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Old 12-06-2015, 04:51 PM   #201
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I'm going to jump in here - the comment by Hymer rep about having quality control people onsite is likely the basis of JH's irritation. The Hymer comment speaks to the big issue with RT.
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:56 PM   #202
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My take on it is that the Hymer rep likely divulged details of where they may be headed with Hymer that have not been finalized so not ready to be revealed in public (likely the contract manufacturing agreement has not been signed yet).
That is one plausible interpretation. Another one is that it IS finalized, but that the wording of the agreement was an artful compromise that did not actually use the term "contract manufacturing". Many contracts are carefully worded to allow both parties to put their own spin on it. We were hearing Hymer's spin, and it may not have been to RT's taste.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:07 PM   #203
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The world of contract manufacturing a product like a complete RV can get pretty complex and can get ugly really quickly if things don't work out well.

There is such a huge range of how responsibility gets split up, and interpretation is everything. You can have a contract that says all the warranty work belongs to the customer, or there can be a 100% compensation for it from the vendor, and everything in between.

Hopefully, Hymer will have good folks onsite and have access to everything they need. Vendors are infamous for hiding problems from auditors and on site quality folks. One thing that I can almost guaranty is that the old "trust us we are great and smarter than you" is not going to fly with an experienced German auditor or QC person.

As many has said, it will be good for Roadtrek, unless they fight it too hard an it falls apart early.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:19 PM   #204
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Many contracts are carefully worded to allow both parties to put their own spin on it.
Big mistake.

I have done more than a few contracts (design & construction)in my time and being explicit on what each party's responsibility is and who makes what decisions is always clearly spelled out. Yes, you can still have "interpretations", but one tries to anticipate that in the contract prep and minimize it. Of course, there are always clauses for "dispute resolution", but those are for "when everything else fails".

It is possible there is not really a full contract in place at this time. It may just be what is called a "letter of intent", so the parties can start working together. Usually, the final contract has to be done within a specified time, maybe 30-60 days.

To have this level of difference in"spin" literally days after the "Cooperation" announcement does not bode well.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:24 PM   #205
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If I were betting, I would place my long-term wager on the holding company selling Roadtrek to Hymer. Roadtrek has made a major impact in the N.A. market and has a proud history but is facing stiff competition in this market. For Roadtrek to remain competitive and grow would require modern manufacturing methods and facilities requiring large capital investments from the owners. A new Hymer facility in N.A. could produce both branded products in the short-term but the Roadtreks will ultimately morph into Hymer-Roadtreks over time. EVERYBODY WINS!!!

If what I'm describing has a kernel of truth, I can understand Roadtrek's CEO, Jim Hammill frustration in not having control of the messaging. His hand at this time may be limited and is concerned how his Roadtrek leadership hears these announcements.

When working for an international Fortune 500 company, we always sought out new markets to support continued growth. While we had the product expertise, we did not have the local infrastructure relationships we wanted (suppliers, financials - banking, talent, etc.).

If market conditions were uncertain or we did not have a well recognized brand in the new market, we would set up a strategic alliance with a smaller yet established company. The partner knew from inception the relationship could possibly develop into an acquisition over time. We brought much needed capital investment / cash and we gained time to enter the market faster and establish a brand in the new market.. If things did not work out, no one would suffer a major financial loss.

However, once a certain point is reached reality prevails and the smaller company recognizes this is a once in a lifetime situation to be part of a larger and better funded company.

Imagine the following...
  • Over the last 12 months Hymer has been watching sales of Class Bs and Class C's in the U.S. grow nicely. Hymer has been researching entry into our market since 2012.
  • After a year negotiating with Spartan and going to dealer-only shows Hymer has decided to go all-in on the N.A. market (establish their own separate distribution, sales, and marketing channel)
  • The Hymer / Roadtrek contracting relationship provides Hymer time to setup major manufacturing in North America for Canada, U.S., and Mexico production and sales.
  • Could the real endgame result in Hymer building a new modern N.A. state-of-the-art facility for their purposes and Roadtrek have a contract manufacturing relationship with Hymer going forward (modern manufacturing, access to Hymer supply chain, quality control methods, etc.)?

Acquisition of Roadtrek by Hymer would give Hymer a trained N.A. RV workforce (displaced Great West Vans employees too) they could easily train during the contracting period. Roadtrek needs capital infusions to grow and compete against Winnebago, Thor and others long-term.

If I were betting, I would place my long-term wager on the holding company selling Roadtrek to Hymer. For Roadtrek to remain competitive and grow would require modern manufacturing methods and facilities requiring large capital investments. A new Hymer facility in N.A. could produce both branded products in the short-term but the Roadtreks will ultimately morph into Hymer-Roadtreks over time.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:08 PM   #206
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George B - You must have had an inside track on this info!

So RT and Hymer jumped from "let's start dating" to "I'm staying the night - what's for breakfast" real fast.

Well, 2016 will be interesting. Seems like the Class B Forum will have lots to discuss. Now I need to check out the RV show schedule for 2016
Nope. No inside track. Just wishful thinking that Hymer gets in the game for a more competitive design-oriented RV market. ...but it is not clear, judging from Jim Hammil's reaction, that it's a done deal!
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Old 12-07-2015, 06:37 AM   #207
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The post on the new Roadtrek warranty got the response I predicted. How about another positive comment about Roadtrek to see what the response will be...

I think Roadtrek has a great brand name, not too many letters to type, easy to pronounce, descriptive of their product, I think it is just great
I believe Roadtrek still has allot of respect from many people. It's just more fun to talk about their failings and bumbling management lol.
...And besides, Hymer has even LESS letters,
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:08 PM   #208
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I believe Roadtrek still has allot of respect from many people. It's just more fun to talk about their failings and bumbling management lol.
...And besides, Hymer has even LESS letters,
Hymer does have less letters but it does have the problem that when auto fill replaces it with hymen all the geek boys who reside here will start snickering instead of keeping their minds focused on the topic at hand. Geeks are easily distracted by the mention of female body parts since females are a mysterious creature that they have never encountered in real life. Don't know if Hymer will work as a brand name in the US though, it surely would never be chosen by one of those groups that specialize in coming up with brand names. On the other hand a humorous commercial based on the name Hymer could get some attention during the Super Bowl.

And yes, it is clearly more fun to discuss failure than success so I like to throw out something positive about Roadtrek on occasion to allow the boys to have their laughs...
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:30 PM   #209
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Hymer does have less letters but it does have the problem that when auto fill replaces it with hymen all the geek boys who reside here will start snickering instead of keeping their minds focused on the topic at hand. Geeks are easily distracted by the mention of female body parts since females are a mysterious creature that they have never encountered in real life. Don't know if Hymer will work as a brand name in the US though, it surely would never be chosen by one of those groups that specialize in coming up with brand names. On the other hand a humorous commercial based on the name Hymer could get some attention during the Super Bowl.

And yes, it is clearly more fun to discuss failure than success so I like to throw out something positive about Roadtrek on occasion to allow the boys to have their laughs...
Heh!---------------
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:43 PM   #210
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Anyone know if they using the Hymer pronunciation they use in Europe - "hoomer" - or are they changing this for the US?


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Old 12-08-2015, 12:21 AM   #211
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Anyone know if they using the Hymer pronunciation they use in Europe - "hoomer" - or are they changing this for the US?


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That would be a challenge, Good luck on any attempt to get the general US public to pronounce anything in any consistent way...

When I moved to Boston with my basic Midwestern accent I was asked many times "Where are you from, you have an unusual accent?" 😳
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:41 AM   #212
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I had no idea there was that pronunciation. Interestingly, the videos on the Hymer-USA website don't have any spoken words ... I had hoped that would answer the question.

Edit: On listening to Jacqueline on the FitRV interview ... in the first minute or so, she says the word "Hymer" just like James does and it rhymes with that other female thing.
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:00 AM   #213
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The Brits pronounce it like we do - Hymer. There are many youtube videos.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:50 PM   #214
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Was anyone aware that Hymer USA posted the Fit RV interview on their Facebook USA site?

I hope Hymer success in the USA. If I were buying, it seems like the Cassette Toilet may work for many. Does not look too messy to deal with as a concept.

Thetford Cassette Toilet with Upgraded Features.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:19 PM   #215
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Was anyone aware that Hymer USA posted the Fit RV interview on their Facebook USA site?

I hope Hymer success in the USA. If I were buying, it seems like the Cassette Toilet may work for many. Does not look too messy to deal with as a concept.

Thetford Cassette Toilet with Upgraded Features.
Well then, they may not have any "issues" with the content of the interview and the interviewers...
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:30 PM   #216
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Well then, they may not have any "issues" with the content of the interview and the interviewers...

Uh-oh! They're going to get into trouble. Might even get kicked off the RT FB page
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:38 PM   #217
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Many of your expedition class vehicles as well as pop-ups and truck campers use a cassette system. It has it's advantages and it's not so objectionable for certain users.

I don't think I'd consider it a deal breaker. What I'd like to see though is the rotating bowl fitted to a fixed black tank. I think the abilitiy to move the bowl has some advantages in a small bathroom. In fact, the ability to move the toilet and the sink makes a much smaller bathroom far more useable, and allows it to be smaller and the saved space used for storage or make the other accomodations larger.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:41 PM   #218
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Jim has been pretty silent since the interview kerfuffle...
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:51 PM   #219
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Our next van is likely to be a 4x4 Transit and I am planning to go with a cassette toilet with a rotating bowl. Other than emptying it more often I don't see any downsides. No black tank, dump pipe, macerator underneath with clearance issues and easy to find places to dump the cassette tank.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:58 PM   #220
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Jim has been pretty silent since the interview kerfuffle...
Not surprising, if Hymer is taking a relatively big stake in all this. I can tell you from personal experience that the Germans have very low tolerance for lack of discipline and poor judgement in business areas. I would expect (and hope) that the message from Roadtrek will become more consistent and professional as the Hymer's influence gets more in place.
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