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Old 10-25-2019, 07:00 AM   #1
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Blue Ox Fitment Program / Outstanding Experience

Just had an outstanding experience at Blue Ox with their Fitment Program that I want to share.

After buying and then selling a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit due to the dreaded 'Death Wobble' issue, I was able to get Chrysler to give me Employee Pricing on a new FCA vehicle of my choice and decided, after a lot of research, to buy a 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4 x 4 with Technology package. I ordered the Cherokee in late August and had delivery in early September.

Turns out that Blue Ox did not have exact fitment for the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited with Technology package. I sent pictures of the car at their request and they determined that they did not have a base plate that would work or could be easily modified by one of their dealers. They told me about their Fitment Program where I could take my car to them at their factory in Pender, Nebraska (about midway between Omaha and Sioux City, Iowa). They would open it up, noodle out, engineer and fabricate the correct base plate for the vehicle, install it, install a complete light kit if I needed and wanted it, test it all, give me a brand new Blue Ox Avail tow bar, reassemble the front end of my vehicle and put me on my way back home. The price to me? Only 75% of the cost of the wiring harness for my light kit if I wanted it installed. Everything else would be on Blue Ox in giving them my vehicle to figure out the engineering solution so that they could come up with the base plate that will work for all other cars like mine.

So here was the deal I considered: Blue Ox base plate custom engineered for my vehicle; brand new, in-the-box Blue Ox Avail tow bar with emergency cables and all connecting parts; all labor for engineering, fabrication and custom fit of my new professionally installed Blue Ox tow equipment and light kit. Cost? Zero.

It took me about ten seconds to decide to sign up for a road trip to Pender, Nebraska.

There are two winners here: The customer for spending the time and energy to get to Pender, Nebraska and allowing Blue Ox to have his or her car tied up for a few days to get such wonderful work virtually for free; Blue Ox for getting the customer's vehicle to determine the correct parts and fitment to be able to offer the right base plate and installation instructions to Blue Ox dealers throughout the country on a vehicle that RV'ers like to own to tow behind their coaches.

For those curious, here's a summary of how it went: My appointment was on Monday, October 21 at 8:30 am. I arrived late afternoon before on Sunday, stayed in a nice, clean, almost new motel just around the corner from Blue Ox that was one of three motels Blue Ox recommended, dropped off the car promptly at 8:30 the next morning, was given a fine, fuel-filled Blue Ox SUV to go wherever I wanted for the the next few days with no mileage restriction, and met with the folks who would be doing the work up. I found things to do each day I was there in Omaha, Sioux City and West Point, Nebraska and checked in on progress each day (doing all I could manage not to drive them nuts). By late Wednesday, the work was in finishing stage and the car was to be ready for me to take early Thursday morning, October 24.

Voila: The work was absolutely perfect. I was bowled over. The installation was the best I have ever had, bar none, with any tow vehicle I have ever owned. So careful and so unobtrusive that I actually had to do a double take to see the equipment on the front end of the facia as they blended and cut it in so perfectly. In short, I was utterly impressed with the quality of the parts and the care and professionalism of the work.

What did I pay? Five days of travel and sightseeing in the Omaha, Pender, Sioux City area, 2,000 miles worth of fuel for my car and a fabulous autumn drive into an area of the country I had never experienced before (talk about wide open spaces, acres and acres and acres of corn, and lots of friendly people!) and having to find five days to relax. Not exactly heavy lifting, any of it!

As I picked up my car, I asked about a factory tour. The receptionist said, regrettably, that they only schedule tours on Fridays. I had a long way to drive home and really did not care to stay another day as I needed to get back to pick up my new coach that is being delivered in a few days. But my conversation with the receptionist was overheard by a young man who happened to be walking by the reception area and he said he'd be glad to take me through. I was elated with this development as the receptionist handed me the plastic shop glasses that were needed to go onto the production floor.

Turns out that my guide was Ronnie Merchant, Blue Ox CEO! Ronnie and I had an absolute ball as I got my special tour and learned all about Blue Ox. My Dad was a design machinist and could design, build and fabricate anything. I inherited a healthy dose of fascination with all things having to do with machines from him, so I was instantly fascinated by how Blue Ox started, grew and has developed into the business that we know, love and have big respect for with our motor coaches today. I saw first hand how the raw materials come in the back door, are transformed into the amazing gizmos Blue Ox thinks up and produces and ultimately end up being shipped throughout the world to customers like us who rely on them for our and our family's safety in our RV travels. Really a fun tour.

Ronnie is a young CEO with bright ideas and instinctive knowledge about how to make Blue Ox even more efficient and streamlined than it was, and you can easily see the fruits of his labors -- with new technologies brought to the production floor during his tenure, more efficient and better machinery to make their products and, from all I could see, dedicated and loyal employees who take pride in the quality of their offerings. It is a small staff that produces this stuff -- 110 production employees -- but it is clearly a staff that is very proud of what they produce and satisfied with the results of their labor. All of this shows in the quality of the finished product.

It's always rewarding to me to know the specifics of what's behind a thing I decide I just have to have, and I was very glad to have had the serendipitous opportunity to take a tour of the Blue Ox plant with its terrific and friendly CEO after my work was completed.

For obvious reasons, I cannot say enough about this Fitment Program. It is really second to none. My limited cost was well worth it. From the quality of the parts and installation, to the fabulous deal to the customer, I would recommend this program to anyone who happens to find themselves in my position of having a new car that does not have accurate Blue Ox fitment already -- and can beat everyone else in getting to Blue Ox first to have their vehicle accepted for their Fitment Program! I am darn glad I did.

Thanks to Patricia, Connor, Bob, Ronnie for their outstanding hospitality and the truly excellent job done!

Deek
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:54 AM   #2
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That's AWESOME! Great information.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:02 AM   #3
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RoadMaster also has that type program. I was the recipient of a free bracket and installation on my '05 Ody some years ago.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:00 AM   #4
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I went through the same program in 2014 with my 2015 Colorado.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:17 AM   #5
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Ditto with my new 2006 GMC Acadia. I really lucked out when Blue Ox got their hands on the near-identical Saturn Outlook just a few weeks before I was scheduled to visit the factory. They sent the Outlook base plates to one of their top dealers near me to try the fitment on my vehicle. It was determined that only minor changes were needed to fit both the Acadia and the Outlook. The dealer did the mods onsite and installed it. I still got the free Aventa tow bar and base plates. The dealer got a free Aventa for his efforts as well and I paid zero.
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Old 10-29-2019, 08:50 AM   #6
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Not fitment, just plain fit. This current misuse of the word fitment is another example of ironic syllable multiplication, akin to the common misuse of the word usage.

I feel better now.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:34 AM   #7
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Had the same great experience on our 2020 Kia Soul this last June
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