Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Choosing a Manufacturer

Knowing what we were looking for helped us to focus when we went out looking at RVs.  We not only knew what we liked individually but we quickly learned what kind of things the other person liked or disliked.  There were many times when we took two steps into a motorhome and just turned around and walked out.  We instantly knew that we wouldn't like it and didn't want to waste another minute of time walking through it.

We also learned to stick to our price range.  After you've looked at a bunch of them, you'll begin to settle on all of the things that you like that are within your budget.  After looking a while, no one looking for a new $150,000 motorhome is going to be happy with one that costs $50,000.  And it's a waste of time for them to look at ones (except for decorating ideas) that cost $300,000.  By looking only at the type of motorhomes we wanted and staying in our price range, we were able to narrow it down to several manufacturers.

The manufacturers on our original short list were Fleetwood, Tiffin, Winnebago and Newmar.  I had liked some Newmars we saw at a show many years ago, but had dismissed them as a possibility because we had heard that the company was having financial issues (at the time) and we wondered if they would stay in business.

We really liked the Fleetwood Discovery 40E.  It seemed to meet all of our requirements and was a beautiful coach.  I was impressed by their owner's groups and the fact that Fleetwood was such a large manufacturer.

The Winnebago Tour was impressive, both for its floorplan and the fact that it was built by a company with such a long history in the manufacture of RVs.  The Tour is a definite step up from a lot of their models and it had a lot of the features we really wanted.

A few of the Tiffin models and floorplans came very close to what we wanted.  I was, and still am, quite surprised by the large number of Tiffin owners to absolutely love their coaches and the company that built them.  That in itself is worth a lot, and it caused us to pause and consider giving up some of the things we wanted in the coach just to get that manufacturer.

In the middle of our search, we discovered Entegra. I had been looking for coaches (in the $150-$400K range) that were well-built and which, in the eyes of many, exceptionally well constructed.  Entegra popped up as being essentially equal to Newmar in this category.  The thickness of their walls and the overall quality was amazing.

So, in the end, we had it down to three manufacturers:  Tiffin, Entegra and Newmar.  Tiffin for pure customer satisfaction and Entegra & Newmar for build quality.

Would it be possible to get both?  It was not possible to get the same build quality in a Tiffin as in the other two, but which of the other two had the best customer satisfaction?

The answer was Newmar.  When we started querying blogs, forums and anything else we could find, their customer satisfaction was immense.

We first fell in love with some of Newmar's floor plans.  We liked them so much I was afraid to do the deep dive to find out about the company, customer satisfaction, and the quality of their product.  But wow!  Was I pleasantly surprised!  A strong company, tremendous following, and - quite literally - unsurpassed construction quality.  The more I did the research, the more I liked Newmar.  Just about everything I could find on Facebook, the Internet, Youtube, review sites, irv2.com, and by talking to people was positive.  And they have a very active community of users that hold regional and national rallies and provides support to Newmar owners.

Despite our liking the Discovery floorplan, Tiffin's reports of owner satisfaction, and Entegra's equally-amazing build quality, we went with Newmar.  Newmar was the whole package.  And, as a bonus, they allow customers to do a lot of customization of coaches when you order them.  We had our eye on a couple of different models.  Now it was time to choose.

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