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Old 02-25-2016, 10:53 PM   #81
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George, thanks for posting those videos. Hopefully these automotive style assembly practices will eventually take a foothold in the NA market. I'd argue that having these modern, efficient and streamlined manufacturing techniques is what enables the wide variety of models each of these manufacturers can offer.

As far as the cassette toilets go, I don't think anyone really knows if they'd be accepted until you offer the marketplace a choice and how it is presented. If the tradeoff benefits are clearly explained, a certain segment may freely choose that option. If you can get much bigger fresh and gray tanks by having a cassette toilet, then I might consider it. Or if you can have a more useful bathroom cubicle by having a pivot head commode, it may also be worth it.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:56 PM   #82
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Remember the price in Europe includes VAT, Europe labor rates, and benefits. It may wind up costing Hymer less to manufacture the same product in the USA. Especially if they rely upon more US suppliers.
But they aren't. They are building in Canada.

I suspect they will reap the benefits of the difference in currency values. Also, they may be able to improve Roadtreks cost performance by sourcing parts from their European subsidiaries and partners rather than sourcing US produced parts and equipment.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:01 PM   #83
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I am wondering how much understanding there really is about the customers in North America who will be buying the European Design vans. I don't think they are traditional RV buyers and I don't think companies like Hymer will really be competing against the current North American RV manufacturers. I think there is a new segment of buyers who will be using these vans in ways that are not the traditional weekend campground use. This segment will be a more sophisticated buyer than the horde of people at a typical RV show all excited about the crappy units being sold by the mainstream manufacturers. I think a good example of a possible misunderstanding is the repeated statement that buyers will not accept cassette toilets and will want a black tank. How do they really know this is the case. I don't know if they have really studied the actual people who are likely to buy these vans. I can see where they may actually prefer a cassette toilet that is easy to dump at home after their weekend trip where the destination was not a traditional campground with dump facilities. I think there is likely a good sized untapped market here but I wonder how much anybody really understands what they might really prefer. It could be that there are not as many changes to the designs needed as has been assumed. Just my opinion, maybe they have done detailed market research and have a lot of data to use to drive design changes.
I pray Hymer does not try to Americanize their products. It seems many RV owners claim they want to be in nature but try to bring a smaller version of their home with them in a space constrained RV.

Plus I hope Hymer introduces design that is smarter and we don't see on any US RVs

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Old 02-25-2016, 11:05 PM   #84
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But they aren't. They are building in Canada.

I suspect they will reap the benefits of the difference in currency values. Also, they may be able to improve Roadtreks cost performance by sourcing parts from their European subsidiaries and partners rather than sourcing US produced parts and equipment.
I misspoke and meant North America. GM takes advantage of the labor rate differences by assembling cars in NA (Canada & Mexico). We still don't know where Hymer will decide to build it's NA production plant. It could be Mexico if the incentives are too good to pass up..
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:29 PM   #85
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I misspoke and meant North America. GM takes advantage of the labor rate differences by assembling cars in NA (Canada & Mexico). We still don't know where Hymer will decide to build it's NA production plant. It could be Mexico if the incentives are too good to pass up..
GM is slowly phasing down it's assembly presence in Canada because of the costs involved. The Oshawa assembly plant which was the biggie is down to minimal production these days....
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:31 PM   #86
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We've discussed before that Roadtrek has suffered for using alot of US sourced equipment.

If Hymer uses the Truma system, which I think they do, that comes from Europe, so that knocks out Suburban for furnace and water heater. There are cooktop and refrigerator vendors in Europe, and Truma also makes air conditioners. So I could see alot of the major systems and even the plumbing hardware (sinks, shower heads, toilets, etc) coming from European suppliers. Not only can they leverage their large buying power with these suppliers, but right now the items are probably a better deal bought in Euros.

Shoot, Winnebago is buying their cabinets from an Italian outfit. Surely they aren't paying a premium. So even those type of items could come from Europe.

But that does bring up a good question. Is Kitchner a manufacturing facility, or an assembly facility? If they are just assembling a pile of supplied parts and fittings, it may explain why they think they can add all this production capability.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:39 PM   #87
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In my view, all they really bought here is the production facilities, workers and a dealer network. The network being the primary thing needed here and the most valuable.
Those and after looking at their initial North American offerings they need a lot of expertise on American expectations in an RV.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:45 PM   #88
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I think they have indicated somewhere in all this rollout of the deal that the new manufacturing facility will be in or near Kitchener. When I toured the plant last week the guide mentioned that there was another building being prepared for production but said he knew nothing about anything to do with the Hymer manufacturing.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:51 PM   #89
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In the podcast on Mike's site, they mentioned a land acquisition in Kitchener for the new plant.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:58 PM   #90
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But that does bring up a good question. Is Kitchner a manufacturing facility, or an assembly facility? If they are just assembling a pile of supplied parts and fittings, it may explain why they think they can add all this production capability.
For the current models the facilities in Kitchener build all the cabinets. Molding of external body parts and tanks and the 210 body is outsourced I believe. All assembly and painting is done by Roadtrek. The Ecotrek and Voltstart would likely be assembled by outside companies since electronics manufacturing would not make sense at Roadtrek.
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:01 AM   #91
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For the current models the facilities in Kitchener build all the cabinets. Molding of external body parts and tanks and the 210 body is outsourced I believe. All assembly and painting is done by Roadtrek. The Ecotrek and Voltstart would likely be assembled by outside companies since electronics manufacturing would not make sense at Roadtrek.
I'm referring to the new facility for Hymer, not what Roadtrek is doing on their models. JH has said already that they build their Ecotrek & Voltstart electronics.
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:22 AM   #92
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I'm referring to the new facility for Hymer, not what Roadtrek is doing on their models. JH has said already that they build their Ecotrek & Voltstart electronics.
They may assemble the Ecotrek and Voltstart which is pretty straightforward but it is very unlikely that they produce the populated circuit boards themselves.
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:28 AM   #93
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Interesting thread and thanks for all the industry insights. Certainly looks like there is some consolidation going on and the RV industry is doing well again thanks to some 'creative destruction'.
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Old 02-26-2016, 02:55 PM   #94
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Here is a Hymer Sprinter 4x4 that I think would be a big seller over here. Raised twin beds in back could be used even by some of us old folks which allows a large storage bay in the rear.

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Old 02-26-2016, 03:28 PM   #95
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Here is a Hymer Sprinter 4x4 that I think would be a big seller over here. Raised twin beds in back could be used even by some of us old folks which allows a large storage bay in the rear.

Agree, this is a good compromise for a gentlemen off-roader. Not really an all-terrain (the big overhang is problematic), but a nice combination for a luxury outlander. I'm sure Hymer could convince MB to offer a 4x4 cut-away Sprinter chassis, which I believe is still not available in NA.

https://www.hymer.com/en/models/moto...-t-allrad.html

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Old 02-26-2016, 11:56 PM   #96
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Yes I like the 4x4 concept, but man is that thing butt UGLY! Sorry...
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:00 AM   #97
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Hmmm... I feel better about our video now!
LOL! Your video was a break-through! FYI - you should have felt great about your video - it was a fine piece of reporting - you asked questions, they answered them.

In hindsight, it is interesting to watch. Was JH's response to it (1) a very good performance or (2) was he absolutely clueless as to what was really happening. I think, maybe, a bit of both. But now he does not work for some investor group but rather a highly sophisticated, knowledgable RV company. It will be interesting to see how all this evolves.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:10 AM   #98
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Just read JH post on RT Group - list of top 10 recommendations from JH.

Generally I agree with them; most are commonsense "read the manual", " talk to your dealer" "have patience". Interestingly #10:

10. It's not a car or a furnace. It's an integration and build of 3500 components. It has shakeout needs. And so do you. When you bought your house, didn't you have to learn a lot? And did you have an owners manual? Here you do. Pull a Winnebago owners manual, and compare it to one of ours. Please.

That was a misguided, cheap shot.

No mention of all the drawings for your Winnebago model posted on WGO site. I still use them for my '99 VW EVC! Try finding drawings for your old RT.

What he should do is pull an Hymer manual and compare it to an RT manual. A Hymer motorhome manual is 200+ pages!

Oh, it is going to be fun watching this "transition". I am rooting for RT/Hymer to make it all work; not rooting for current RT management
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:15 AM   #99
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Yes I like the 4x4 concept, but man is that thing butt UGLY! Sorry...
That is not a concept vehicle, it is a current Hymer European product...

The interior doesn't seem ugly to me.

Are there any good looking vehicles with similar capabilities?

I personally think that functionality beats beauty for these vehicles..
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:28 AM   #100
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Just read JH post on RT Group - list of top 10 recommendations from JH.

Generally I agree with them; most are commonsense "read the manual", " talk to your dealer" "have patience". Interestingly #10:

10. It's not a car or a furnace. It's an integration and build of 3500 components. It has shakeout needs. And so do you. When you bought your house, didn't you have to learn a lot? And did you have an owners manual? Here you do. Pull a Winnebago owners manual, and compare it to one of ours. Please.

That was a misguided, cheap shot.

No mention of all the drawings for your Winnebago model posted on WGO site. I still use them for my '99 VW EVC! Try finding drawings for your old RT.

What he should do is pull an Hymer manual and compare it to an RT manual. A Hymer motorhome manual is 200+ pages!

Oh, it is going to be fun watching this "transition". I am rooting for RT/Hymer to make it all work; not rooting for current RT management
HYMER has invested millions of dollars into this acquisition and probably paid off some Roadtrek debt. When the honeymoon ends, it will be clear who will make the public statements going forward AND WHO WILL NOT.

If I were HYMER, I would pay for a Roadtrek customer satisfaction survey to see what customers greatest source of irritation comes from.

I hope HYMER nixes any hokey Roadtrek affiliations with groups currently affiliated with Roadtrek and ends any relationships where the line between advertising / spokespersons is not 100% transparent and disclosed.
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