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Old 09-22-2015, 01:37 PM   #1
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Shopping experience for new DP ($200 - $300k)

DW and I are in the market for a 40 foot DP for our future full-timing. Still need to sell the house and contents, but that is another thread.

Anyhow, we've attended the Tampa and Hershey RV shows for the past few years as well as visited several dealers in the Southeast who had units we were interested in. Our shopping experience has varied greatly. The best one provided us with a sales person who knew the product and spent time with us walking around the outside, opening basement storage doors, climbing up the ladder, roaming around inside, and offering a test drive. The worst has been sales people who did not know much about the product, would not turn on the generator or hook up to shore power to turn on the AC and generally gave us the "cold shoulder" if we were not going to buy today (like a bad car salesperson). And there have been some in-between those two extremes.

My question to you is what should be expect from a dealer? The manufacturer encourages us to visit the dealer and take it for a test drive, but not all dealers seem up to the task. Should we expect a dealer to run the generator or plug it in so we can see how loud the AC units are? What about a test drive? How serious do we need to be before we should take them on the road?

We live in the Atlanta area, but the local dealers don't always carry the brands or the models we are interested in. We make it a point to visit other dealers when we are out of town and they carry something we want to look at.

DPs we are looking at include Newmar Ventana 4037, 4002, 4041; Thor Tuscany 40DX; Winnebago Meridian 38P. The similarities that are important to us in all these are King bed, recliners or theater chairs across from TV (not at a 90 degree angle), and at least 10,000 lbs of towing capacity. If you know of other models that fit the bill, please send them along.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:11 PM   #2
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Since you live in Atlanta you should look at Tiffin Motor Homes. They are built in Red Bay, Alabama and you can take them back to the factory if needed for repairs/warranty work. You can also go to the factory and take a tour to see how they are built. The tour is ran daily and is free.

Their website lists their dealers and you can visit/call them for information.

Tiffin Motorhomes

There is also the Tiffin RV Network which is a noncommercial network made up of Tiffin owners and has a lot of information and can recommend dealers that they have had good service from.

Jon
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. We took the factory tour earlier this year and I was impressed with the way they build and support their units, but they don't have any workable floor plans for us. Tiffin still has the 45 or 90 degree TV to chair set-up.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodosgood View Post
Thanks for the tip. We took the factory tour earlier this year and I was impressed with the way they build and support their units, but they don't have any workable floor plans for us. Tiffin still has the 45 or 90 degree TV to chair set-up.
Then you haven't looked very closely as in the Phaeton line-up they offer several models with the tv directly across from the couch area. With ours, and when we are staying at one site for a few days, I'll re position the lounge chair so that it is facing almost directly at the TV (that's over the fireplace, by the way).
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:32 PM   #5
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I looked again at the Tiffin website and I found 3 Phaeton models that have a couch across from the TV, but still at an angle (36GH -Queen bed, 42LH, and 44OH). Ideally, we would prefer 2 recliners or 2 theater seats directly across from the TV and a lot of MHs have a couch only or a couch with 1 recliner. Nothing against couches, but we like the higher backs and support of recliners.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:45 PM   #6
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I can't tell from this phone screen if your sig indicates you have a coach currently? (or I just need new quadfocals or something)

2 thoughts -

You may want to try to have the coach on hand before finalizing and getting moved out of the house. My thinking there is if there are issues to be followed up with mfr or other new coach bugs to iron out, you aren't doing that whilst living in it.

Dealers ..... I think the level of attention you get us going to vary based on a dealer's culture and experiences. My dealer is a small family run operation. Before National went under, their MO was let folks look and do their thing, and be available for questions or drives. I suppose one could get the impression they were not customer focused, yet locally they are known as super good, honest, bend over backwards relationship oriented. The level of trust and confidence they have with me over the years is virtually absolute, and well earned. I've made it a point to tell them they may use me as a long time customer from new as a reference. My point is sometimes the best judge of the character of the company are those fellow RVers, albeit that can be tough. Thinking out loud further, if you are full timing then it also stands to reason you may want good quality for the price more so than a nice shopping experience as you may not be around as much. BUT, going out on a limb here, even if we were to go full time, with our kids and now grandkids here, we'd be through here enough that confidence in my RV dealer still counts.

Crap, I wandered....anyway, back to the culture. Could be all you have to do is interact with the store and tell them what you want to do. (demo systems, drive, etc). Obviously you can't express your entire visit in a post, so if I'm all wet over here, sorry to ramble on. Oh, that's a song, Led Zepplin, yes? Doh, there I go again.....
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodosgood View Post
I looked again at the Tiffin website and I found 3 Phaeton models that have a couch across from the TV, but still at an angle (36GH -Queen bed, 42LH, and 44OH). Ideally, we would prefer 2 recliners or 2 theater seats directly across from the TV and a lot of MHs have a couch only or a couch with 1 recliner. Nothing against couches, but we like the higher backs and support of recliners.
I have 40QBH and couch is directly across from TV. That is important to us too. It's not that easy in the base model but we have the optional fireplace / entertainment center. The euro recliner can also be moved to have direct site of TV as well as passenger captains chair when it is turned around. A very usable living and entertainment area. I would not own a 40QBH with the base floorplan.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:04 PM   #8
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What I should be able to expect from a dealer is like your one positive expereince: a knowledgeable sales person who is willing to answer questions and help my search in any small way they can. And stand aside when I want to be on my own.

What I DO expect, though, is none of that because it is so rare. Mostly I just hope they stay out of my way, let me roam around the sales lot (with open RVs for my perusal) and then quote a price if I'm interested. Even that seems to be asking a lot from some of them.

Since you have some very specific floor plan requirements, it seems to me you should do your shopping online to narrow down what models meet your needs. Then search (internet again) for dealer(s) that have that model in stock and contact them & visit if they seem helpful. Dropping into a dealer lot in hopes they have something you like doesn't seem productive in your case.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:30 PM   #9
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Keep in mind with Newmar - you can make many changes so it is customed for you. This is in additional to all the options. So if you didn't want a couch they'd put in two chairs. They would add addt'l cabinetry, electric outlets, computer outlets, etc. The only thing they won't do is anything that requires structural changes. We even switched out fabric choices from another of their lines.

We were extremely satisfied with our Newmar and full-timed in it for 8 years. We went to the factory and refined our wish list with the Sales Manager. Then we emailed about 20 dealers throughout the country with the same specs. We bought from the one that came in the lowest - a very simple process. As full-timers we didn't care where we bought because chances are we wouldn't return to the same place for any warranty work. Any Newmar dealer could take care of issues and we only had a few minor ones at first. They make a well-made unit. We even took it off-road many times to awesome boondocking spots.
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:39 PM   #10
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We belonged to an RV club in OR that my parents helped found. Of the 12 MH's in the club in about 2000, 6 of them were Newmars, one was a Prevost, one was a Foretravel (my parents) and the rest were SOB's. After looking at the Newmars inside and out we decided that's what we wanted so we ordered a 2000 "just the way we wanted". Well, that lasted 2 years till we ordered the 2002, Both of them were custom ordered with different cabinets, etc. In fact the 2002 we had them remove two pocket doors and two walls, substitute a different vanity, and countertops from an MA. Wish we had kept it as we had less trouble with it in the 13 years we had it than we've had with the present CC in 6 months!
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Old 09-22-2015, 09:50 PM   #11
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I have a cousin with a big RV dealership near Chicago. He has been in business a long time, and has survived the recent depression, while many other dealers went out of business. He won't sell Thor. He can't get past the politics with Winnebago. For his money, Newmar has the best product and service.


Remember, if you are going to sit at home and tailgate at the local football field, all you need is a good local dealer. IF you are going to hit the road, you need a network of dealers to take care of you.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:37 PM   #12
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Gary,

Just to clarify, we have not just dropped into a RV dealer unannounced. We always call to verify they still have the unit advertised on the website and ask for a contact. The good experiences we've had with this approach include the salesperson powering up the generator or hooking up to shore power and getting the unit cooled off and ready for inspection.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:42 PM   #13
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JMHO, but rather than spend $200k to $300k on a new MH, take that money and check out a higherer quality used MH...with the bugs worked out of it.
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:18 AM   #14
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I have to agree with Cat320 ... check out RVTrader and some of the other sites that do used MHs ... you may find a private seller that has exactly what your looking for ... and maybe save some $$$ along the way ... it's worth a shot ....????
Just to be transparent ... I'm not a fan of working with dealers or buying new .....
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