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Old 04-18-2019, 10:29 PM   #21
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Totally agree although I do think it may take a bit of time to get implemented. They will likely be going into an existing facility, probably the Shirley plant, that is set up very old school if it is still like when we went through some years ago. The production crew will probably be an interesting challenge, as they likely will be many of the original Roadtrek building crew who will be very experienced, certainly motivated, but not used to working in a (hopefully) well run, efficient, participative environment. They probably will also will be dealing with left over, less than stellar quality, old parts and designs for a while. Certainly not insurmountable and if done well, the results will be very rapid improvement and enthusiasm. Let's all be hopeful.
They also may have missed the chance to rehire the best Roadtrek employees. There’s a good chance many of the best employees have already moved on to new jobs.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:30 PM   #22
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I wonder if it is reasonable to continue with most of the current RT designs. They will surely stop using the Chevy chassis and maybe focus on the Promaster initially for any new models if they are using Westfalia designs. I think the short Sprinter would be a good option since there isn’t really much competition there. Take time to hire back the right people who are receptive to a new management approach, have them involved in retooling the production process, and pick a couple designs to start production. Will definitely take awhile...

I think, without knowing any details of inventory levels of existing stuff or how quickly they would be able to design new products, it just may not be economically feasible to not use a limited number of existing models for a while. The Roadtrek floorplans seem to have been quite popular as have some of the particular models, so the new owner should have at least a few options of cleaning up the designs and processes on the best and most popular ones and phasing them in as they get done. It would take fractions of the time that it would to go from scratch. It will also give them a good, staged, time frame for incremental training of the staff. As mentioned, the Chevies are likely dead unless they have stock of them already, and Sprinters more expensive to build for the most part, so I would also think the Promasters would be first on list, with the possible exceptions of an Agile variant or the Adventurous CS.


I would disagree that any particular demographic group looks at quality issues much differently than others. I think in all groups everyone that has issues with design or build quality would tell you they would do it differently. I can't imagine anyone saying "boy do I hate that, but I wouldn't do it any other way or be careful putting it together".



We also never really find anyone who doesn't like their Roadtreks or promote them, but the same is true for all brands, so doesn't mean much. It also doesn't mean they were trouble free or that they don't have things don't fit right or rattle a lot. Unfortunately, this is also true of most all the other brands, too.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:46 PM   #23
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These vans are huge investments for most people. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:50 PM   #24
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I don't know how to respond. There are two many threads about the Roadtrek purchase. Maybe they should be consolidated or closed and a new one emerge.

My opinion, as I said in one of the threads, is Rapido bought primarily a brand name, Roadtrek and so far, if reports are true, about the warranties, they are concerned about protecting the brand name and leaving Thor to deal with Hymer, Carado, Sunlight, etc. branding in North America.

In effect, a new company could emerge and probably shed anything of the past with types of Bs, design of Bs and perhaps marketing of Bs because they should "sunset" (pun intended) anything Hymer or holding company related since 2011 and bring back, but in an entirely new way, to separate the brand from the old companies. They stated eventually 200 employees which probably means a few concentrated models and not the smorgasboard of the past. Their expertise is rooted in European design, they shouldn't try to emulate North American design. I said before the Airstream Westfalia was just ahead of its time in 2005 but that's the bold design thinking they should introduce because they have the expertise, that and the poptop models.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:08 PM   #25
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It will be great to see some innovation coming like this one on their Sven-Hedin model on a new VW Crafter (no longer Sprinter chassis). Interesting how they designed extension for sleeping across.

https://www.westfalia-mobil.com/en/n...din-rmi-gb.php

https://www.practicalmotorhome.com/n...lia-motorhomes

“Sliding sleeping arrangements
The point of difference concerns the rear bed. With an internal width of 1.832m, Westfalia has come up with a clever solution to provide an internal bed with a length of up to 2m – an electrically operated slide-out section on the nearside.
Retracted during transit to avoid disturbing the ’van’s aerodynamic performance, the slide-out extends on demand when pitched, to form a sleeping surface that measures 2 x 1.35/1.0m using a cold foam mattress.
The headboard is hinged so lies flat when the slide-out deploys, and is tipped up in its ‘daytime’ position. And the two-piece bed base also has a ‘cargo’ mode, meaning it can be folded to increase storage space inside the rear barn doors."

New Westfalia factory in Gotha Germany -

https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/mo...ns-new-factory

Interesting numbers:
“The new factory has around 6,000 square metres of floor space and allows for more expansion in the future if required. It will employ between 50 and 60 people in the first full year of business, who between them will build some 1,000 campervans per
year
in Gotha.”
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:15 PM   #26
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Interesting information. 6000 sq meters is a good size factory. I think the Shirley location is a bit smaller than, but not sure.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:30 PM   #27
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I am still of the mind to think the best long term strategy is to capitalize on the Westfalia designs in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd. Roadtrek is a well known brand in the Class B RV world but Westfalia is probably more well known to the general public. Add some Westfalia models and see which get the sales vs the Roadtrek designs.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:01 PM   #28
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Maybe they will introduce a Westfalia pop up camper based on the Mercedes Metris platform. There are similar products in the US market today (GTRV, Sportsmobile, etc.), but a Westy branded product re-introduced in the US could sell very well. We looked at Metris based campers before buying our Roadtrek and would have seriously considered a Westy. Also, Westy has interesting floor plans on the Sprinter platform. Most importantly for me as a RT Agile owner is to have parts availability (body panels, water tanks, etc.) and of course honoring our warranty would be great.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:15 PM   #29
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Several posts have been removed from this thread as they were either directly insulting or waaaay off topic. These are the site rules: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/mi...ork&page=rules

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Old 04-19-2019, 05:25 PM   #30
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Maybe they will introduce a Westfalia pop up camper based on the Mercedes Metris platform. There are similar products in the US market today (GTRV, Sportsmobile, etc.), but a Westy branded product re-introduced in the US could sell very well. We looked at Metris based campers before buying our Roadtrek and would have seriously considered a Westy. Also, Westy has interesting floor plans on the Sprinter platform. Most importantly for me as a RT Agile owner is to have parts availability (body panels, water tanks, etc.) and of course honoring our warranty would be great.
..... like Jules Verne model - https://www.westfalia-mobil.com/en/m...ules-verne.php

Key benefit for pop top camper vans is “garagability”, no issue with storage, easier to use as a second vehicle, no issue parking on streets like in Santa Barbara with maximum height of 6’10”.

I agree with Greg that Westfalia name is still known by many in NA, my kids remember it well.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:08 PM   #31
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..... like Jules Verne model - https://www.westfalia-mobil.com/en/m...ules-verne.php

Key benefit for pop top camper vans is “garagability”, no issue with storage, easier to use as a second vehicle, no issue parking on streets like in Santa Barbara with maximum height of 6’10”.

I agree with Greg that Westfalia name is still known by many in NA, my kids remember it well.
I agree that the Metris model would be a good starting point for bringing Westfalia back into North America. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be a big seller if priced right.
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:36 PM   #32
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I wonder if smaller Metris-based vans would sell better under the Westfalia name? The connection with classic VW Westfalia campers has market traction with young people as well as nostalgic boomers.

The Roadtrek name is more associated with old-school, full-size Class B’s. I would prefer a revived Roadtrek refocused on build quality rather than whiz-bang technology. It’s a pity to see the Chevy vans disappear, but I can see that writing on the wall. Some low-tech but well-made models on Promaster or Transit gas vans could fill the entry-level void. it’d be nice to have at least one model that gives up full self-containment in favor of a loft arrangement with room for a small family..

Of course there will still need to be some high-end, high-tech models on the Sprinter platform to chase the upper end of the market. That side of the product line should focus on a premium post-purchase customer service experience. A long warranty is only as good as the dealer network that services it. From what I can see, being new to the Roadtrek family, dealer support is spotty.

Am I dreaming?
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:10 PM   #33
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Default Rapido Philosophy

Rapido's Philosophy may give some indication of what we can expect.

"RAPIDO has evolved from a quality French brand into a European group, becoming a market leader in motorhomes. ... However, the company has remained a family business and preserved its spirit of craftsmanship with genuine attention to detail."

"SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, PERMANENT COMMITMENT

Manual work rather than mass-industrialisation

Eco-friendly design heat pumps, lighting that adapts to natural lighting levels, etc.

Protecting the local economy while reducing the environmental impact caused by long distance transport

94% of our suppliers of European plywood hold PEFC certification, which guarantees sustainable forest management

RAPIDO motorhomes boast the latest in technology for cleaner vehicles

Every year: 13,000 pallets refurbished 160 tonnes of cardboard recycled 25 tonnes of plastic recycled 160 tonnes of sawdust turned into fuel

Every year, we organise some 20 factory tours with over 1,000 people stepping into the world of RAPIDO’s expertise

200 trees planted in a forest in the Mayenne region in 2018."
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:39 PM   #34
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I wonder if smaller Metris-based vans would sell better under the Westfalia name? The connection with classic VW Westfalia campers has market traction with young people as well as nostalgic boomers.
I love the concept of a small RV that would fit under my 7ft garage door. And as I am not getting any younger, I don't know how much longer I will be up to driving a large 20 foot van. I really like that flipping around of the pop-top. It would be nice to be able to tweak the floor plan a little.

Why could it not be called the "Roadtrek Westfalia"? Rapido now owns both names.
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:52 PM   #35
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I love the concept of a small RV that would fit under my 7ft garage door. And as I am not getting any younger, I don't know how much longer I will be up to driving a large 20 foot van. I really like that flipping around of the pop-top. It would be nice to be able to tweak the floor plan a little.

Why could it not be called the "Roadtrek Westfalia"? Rapido now owns both names.
I’m not sure I like the reversed pop-top. Most people will want to enter and exit through the side slider, and you won’t have stand-up headroom there.

Of course they could use both names. But I think “Westfalia” will sell them, not “Roadtrek.”
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:09 PM   #36
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I’m not sure I like the reversed pop-top. Most people will want to enter and exit through the side slider, and you won’t have stand-up headroom there.

Of course they could use both names. But I think “Westfalia” will sell them, not “Roadtrek.”
I suppose one key question on using the Westfalia brand and designs is the dealer network. EHGNA set up a separate dealer network for the Hymer branded vehicles but I wonder if it was effective or not. It is a different customer base for Westfalia and they definitely need to target marketing effort for Westfalia toward that customer base.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:40 PM   #37
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We bought 2 Westfalias in 1977 and 1985, both purchased directly from VW dealers. The second one via EU delivery. Direct purchase from a VW dealer was a major benefit, practically no negotiation, no worries about warranties, single point for all items from VW.

I wish VW would bring their T6 unfortunately they prefer to cheat on emission. On the positive note, recently VW brought their California Camper Van to California to gain feedback from automotive reporters.

Roadtrek – Westfalia could sell Metris/Westfalia models directly via Mercedes Dealers as well, it could be easier to step into a car dealer selling at fixed prices which is a recent trend. EU delivery could be possible if Metris is made in EU. Negotiating at RV dealers would likely be a major pain especially for young families.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:41 PM   #38
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I suppose one key question on using the Westfalia brand and designs is the dealer network. EHGNA set up a separate dealer network for the Hymer branded vehicles but I wonder if it was effective or not. It is a different customer base for Westfalia and they definitely need to target marketing effort for Westfalia toward that customer base.
When I said ”Westfalia” will sell them, not “Roadtrek,” I meant that in a figurative sense. The name “Westfalia” is more likely to attract buyers in the target market.

But you raise an interesting question. I think some buyers are turned off by traditional large RV dealerships. If Rapido wants to reach new markets, they need to explore new distribution models.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:45 PM   #39
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We bought 2 Westfalias in 1977 and 1985, both purchased directly from VW dealers. The second one via EU delivery. Direct purchase from a VW dealer was a major benefit, practically no negotiation, no worries about warranties, single point for all items from VW.

I wish VW would bring their T6 unfortunately they prefer to cheat on emission. On the positive note, recently VW brought their California Camper Van to California to gain feedback from automotive reporters.

Roadtrek – Westfalia could sell Metris/Westfalia models directly via Mercedes Dealers as well, it could be easier to step into a car dealer selling at fixed prices which is a recent trend. EU delivery could be possible if Metris is made in EU. Negotiating at RV dealers would likely be a major pain especially for young families.
As I recall, the new van plant in SC is going to manufacture both the Sprinter and the Metris.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:45 PM   #40
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I wonder if smaller Metris-based vans would sell better under the Westfalia name? The connection with classic VW Westfalia campers has market traction with young people as well as nostalgic boomers.

The Roadtrek name is more associated with old-school, full-size Class B’s. I would prefer a revived Roadtrek refocused on build quality rather than whiz-bang technology. It’s a pity to see the Chevy chassis disappear, but I can see that writing on the wall. Some low-tech but well-made models on Promaster or Transit gas chassis could fill the entry-level void. it’d be nice to have at least one model that gives up full self-containment in favor of a loft arrangement with room for a small family..

Of course there will still need to be some high-end, high-tech models on the Sprinter chassis to chase the upper end of the market. That side of the product line should focus on a premium post-purchase customer service experience. A long warranty is only as good as the dealer network that services it. From what I can see, being new to the Roadtrek family, dealer support is spotty.

Am I dreaming?

I don’t think the tech is the issue with RT. We have an all electric Agile (with AGM not lithium) and the initial issues we had with the van (now all solved) were due to sloppiness and lack of attention to detail at manufacture. The van with Alde heat, solar etc is very very capable. Built with quality in mind RT could be a lower price, non custom alternative to Advanced RV.

Also I think they should focus on better training and qualifying service locations; many really don’t know how to service the more complex components. In my experience both of those things should be achievable within a profitable structure.
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