Originally Posted by esfritzi
That's why I bought a Newmar! They are very selective who they bring into the network as dealers. Only the cream of the crop.
Well ... we have Newmar too, but unfortunately we had a very poor experience for service with the selling dealer -- prompting us to ask the very same question the OP did and concluding that being a reasonable distance from the factory is a definite plus for us.
In late 2011, we bought a gorgeous new Ventana 3433 from North Trail in Ft. Myers -- "the largest Newmar dealer in the U.S." We had them keep it for us till late March 2012 when we could take delivery -- we did not have a place to put store it and with our tough winters in Erie, Pennsylvania, we didn't want our beautiful coach to sit outside in the snow for three or four months.
It was a terrific end of the year deal on a fully loaded and stunningly beautiful coach -- just the coach we had dreamed about. It had everything we wanted -- custom paint, all electric, outside entertainment center, high def TVs throughout, Oasis hydronic heat, just about every option you could have had on this model coach.
What we didn't realize is that inasmuch as the coach had been delivered to North Trail in February, 2011, it sat for over a year until we ended up taking delivery. In the hot summer sun in Florida. Not good for any coach. Plus, we realized that it had been in RV shows and probably had had several people on it doing test drives in the months before we bought it. Bottom line is that our coach had a number of things that really had to be fixed at PDI -- things we certainly knew about and expected, but a bunch of things nonetheless. We had no problem with that, but we expected the dealer -- remember, "the largest Newmar dealer in the U.S." -- to be able to utilize their expert service department to address our punch list, get all things resolved to our satisfaction and get us on the road to home as happy campers.
You probably know where this is headed. It didn't turn out the way we expected it would. They promised to fix all items and we stayed the full time they said they needed to have the coach in order to have the work done, but at the end of the process, the work was definitely not complete and we had run out of time. We had a commitment to be back home and we couldn't delay any further. We made the 1,500 mile trip home with several punch list items still in need of being fixed.
After getting home, we called Newmar and that was our saving grace. They apologized for the poor service we got, they asked us to come to the factory to complete all repair items (375 miles from our home), the paid for our fuel and tolls to get there and they told us they wanted to be sure that we were completely satisfied with our coach.
They were absolutely true to their word. They fixed each and every thing we had on our list to our full satisfaction, they gave us a full orientation of the coach (which we really never got at North Trail) and they made us realize how terrific they are as a company and how dedicated they are to customer service. We became believers for real. We got our coach back in brand new condition and never had a lick of trouble with it after we got it back from Newmar.
Liking our Ventana as much as we did, we decided last October to move up to a 2013 Dutch Star 4018 and we realized, due to our factory experience, that it would be a good investment to take the factory delivery option -- and to use the factory for any warranty adjustments or repairs on our new coach. Since we are less than 400 miles from the factory -- and since I am a Notre Dame grad and Newmar is only 15 miles from ND -- it was an easy decision for us.
For those reasons, I do think it's an important thing to consider the distance from the factory as the OP asks about. For us, our experience has shown that the best possible place to get warranty or repair service -- at least in the case of Newmar products -- is with the factory
Just our two cents' worth.