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Old 06-08-2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Question Why so many Brands/Models?

Just curious as to why some manufacturers have numerous models and/or brands. When I was looking @ the Forest River website before buying my 2106, there Flagstaff & Rockwood models are identical other than graphics. Is the interior content different? Comparing floorplans they would appear to be the same.

Thor has 7 divisions selling towables, 23 brands under the Keystone banner alone. Forest River has 19 (counting the forums) brands of TTs & 5ers. Critics chastised GM for having too many divisions/brands, so why so many RV brands?

I posted elsewhere & some that it was to FR's advantage to be able to have 2 different brands in a location. Well aren't they competing against each other, just like Chev & Pontiac dealers would? IMO, all it does is drive the profit margin down when people shop around.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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My personal idea about this is so that manufacturers can get around "dealer exclusivity" within a certain radius. So give it a different brand name and so what if the dealers are a mile apart.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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The manufacturers produce similar models with different names so their dealers can have "exclusive rights" in an area for a brand. Change the name and graphics and they can have multiple dealers in the same market selling essentially the same trailer. If you live in an area with dealers selling the various brands, you can generally play one against the other to get a better deal.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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The manufacturers produce similar models with different names so their dealers can have "exclusive rights" in an area for a brand. Change the name and graphics and they can have multiple dealers in the same market selling essentially the same trailer. If you live in an area with dealers selling the various brands, you can generally play one against the other to get a better deal.
Great business model if the dealer giving the best prices can still make enough money to stay afloat.

Apparently this is why in GM's dealer network "reorganisation" up here in Canada, more of the dealers were cut in cities or towns that had both Buick/Pontiac/GMC (one network) & Chev (the other network) dealerships rather than locations that had only 1 dealership. They wanted to increase the individual dealer's margins & stop people playing 2 or more dealers off each other.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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You have to remember that the trailer manufacturers learned from the car people. They don't manufacture much, they assemble a group of parts, frame and axles from somewhere, refer, ac, water tanks (hot, cold, black, gray), stove, furnace, sinks, toilet, etc. All made by someone else. The more we can get out, the more we can sell. If two dealer's 10 miles apart have the same unit, then let them get business by service, price, special sales, etc. It's better for us and them to force them to be a better dealer, and the manufacturer doesn't have to do anything.

The down side is, 10 miles from me I have a dealer that sells Forrest River, but not the Work and Play that I have. Forces me to drive 25 miles one way for anything I want, as he claims he can't even get the parts. That's just his loss of ANY of my potential business. Bad dealer, I don't think so, someone on here bought a unit from him and gave nothing but praise. May be he just didn't like my looks, not everyone does. Unfortunately, many are also like car dealers, if you don't want what is on the lot, they don't have time for you. Their choice, their loss.
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:33 PM   #7
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I think another factor is the recent industry expansion and then the consolidation. For a few years there anyone (literally anyone) could get approved for $50K to buy anything...

They actually had a term called a NIJA loan for a home loan (No Income, No Job, no Assets). So many RV companies expanded like mad. They had literally millions of potential new customers that didn't even own a tent.

Then the banks & wall street went TILT and the free / stupid money dried up.
Now everything seems to be consolidating, but since most RVs are made of similar materials with similar features, the folks like Forest River are buying the brand names and dealer access.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:09 AM   #8
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Now everything seems to be consolidating, but since most RVs are made of similar materials with similar features, the folks like Forest River are buying the brand names and dealer access.
As has been posted, that the RV manufacturers are "assemblers" of outside supplied (not outsourced as they probably never built the components in the 1st place) parts, do you see the companies that have weathered the bad economy to rationalise their brands and or dealer networks?
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:41 AM   #9
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As has been posted, that the RV manufacturers are "assemblers" of outside supplied (not outsourced as they probably never built the components in the 1st place) parts, do you see the companies that have weathered the bad economy to rationalise their brands and or dealer networks?
I really have no expertise in this area, but I can guess!

My guess:

It would seem that they would want to keep the brands & dealers in the short run. If they were car companies I would say that they kill the brands, but RV's are marketed in a completely different way. When was the last time you saw an RV commercial on TV pitching a certain brand...

So long run.. I dunno.. Maybe keep them and reduce the difference to decals so they keep manufacturing costs low.

It's all a wild guess. But I figure you'll have your answer when interest rates go back up and someone with excellent credit/income is paying 12% on car/RV/home loans.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:38 PM   #10
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I have worked with dealer management systems for a decade or so - these are accounting/inventory systems for auto, motorcycle, motorsport and rv dealerships.

In general, RV manufacturers are still in the dark ages - most, if not all manufacturers have not adopted modern technology. The few that have have been very slow at best. It is still very much a Model-T type of assembly line. They have not widely adopted microfiche for part, let alone computerized lookup and exploded assembly views. Look at FR's web sites: there is not 1 phone number, address or contact me button - this is VERY early 20th century thinking.

Most of this stuff is only sold in North America, where gas is still very cheap and vehicles sold can pull them. The rest of the planet is not going to embrace RVing as we know anytime soon, probably never. There will never be a global market for RVs - well, in my humble opinion.

The car dealership multi-brand model has served the RV biz well. But the new GM, Ford and Chrysler have been forced to change - it no longer worked with the global economy. Olds, Pontiac, Hummer, Mercury, Plymouth and the list will grow - all had to vanish.

The RVW model is shaking the foundation of the RV industry: high volume, low margin. If more of them start opening, as their customer base gets younger and more computer literate - the FRs of this world will be forced to change - but it will be a while.

My 2 cents (Canadian cents that is...)

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Old 06-15-2010, 09:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by miatared View Post
I have worked with dealer management systems for a decade or so - these are accounting/inventory systems for auto, motorcycle, motorsport and rv dealerships.

In general, RV manufacturers are still in the dark ages - most, if not all manufacturers have not adopted modern technology. The few that have have been very slow at best. It is still very much a Model-T type of assembly line. They have not widely adopted microfiche for part, let alone computerized lookup and exploded assembly views. Look at FR's web sites: there is not 1 phone number, address or contact me button - this is VERY early 20th century thinking.

Most of this stuff is only sold in North America, where gas is still very cheap and vehicles sold can pull them. The rest of the planet is not going to embrace RVing as we know anytime soon, probably never. There will never be a global market for RVs - well, in my humble opinion.

The car dealership multi-brand model has served the RV biz well. But the new GM, Ford and Chrysler have been forced to change - it no longer worked with the global economy. Olds, Pontiac, Hummer, Mercury, Plymouth and the list will grow - all had to vanish.

The RVW model is shaking the foundation of the RV industry: high volume, low margin. If more of them start opening, as their customer base gets younger and more computer literate - the FRs of this world will be forced to change - but it will be a while.

My 2 cents (Canadian cents that is...)

Denis
Very good points. Remember though, Warren Buffet now owns Forest River and maintains that the internet is a passing fad that will die out in the very near future. Of course he as a few more dollars than I do, but he is still living in the dark ages you talk about with RV's
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:26 AM   #12
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"Variety is the spice of life!" is what a teacher I had used to always say,, but I think all it does is cause a lot of confusing! Its not just in the RV business but just about everything, have you tried to buy a TV lately? My goodness I bet there are hundreds of different brands and models! not to mention cars.. there must be thousands of models! I look at 5th wheels for almost 3yrs before buying.. Just too many choices
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:02 PM   #13
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One other thing I didn't see anyone mention is variety of models for someone to look at. Two dealers may have similar models to sell but different names but by the same manufacturer. Neither one has every floor plan available for visual inspection. The consumer, if like me, wants to see the floor plan firsthand, not something close and here's a brochure with I'm sure you'll love it. Chances are better to actually see the floorplan you're interested in if the manufacturer has two dealers relatively close to each other. Neither has a complete roster of unit floorplans but between the two they probably have it covered or are very close.
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:35 PM   #14
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I agree with cfsoistman in that we just did that. The dealer we wanted to purchase from didn't have the 23ss in stock but another dealer about 90 min away did. So we went to the other dealer and spent 2 hrs or so going over the trailer and decided that it was what we wanted. We did let that dealer give us a price but it didn't match our dealer and they couldn't finance it with our credit union because of being too far away. Anyway we then went back to our dealer and ordered it and it should be here in 4 wks and 6 days. We are hoping sooner but that would be wonderful.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:03 PM   #15
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:16 AM   #16
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Question

After reading the thread about the person unhappy w/ their Salem trailer, I was wondering if there is an hierarchy in the FR brands/modesl. For example a high end vs low end?

In the old days when Alfred P Sloan ran GM, the models were set up as such: Cadillac, Buick, Olds, Pontiac & Chevrolet. The thought was a person would buy a Chev then gradually work their way up the ladder.

Is there any consideration like this among the Forest River (and other manufacturers') brands or have they just been bought as others have posted for market share?
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:42 PM   #17
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On our way back from my last camping trip of the year, I met a truck pulling a TT w/ Shamrock by Flagstaff on the front. I wondered what the difference was from a regular Flagstaff. Looking @ the forum directory I see the Sharock is an expandable as opposed to a regular TT.

For the life of me I can't figure the rationale behind all these names. Why not call it a Shamrock by Forest River?

Rather than spending the money (miniscule in the big picture), why not improve their internet presence & quality control?

Coming out w/ more brands/lines/models just confuses the customer. Or maybe that's their intent.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:10 PM   #18
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What is amazing is just the sheer volume of different models and brands. We drove through parts of Myrtle Beach Travel Park a couple of weeks ago and I doubt there were two of the same thing in the whole place. And there several hundred sites in this campground. There were similar brand names but we didn't see two of the same model.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:51 AM   #19
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My opinion is that some models get a bad reputation and they change the names to suck in more people.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
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On our way back from my last camping trip of the year, I met a truck pulling a TT w/ Shamrock by Flagstaff on the front. I wondered what the difference was from a regular Flagstaff. Looking @ the forum directory I see the Sharock is an expandable as opposed to a regular TT.

For the life of me I can't figure the rationale behind all these names. Why not call it a Shamrock by Forest River?

Rather than spending the money (miniscule in the big picture), why not improve their internet presence & quality control?

Coming out w/ more brands/lines/models just confuses the customer. Or maybe that's their intent.
I'm not 100% sure but it could be that Forest River bought the Flagstaff Line from another manufacturer? Similar to buying Coachman. They keep the name so products remain familiar to customers. I saw some nice 5ers at Hershey that had a name by Cedar Creek and then saw Cedar Creek units by Forest River???????? Who knows? It sure gives you lots of choices though when looking for a new unit.
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