach back and forth seeking a remedy that may or may not fix the issue...an issue that should have been addressed during manufacturing.

Aren't motorhomes supposed to be Recreational Vehicles? I think I'd rather be camped at Fort Wilderness or Bluewater Key than being parked at a dealer's lot for weeks awaiting service.

So yes, it's for these reasons I am one who is glad that Greg is addressing this lack of quality elephant in the room. I can only hope the manufacturers stop burying their heads in the sand and take notice as part one of his series truly struck a chord with me and mirrors what I've found to date. I also hope that after he has completed his series the RVIA and its manufacturer and dealer members come up with a plan to address these shortcomings and find a way to give us nothing to complain about in terms of initial product quality.

Yeah, I can dream!
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:25 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by gjgerber View Post
The RV industry doesn't take kindly to renegades. It is, for all intent and purposes, an Elkhart-centered Good Old Boys Club. People who play the game are rewarded for their obedience. People who rock the boat are often sunk and then eaten by the sharks.

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I wish you the best of luck partner!

When you get to the part about campgrounds you might want to look at a recent thread where on a busy weekend Campers had to wait in line with day users for up to 4 hrs just to get back to their MH's.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:39 AM   #48
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The quality is there. Most of us just can't afford to drop 2 mil on a coach. Pay that much and you won't sit down to a misaligned steering wheel.
Jerry, "EWC (SW)" USN Retired
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:43 AM   #49
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A lot of times I see people confusing quality control with quality of materials.

Sixteen years ago I bought a fold down camper for $7600 brand new. That type of camper typically uses the most inexpensive components possible. It was put together better than most of the Class As Ive been looking at over the last year.

An $80k class C can be just as well put together as a well put together million dollar bus. And by no stretch of the imagination would it cost an additional $300k per unit.

When I think quality control, Im talking about loose screws, missing screws, wires pinched between a steel frame and flooring, a water pump not bolted down, cabinet doors hung crooked, shower doors not latching, a shelf with one support not installed, wires crossed, poor connections, hose clamps not installed, support brackets for plumbing not installed properly, and on and on and on.

None of these things are dependent upon whether your faucet is plastic or brushed aluminum. But all of them can cause additional issues down the road.

Well, your water pump failed because of a short caused by pinched wires.

We pulled the thermostat to replace it and found a loose wire. (after your rig sat in the shop for 2 weeks waiting on a part)

I understand your situation, but unless you can prove faulty installation caused the outside entertainment access door to fall off on a Mississippi highway, it is not covered under warranty.

I'm guilty. I will be donating to the problem in just a few months. However, quality is still at the top of my list. Not paint scheme. Not fabric choices. Not the number of televisions. Quality. Three manufacturers have made my list, and they are by no means perfect. They are the three loaves of bread that were smashed the least. Because the average customer has come accustomed to smashed bread.

One manufacturer, well, I have to stifle laughter every time a salesperson wants to show me one. And they are EVERYWHERE
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:03 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
ask the people of detroit how having a foreign company come in and do it better worked out for them. Why do we have to rely on imports to be our savior? The U.S. companies could easily do it....they choose not too and we allow it by buying their products.
I believe the comparison was in regard to the reputation for quality that Toyota enjoys and not specifically that they are non-US.

With that said - I'll run with your theme. Until there were well-built alternatives to force the issue do you believe that the Big Three (plus AMC at the time) so-called "domestic" auto manufacturers would have stopped their quality declining straight into the earth's core? Speculation is in the eye of the speculator but I personally don't have any reason to believe that they would have had a change of heart out of nowhere and stopped riding the magic money carpet long enough to realize (or care) that their customers were getting sub-par value. Something had to change, and that change was competent competition. It wasn't the U.S. workers, as has been proven ad nauseum by the US-based manufacture of e.g. Honda/Toyota/Merc/BMW producing excellent vehicles. It's about the quality of leadership, not geography. The quality of RV industry leadership is analagous to Ford/GM/Chrysler in the 1970s and 1980s. It NEEDS that giant kick in the financial shins to spur excellence (or obsolesence, whichever). While I don't have any pleasure that Detroit families in the auto industry suffered as a result of this shake-up I don't agree that it was a valid trade-off to maintain the status quo of customers getting declining value just for Detroit's sake, or in this case Elkhart's sake.

I hear what everyone is saying about the Wal-Mart shopping/purchase mentality. I get it - as a group we the RV consumers are getting what we pay for, but as a counterpoint I believe that there surely has to be a market somewhere between the $150k rolling crapwagons and a $2M Newell. Honda and Toyota didn't kick America's tail by charging more for their quality - they simply included the quality in the prevailing price of the time and won on merit.

I'm one of the few who is resisting buying anything new (although I very much would like a Class A toy hauler) because the quality is just awful. After some research I purchased a 1997 HR because of reputed quality (and I found that even that was... er, relative). I spent more on updating it (all LED, flat screens, tankless water heater, upgraded plumbing fixtures, high-end mattress, HD front and rear cameras, GPS, blah, blah, blah).

Sadly, statistics and sales figures are clear that the vast majority just aren't willing to do the same, so I'm in the minority, and probably am simply too small a fish to care about. Que sera, sera. Perhaps someday there will be something of quality to tempt my wallet out of hiding. Until then I'm happy to contribute in my own small way to the projected death spiral of the RV industry as we know it.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:33 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by gemert View Post
There is nothing out there that I can afford that even comes close to the quality of my 13 year old Beaver! Why spend 100's of thousands of dollars for less than I have now just because it smells new?

Jerry, that's exactly the way I feel about our 2002 Monaco Windsor!

I sure hope the folks at Nexus are listening to all this! What is the general opinion of Nexus quality by people who have purchased one?
Joe & Annette

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Old 07-06-2016, 02:15 PM   #52
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I have several thoughts, but I'll ask some questions first:

-do privately owned RV manufacturers have better products/quality control?
-do they have longer warranties?
-are they manufactured any differently than the publicly traded RV companies?

Business being business:
-do privately owned RV manufacturers have the same profit interest?
-do they also answer to their own share holders?
-will they go out of business if they build a product that is too expensive?

Is the argument about public versus private manufacturers more of an argument about corporate management than the actual manufacturing or product quality?

If we believe that privately owned companies do a better 'job', do we trust that their management also believes this?
-if so, why do they then 'sell out' to the big corporations?
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:08 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Brad Felmey View Post
It's about the quality of leadership, not geography.
I will respectfully disagree for a moment on part of your statement. It is not about geography. I agree with that. However, the leadership was probably doing the best with what they had at the time. And, I do not mean the employees. US workers can be very productive as you stated as well. Please allow me to explain.

The big difference, in my opinion, was the SYSTEMS used for running the business; specifically manufacturing, but also including purchasing, inventory, plant organization, scheduling, etc. Management was trained and instructed to use the same methods. The leaders expected the same methods to work. The systems were most likely being run at the best levels possible. But, the systems allowed mistakes. How the mistakes were handled may have worked to some degree, but still mistakes made it out the door.

I manufacture a custom product in my own business. Everything from the initial sales call to the final delivery and installation is carefully orchestrated for Quality, Timeliness, and Profit. (No, "Profit" is not a bad word. Without it I cannot stay in business and provide for my family.)

So, what "systems" do I use to give my customers the highest quality in a timely manner, with almost zero call-backs, and still provide a profit? Over the years I have read books, studied, attended seminars, and implemented a lot of LEAN principles. One book that was helpful was "The Toyota Way" that talks about management principles that Toyota uses. (There are many other books also.) You mentioned Toyota as being a leader in this area. You are correct. Toyota also had a different attitude about quality control in the manufacturing process. Any employee had the authority to stop the production line if something was wrong. The problem wasn't a "can to be kicked down the road" so that the dealers could fix it under warranty. They dealt with the problem immediately. And, they worked to eliminate the possibility that it would happen again.

There are many parts to LEAN manufacturing including simple organizational things and "common sense" house-keeping on the production floor. In my facility we constantly try to improve our production (meaning better timing, less costs, and more profit) at the same time we are looking for improvements in quality for the customer. Many times we can improve both the quality and the profitability at the same time. We call this a Win-Win situation.

Now, if the RV industry would consider taking a look at some of these ideas, it just might be helpful. It will not be an overnight revolution. It takes time to make some changes. But, it can start with little things like shop organization: have all of the tools and parts needed for a job at the workstation, but no other tools or parts. Make it easy for workers to do their job. While doing this, the workers need to be included in setting up the changes. Very often the workers know how to set up and run things better than management. Imagine that!

The bottom line in all of this is that a) the company can make equal or more profit, b) the workers are happier, which means less employee turnover, c) more product can be shipped with fewer or no mistakes, and d) the customer gets a top quality, defect-free product. Yes, mistakes can still happen. But, when they do someone looks back through the process to see where and why, then a solution is found to eliminate the same mistake in the future. Accepting a certain percentage of mistakes as being normal is not acceptable.

OK, let me jump off my soapbox.
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:09 PM   #54
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Is This The Needed Wakeup Call For The Motorhome Industry?

Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
If we believe that privately owned companies do a better 'job', do we trust that their management also believes this?
-if so, why do they then 'sell out' to the big corporations?

Not every generation has someone with the ability to take the helm and continue to be successful. Selling can be the best way forward. It's a big slice of humble pie to step aside for someone with more ability, like Bill Ford did when he made Alan Mulally the CEO of Ford. It was the best thing for the company.

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Old 07-06-2016, 05:44 PM   #55
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Is This The Needed Wakeup Call For The Motorhome Industry?

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is an older but still effective version of LEAN.
I integrated SPC into several manufacturing activities.
It costs to start it up, but very little to keep it running. And the contribution to higher quality is huge, while customer satisfaction surges. After sale events all but disappeared, and repeat issues of the same fault ended.
Thus, warranty costs decrease dramatically and time at dealer facilities do likewise.

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Old 07-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #56
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I keep hearing "costs will skyrocket, cheap $ or quality, etc . These RVs aren't cheap. Most diesels are 200k+ many 500k+ !! That's a lot of money for cheap quality. Sure there are supplier parts issues, but there is no excuse for poor workmanship and cheap materials on a $300k RV. NONE !

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