Originally Posted by okcnewbie
There are some similarities to the 80's automotive industry. By 1982 Chevy had lost about 1million car sales a year that they never got back. Ultimately it was competition that caused all cars to be better made....IMO
And back in the 1980s, at least you could buy a German/Japanese product that literally kicked the heck out of the American products. We don't really have that choice in the RV industry. Heck, Thor is now buying Jayco. You can't seem to buy your way into a quality product these days. Thor owns DRV and Airstream.
The RV industry has a massive lack of consumer protections (in most states), so unless you can afford to litigate, you're fighting an uphill battle. They pay the assembly crew for speed, not quality. They pay dealers below-market rates to clean up the mistakes made during manufacturing. And there is very little exposure on all of this stuff to the end consumer.
Nationwide warranty? Not really.
Reasonable time for repairs? Definitely not.
Recourse if the dealer does it wrong? Probably not.
It's not going to kill the industry, however. We'll keep buying RVs. These aren't like cars that get purchased frequently. Consolidation will continue to erode quality to keep those corporate margins on-target for share holders.
Grand Design seems to be doing it differently, but they are (for now) privately funded and the company that those execs previously founded (Keystone) is a great example of how not do treat consumers (see their hundreds of BBB complaints here
Make sure you view the comments page on that link:
The industry won't get a bail out. It imploded before - it's very dependent upon the state of the economy and it's work force isn't unionized nor does it have substantial political power. And mark my words - the quality issues wont make it implode. People keep buying the same old song and dance - especially people who are new to RV'ing. I'm not sure what will change it... I suspect either a successful support model (Grand Design) or legislation with stronger consumer protections.