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Old 07-20-2016, 11:17 AM   #91
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Sorry...so many posts, so little time (I only got a notification after about 6 posts). I'll try and address the general consensus without all the quotes.

1. As for contracts...it is a commonly misunderstood issue. There is no franchise agreement with RV's (some tried and it failed miserably). So yes, we can not sell units to a dealer...but let's say that product is on the dealer's state license (which is separate from our dealer agreement and we have to authorize). We can stop selling them, but in some states, as long as that product is on their dealer license, we can't really sell it to anyone else either. We can take a hard stance, but really have no way to add teeth to it. Some states are no problem...we can cancel a dealer in a heartbeat. Some states, Texas for instance, there was a time when some manufacturers refused to do business in the state because the state laws were so skewed towards the dealer.

2. As for qualified staff...I think it has to do with the way the business model is set up. Throughput efficiency I would say. If you are a Ford dealer and you're selling a record number of cars, you can hire staff fairly easily and they probably have a certified tech program. You're seeing the same stuff, day in and day out. You have a limited number of systems to troubleshoot and repair. For an RV dealer however....you need techs that know plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, 12V DC, 120V, AC, residential fridges, absorption fridges, suspension, slideouts, etc, etc, etc. AND, you need to know this not for one brand....but sometimes 50 brands. I'd be curious to see the total number of dealers for each industry including the support side (service centers only). 17 million cars sold. 365,000 RV's shipped in 2015....AND unlike cars which need service YEAR round, RV's get used primarily 6 months out of the year. Imagine a good portion of those 17 million cars all dusted off from winter storage and everyone trying to get them serviced in the month of March-April-May (also peak selling season) so they can take them out? So I think it is a combination of everything. But to say "Auto's do it, why can't RV's" I think over simplify's the issue. Not that there isn't a solution...just not one that is a one size fits all. Plus, you're trying to "right size" your staff for winter months and yet have those same techs working 24/7 in the summer. I think the RV industry fights hard against Lemon laws, because they try to lump them in with automotive. just like certain impact issues...we fight. Not because we want them to be unsafe...its because the rear passenger ejection issues on a Ford Fiesta, is not the same as a 40' Class A motorhome, so why would we try and treat them the same.

Having said all of that...we are trying to balance things. Provide higher end components, pay employees more, (even thought the labor pool has dried up), build better. I don't think the sky is falling, even though some only see the doom and gloom side of things. I also think misery loves company...so we see a much higher percentage on the boards. I know I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and the only reason I am ever on a forum is when I have an issue. I'm never there to talk about how much I love the uConnect system, or the interior....I do tell people verbally however.
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:21 AM   #92
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That's the tricky part. For sure, we discuss with them the issue, what went wrong and encourage them to involve us sooner in the future. We can send out a service rep to do training, offer in house training, be more proactive on our end in asking more questions. I think we have given the consumer more direct access to get in touch with us before it becomes a problem. We send a letter with every unit asking the customer to contact us directly if their coach is out of service too long. While we all wish there was one, there is no silver bullet. Some state laws give us little to no authority to force a dealer to do anything.

Sad part is we sometimes see this wth really big, previously good dealers. I think just like a lot of RV related things, the infrastructure is taxed. Not enough qualified staff to handle the issues as they should be handled.

My immediate response has been to raise prices so we can put in the best components we can, pay employees more and provide the service people expect. We'll see how that goes.
I can vouch Dynamax communication with dealers. On two occasions, the factory worked with a local dealer, that did not carry Dynamax Trilogy’s to not only give authorization, but to ship the parts in advance…big parts, wall board/assembly materials as well as a hydraulic jack.As a result, both rather significant repairs were made in less than a ˝ a day on both occasions.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:53 PM   #93
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Well then yours is the only division at FR that pays for diag , warranty writes up, parts ordering , cause they don't in any other
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:11 PM   #94
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We certainly have flat rates for some items, but we also know some things take time.

The other items you mention are overhead. I have the same thing...when a supplier part fails, they pay for the part (occasionally labor)...but what I mark up all those parts is what pays the overhead. Now, if I have a supplier that is eating up all my overhead in an unbalanced manner...guess what, I change suppliers or get a better part. Same thing dealers do. If a product comes in with too many issues and is costing them too much in overhead support, they should drop the product.
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:22 PM   #95
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Thanks for posting your insight on the RV industry bclemens. I appreciate your participation in these forums.
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:51 PM   #96
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No problem. I am a consumer too and I try to approach things as I would want to be treated. The more I know, the better I feel about the process, so I just want provide some insight.

We do try, very hard to go above and beyond. I think I have mentioned however that for some reason, many consumer's today see this goodwill as an opportunity to take advantage. (bad apple spoils the bunch? mfg and consumer I think)

Example: Customer had an issue with a unit, we set up a dealer (within a day) to do the repair but he wanted to bring it to the factory. Brought it by the plant, we fixed a few things and mentioned something else we saw offered to fix it. Said, not to worry about it, it was no big deal had to get home. Got it home and it became a big deal. Had a couple of other issues that became MOUNTAINS. It was all our fault, and he's already had to bring it back to the factory once. (Uh, we had a dealer set up, you chose to bring it here it didn't need to come back).

Long story short, we sent a drive away company (same ones that delivers our units every single day) to go pick up the unit from his residence. Driver gets there at 5pm. Customer asks...its 5 pm, what will you do Dynamax is closed. Driver said, I will take it to our holding yard and transfer it over in the morning. Customer refused to release the unit...wanted us to put the driver up in a hotel, so that in the morning he could take it straight to the plant. Would only release the unit when my head of service agreed to meet the driver at the plant, 9pm at night....and of course all its going to do is store in our holding yard until the morning (which we tried telling him).

When we dig into it...the first two "trip ending" major factory flaws, were user related issues, not factory defects.

I know that there is story after story of poor mfg service and I can relate story after story of consumer gone insane....but I think in the end, they are really the exception to the norm...they just happen to be the ones that get the most media coverage.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:16 PM   #97
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Sacred cows... What I believe:

1. Our society overall is more interested in getting things as cheap as possible. I do it much of the time and so does everybody else. This is NOT an RV industry issue.
2. Our society overall is more interested in bells and whistles than functionality. This too is NOT an RV industry issue.
3. Free market economics mean that manufacturers are trying their best to offer the product that will sell the most by balancing features and price. They are selling what the market seems to want, after all if you have complaints you must have chosen and bought the product.
4. Ditto for dealers. Again you chose where to purchase and could have gone somewhere else.
5. The internet will always have 100x more detracting opinions than supporting opinions for *anything*. While there are problem units how many units have no problems? We will NEVER know but everyone is sure they must be rare just because you do not hear about them.
6. Today's RVs are more of a little house and, well, have you bought a new house? I have bought a few and they all had issues not unlike many of the RVs.

My RV is not perfect but has never been in to the dealer. I don't take it to the dealer because they are a couple hours away and because I am a throwback to another time and believe in fixing stuff myself. I do not have to pay myself so I know I can often do it better than having somebody else do it who may care more about fast than right (see #1 above). And I like learning about how stuff works or is put together. I would probably be a good RV service tech because I know at least something about most of the systems in an RV, but I doubt the pay/income would meet my current standard of living. Maybe someday when my high tech gig runs out

That reminds me, I need to fix that front power stabilizer jack that I took the motor out of...

Death Spiral my butt.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:22 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by bclemens View Post
No problem. I am a consumer too and I try to approach things as I would want to be treated. The more I know, the better I feel about the process, so I just want provide some insight.

We do try, very hard to go above and beyond. I think I have mentioned however that for some reason, many consumer's today see this goodwill as an opportunity to take advantage. (bad apple spoils the bunch? mfg and consumer I think)

Example: Customer had an issue with a unit, we set up a dealer (within a day) to do the repair but he wanted to bring it to the factory. Brought it by the plant, we fixed a few things and mentioned something else we saw offered to fix it. Said, not to worry about it, it was no big deal had to get home. Got it home and it became a big deal. Had a couple of other issues that became MOUNTAINS. It was all our fault, and he's already had to bring it back to the factory once. (Uh, we had a dealer set up, you chose to bring it here it didn't need to come back).

Long story short, we sent a drive away company (same ones that delivers our units every single day) to go pick up the unit from his residence. Driver gets there at 5pm. Customer asks...its 5 pm, what will you do Dynamax is closed. Driver said, I will take it to our holding yard and transfer it over in the morning. Customer refused to release the unit...wanted us to put the driver up in a hotel, so that in the morning he could take it straight to the plant. Would only release the unit when my head of service agreed to meet the driver at the plant, 9pm at night....and of course all its going to do is store in our holding yard until the morning (which we tried telling him).

When we dig into it...the first two "trip ending" major factory flaws, were user related issues, not factory defects.

I know that there is story after story of poor mfg service and I can relate story after story of consumer gone insane....but I think in the end, they are really the exception to the norm...they just happen to be the ones that get the most media coverage.
Amen to crazy people. I have a friend who works for a tier 2 international car company as an area representative. He is evaluated and paid based on customer survey results on dealers among other factors. I hear lots of horror stories about dealers and customers complaints not unlike this.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:41 PM   #99
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I 'm a bit late getting in on this discussion,but the biggest thing that I really cant understand is why we as cosumers must accept less (in terms of fit/finish) today than we got 20,30 even 40 yrs ago. I will mention some things that absoutly make me and my wife furious when we walk into our 2016. The lack of any visible finish on the wood just drives me up the wall every time I touch it and leave white streaks on the dark wood.It was stained but you will never convince me that there is any kind of top coat on it. There are visable staples EVERYWHERE,they were smeared over with some kind of putty stick that was a completely different color,and then rubbed with a rag or finger,makeing the smears even worse.There is a total lack of any sealants or adhesives in any of the cabnetry.They are stapled only.I can pull the fronts off the doors and if the doors are off the hinges they could be easily twisted apart.I have gaps and doors that fit differently every time we move the unit,showing white wood at the edges.The factory "fixed" this by pounding them back together after useing a paint stick (magic marker?) on the visible edges.The acess panel for the water pump,which should have been a door,is so out of square that I can push a nail file past it on two sides.It was "held in place" by 4 oval head #8 screws,onl 2 of which hit anything.I could write pages but the point is,our first RV was a new 8' slide-in camper made by "Sportsman Dream".We bought it new in 1970 for $1995.00,I still have the invoice.That unit had REAL wood interior,no ugly staples showing all over,glued and mitered corners and a very nice semi gloss finish on the oak interior.We ran that thing all over the US and canada,even doing the entire trans-canada highway in 1978 with it perched on our 1970 f-250 4x4 highboy,pulling a boat.In 1983 we trade up to a new F250 4x4 ext cab dually and bought a 11.5' coachman to ride in the box.The quality on the coachman was every bit as good as the Sportsmans Dream.We ran that coachman untill 1995 when the kids colledge signaled the end of camping for a while. But when we were able,a Layton 19' TT was in the drive way.This was around 1997,and the Layton was a complete piece of crap.It literally fell apart from going down the road in a 3 year period.Once again,we were thru with campers untill 2010 when we bought an all aluminum Merhow horse trailer with a 9' short wall liveing quarter.This trailer was "furniture grade " inside. Solid oak,even the counter top was laminated oak,no ply or flake board. It had soft touch walls and cielings,nothing like the paper covered cardboard in the Cherokee.We still have it but sadly wanted more roomin the LQ.We went downstate to Haylett RV two years ago to look at a 4 horse,16' shortwall bison with a super slide.It was black/polished aluminum and a beautiful trailer.Thats the ONLY reason we ended up at Haylett. Nancy did not like the crawl up bunk so we looked at fifth wheel toy haulers and so here we are now.
I sorta started rambling about the quality thing and maybe got OT a bit,but I feel better!

(edit) FWIW,I wouldnt go back to Haylett except maybe to dump my holing tanks in thier parking lot.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:59 PM   #100
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Part 7 - RV owners share the blame.



Here we go boys and girls...................its a doosey

RV Industry Death Spiral – Part 7: RV owners share the blame | RV Daily Report


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