Yeah, don't take this personally, but I've heard the 'pop ups are entry level' excuse before and honestly I don't really accept it. At least, not within the same brand. Entry level can/should define features but never quality. Some brands are known for quality others are not. FR should decide where they stand on that. The best companies have entry level products that are still of world class quality - just without the rich features of their higher end products. There is of course a huge spectrum there.
If that's truly their excuse for making an 'inferior' product and if the dealership or factory told me that buying their top of the line 'Premier' brand pop up was going to be low quality because I wasn't buy another line of their products that didn't fit my needs I would be appalled. I simply don't want a TT or 5'er, so I got the best pop up they make.
Thy should protect their brand with quality standards across the product line. Otherwise, at what price point can a customer expect to 'get one of the good ones'? A friend of mine recently sold his StarCraft Pop up and got a 23-24k Forest River Freedom Express. Does that price qualify for 'good quality' yet?
They make much more expensive TTs. Is it only the 5'er that qualify for decent build quality? He did look at a Cherokee that was about 5 thousand less and indeed it had a wood frame vs. aluminum so the 'feature' of aluminum vs wood defined the quality to some extent and there is overlap there, but I would still expect the wood framed Cherokee to be built to the best standard available to the manufacturer. They should toss out warped sticks and fix mis-applied fasteners as it moves down the production line. I doubt FR (and likely others) have employees that care about that though as I don't think it's in their culture.
In my experience, any time a company starts to allow 'good enough' on any of their products that speaks to the culture of the organization. I wouldn't allow 'good enough' from any of my teams or employees. Once an organization starts to allow such a concept to permeate their standards they start to slip IMHO.
I understand productions systems, assembly, delivery and supply chains fairly well. Granted, I don't have first hand behind the scenes experience with the RV industry but the entire purchase and support experience with campers in general is very last century (disconnects between dealers etc) but apparently it's 'good enough'.
I'm not a long time customer of the RV industry - this is my first new purchase, and I'll take it for what it is, but it's a very strange business where new sales seem to be one step above the used car sales industry. Forest River, Thor Industries et al make no effort to have a consistent customer experience across their dealerships. The independent dealerships lead the experience and I think lack of vision/strategy from FR follows through to the product line because the current customer experience has been 'good enough'. Just my perception based on my experience in person and reading around on the forums about the disparities between good dealerships and bad. FR corporate doesn't set the tone.
That said, I still enjoy my pop up for what it is - a 'cheap' $12,500 box of cabinets, thin wiring and vinyl that was put together as fast and cheap as possible. It's 'good enough'.
We'll see how the warranty experience goes. It will be my first with them. Who knows, perhaps it will be a transformation experience where they go above and beyond. But honestly, I'm only expecting 'good enough'.
And that's what I would expect if it were a >$30k TT or 5'er.
I hope this doesn't come off as combative. But I truly feel if a brand wants to be seen as high quality they will put that effort into every aspect of their organization from sourcing to production to marketing to sales and finally customer service. Within the same brand, cost should define features and they should never skimp on build quality. Especially on the 'entry level' prospect customers.
Sorry for the rant. It's the businessman and manager in me disliking the idea of 'good enough'.