Any place for a new manufacturer in the industry ? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-26-2017, 04:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
...I saw a Tesla in Sebring with Ohio plates. I assumed it must have been trailered there behind a bulgemobile. How could you drive it from Ohio to Florida?...
Don't know about the East, but out here they have a network of so-called "super-charging" stations along major freeways. There's one at the Burger King in nearby Holbrook on I-40. It's pretty low key- unless you were looking for it you might not even realize it's there. Supposedly you can drive from NY to LA.
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Old 02-26-2017, 05:06 PM   #22
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Escape puts the lie to your "drawback" comment. Escape had over a one year back-order time frame. Their solution was not to retrench but to invest in expansion and continue their very flexible build options. So far it's being very successful.

Walt
Gosh Walt, you caught me in a big 'ole lie buddy. I am so ashamed!
Let's see, on the list of innovators we have Escape.
.
On the list of non-innovators I think we have (Walt will correct me) :
Bigfoot,
Casita,
Egg Camper,
Lil Snoozy,
Lil Joe,
Oliver,
Parkliner,
Scamp,
Trillium,
Armadillo,
Happier,
Pelsue,
______
Burro,
Boler,
U-Haul,
Casita,
Scamp,
Compact (Hunter)
Amerigo,
Avion,
Beachcomber,
BIOD,
Cadet,
Captain,
Play Pac,
Ventura,
Oxygen,
Miti-Lite,
Love Bug,
Havasu,
Cloud,
Trail-Mite,
Surf-Side,
Perris Pacer
Biggar,
Companion,
Dolphin,
ECO,
EGG,
Fiber stream,
Geographic,
Gypsy,
Lander,
Liberty,
Lite House,
Minit,
MKP Grandesse,
Northern Lite,
Play-Mor,
PlayPac,
Quantum5,
Sun-Trek,
Tote n Tarry,
Campster,
Trailorboat,
UNIK,
Ventura,
Willerby,
Aalite,
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Old 02-26-2017, 05:38 PM   #23
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Have to agree with your tongue-in-cheek comparison, Tom. Escape is very successful, but there's nothing particularly innovative about their design or methods. Time-tested approaches executed well seems to describe Escape's success. That and a favorable exchange rate.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Time-tested approaches executed well seems to describe Escape's success.
As an Escape owner, I can tell you this isn't it. It's ALL about customer service and customer desires. You WANT different upholstery... you can have it. (Mine came from Hawaii). You WANT a different color Formica? You can have it. Flooring? Hey... there's the standard, but you like something else? We can do that. How about electrical stuff? Extra 12V plugs, 110 over "there". That's doable... Even the decals on the outside colors are left up to the new owner to decide. Mine are black... like a "little black dress."

We've seen "new" manufacturers to the all-molded world. But it's Escape that says... hummm, maybe... okay... let's see if this is doable. Others give you a choice. Take it or leave it.

Is my Escape perfect? Of course not. I didn't get a cabana boy! And there's no self-cleaning/waxing exterior. But I know without a doubt, my trailer was built for ME and there's not another one like it.

Love the one you're with.. make memories!
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:11 PM   #25
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Well said Donna, plus the build quantity is much better hence the price.

I think they took the page from Bigfoot.
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Old 02-26-2017, 10:23 PM   #26
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Well said Donna, plus the build quantity is much better hence the price.

I think they took the page from Bigfoot.
Truth. Everything comes at a price point. I had to buy my upholstery and pay shipping from Hawaii. Plus it cost me $100 extra. So what? I'd rather have what I want.. rather than a choice of two colors/types. The same for just about every change from "standard." Everything comes with a cost. But mine is mine is mine. I couldn't be happier. Plan, budget and make your choices (no matter the brand). Make memories
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:11 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
...It's ALL about customer service and customer desires. You WANT different upholstery... you can have it....You WANT a different color Formica? You can have it. Flooring? Hey... there's the standard, but you like something else? We can do that. How about electrical stuff? Extra 12V plugs, 110 over "there". That's doable... Even the decals on the outside colors are left up to the new owner to decide.

We've seen "new" manufacturers to the all-molded world. But it's Escape that says... hummm, maybe... okay... let's see if this is doable. Others give you a choice. Take it or leave it.
...
You are correct on all counts that Escape will go above and beyond. But they are not the ONLY manufacturer that does that. Oliver has never built two trailers exactly alike due to all of the above (except they offer many colors of molded fiber-granite instead of Formica.)
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:05 AM   #28
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Any place for a new manufacturer in the industry ?

Returning to the original question... which was about whether there is room for a new all-molded fiberglass manufacturer...

One thing all of the newer start-ups have in common is they target the middle and higher end of their respective segments.

Looking at the Happier Camper website this morning, I see the "Essential" configuration, which is closest (functionally) to a stripped Scamp 13S (minus a propane stove), sells for $23K. The Scamp- with a stove- sells for $10K. An unfinished Relic shell starts at $16K, about the same as a finished Scamp 13 deluxe. Understand, I'm not knocking either trailer- they offer much that Scamp doesn't, both in terms of design and finish. But they are unaffordable for a lot of people who would like to own an all-molded trailer.

In the mid-sized and larger segment, most Escapes approach or cross the $30K mark with options and customization. An Oliver approaches $60K. Parkliner appears to be headed the same direction with the latest redesign.

I'd love to see a new player target the entry-level market. There are those that don't need custom upholstery or fiber granite counters. (Again, I'm not knocking either of those things for those who want them and can afford them.) But what some need is a simple, durable alternative to a budget sticky or tent trailer, something that can be towed by a vehicle with a 3500 pound tow rating, something that offers family-friendly layouts as well as set-ups for couples.

To accomplish that and challenge Scamp, they'd really have to focus on the manufacturing process, keeping costs down without sacrificing the benefits of an all-molded shell. Scamp has the advantage of having long amortized its start-up expenses. Is it possible? I don't know, but I'd like to think so.
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:39 AM   #29
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I 100% agree with you Jon. I've never considered an entry-level trailer to be "less than," no one makes fewer memories just because their trailer was less expensive or smaller. The color of the Formica in my 5er doesn't make it work any better than a standard color Formica.

I'm actually encouraging my daughter and SIL to purchase an enclosed utility trailer. We can buy used RV windows locally for pretty cheap. They're easier to insulate and finish on the inside because of having mostly flat walls. Fold down bunks for sleeping. Using gas portable stoves and propane lanterns. A wide-entry rear door for loading all the bicycles. I think they'd have a blast! They asked if they could buy my Scamp. I said No. They have four little girls under age 5! Talk about sleeping in an egg carton....
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:33 AM   #30
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Jon while I would dispute your figures relating to our trailer most of what you say i agree with as it really is an apple to oranges comparison. When we started with our idea to build a new trailer it was just like you said as we were going to try to build the cheapest fg trailer we could . Our plan was to build a cheap trailer we could use for rental use and make available to those with lesser means. A couple of important things we learned on the way and which most other manufacturers would agree is that building a fg trailer is hard to mass produce and also there has been a lot of innovations and products available now that we're not available to earlier manufactures.
Another thing that that matters to to people when they are looking to buy a new trailer is the "wow" factor and the "wow" cost more, I think many newer campers are looking for that and are willing to pay extra for it.
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:36 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Mikmay View Post
Jon while I would dispute your figures relating to our trailer most of what you say i agree with as it really is an apple to oranges comparison. When we started with our idea to build a new trailer it was just like you said as we were going to try to build the cheapest fg trailer we could . Our plan was to build a cheap trailer we could use for rental use and make available to those with lesser means. A couple of important things we learned on the way and which most other manufacturers would agree is that building a fg trailer is hard to mass produce and also there has been a lot of innovations and products available now that we're not available to earlier manufactures.
Another thing that that matters to to people when they are looking to buy a new trailer is the "wow" factor and the "wow" cost more, I think many newer campers are looking for that and are willing to pay extra for it.
I do hear what you say about the challenges of manufacturing a low-cost molded fiberglass trailer. I followed your posts on the HC1 design as well as Robert Johan's Nest design, so I have some idea of the process. I have tremendous respect for the work done and the end product that resulted. Neither, of course, ended up being an attempt to target the budget-oriented market.

My intention in mentioning prices was simply to point out the large gap, price-wise, between Scamp and the newer, upscale 13' designs. It is not to say that either is a bad value. As to the "wow" factor, the amount of attention my Scamp gets on the road is an indication that it is an attractive design in its own right, even if it doesn't rise to the "wow" level.

If Scamp can sustainably manufacture and sell a very basic but fully functional all-molded trailer for a little over $10K, I'd like to believe that someone else could at least come close to that price point. But perhaps not. Neither Escape nor Casita found it advantageous to stay in the small, entry-level market, and they already had the molds. Maybe there will never be another Scamp. If so, I say "Long live Scamp," because for many like myself, it is our entry point into the world of all-molded fiberglass towables.
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:38 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
As an Escape owner, I can tell you this isn't it. It's ALL about customer service and customer desires. You WANT different upholstery... you can have it. (Mine came from Hawaii). You WANT a different color Formica? You can have it. Flooring? Hey... there's the standard, but you like something else? We can do that. How about electrical stuff? Extra 12V plugs, 110 over "there". That's doable... Even the decals on the outside colors are left up to the new owner to decide. Mine are black... like a "little black dress."

We've seen "new" manufacturers to the all-molded world. But it's Escape that says... hummm, maybe... okay... let's see if this is doable. Others give you a choice. Take it or leave it.

Is my Escape perfect? Of course not. I didn't get a cabana boy! And there's no self-cleaning/waxing exterior. But I know without a doubt, my trailer was built for ME and there's not another one like it.

Love the one you're with.. make memories!
Hi: Donna D... Gee... I got a "Self cleaning" Escape. If I want it cleaned I do it... Myself!!!
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:45 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I 100% agree with you Jon. I've never considered an entry-level trailer to be "less than," no one makes fewer memories just because their trailer was less expensive or smaller. The color of the Formica in my 5er doesn't make it work any better than a standard color Formica.

I'm actually encouraging my daughter and SIL to purchase an enclosed utility trailer. We can buy used RV windows locally for pretty cheap. They're easier to insulate and finish on the inside because of having mostly flat walls. Fold down bunks for sleeping. Using gas portable stoves and propane lanterns. A wide-entry rear door for loading all the bicycles. I think they'd have a blast! They asked if they could buy my Scamp. I said No. They have four little girls under age 5! Talk about sleeping in an egg carton....
Hi: Donna D... Meanie!!! Nothing wrong with a carton of grade A small eggs!!!
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:53 AM   #34
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Donna,
Why do you have two trailers?

If the priority is to get out there and make memories, a Scamp 16 can do that for your daughter and SIL. Sounds like they're willing.


Just my 2 cents. ;-)

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Old 03-01-2017, 11:27 AM   #35
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up sizing options?

Long list of FB trailers!

Still trying to determine what the next size up (from 16' Scamp) might be for us. Parkliner web site only lists smaller units and Escape looks like a long long wait for a new one.

WOW factor aside, the old Form Follows Function design concept is still high on our list for a FB trailer that we can pull.
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:53 AM   #36
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Two things I want in a fbg trailer:
  • Bed that folds away into a couch (without having to remove bedding).
  • Fairly inexpensive 700 watts of solar panels and batteries.
One thing fbg manufactures should do is look at tiny houses and see if some on the innovation there can be brought into tiny trailers. It's really a shame to waste half the trailer on a bed that is used about 1/3 of the day.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:46 PM   #37
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Donna,
Why do you have two trailers?

If the priority is to get out there and make memories, a Scamp 16 can do that for your daughter and SIL. Sounds like they're willing.
Fran
I've owned the 16' Scamp since 2002. I bought the Escape 5.0TA in 2014.

The Scamp is too small for six people (and six bicycles!). I've got it setup to sleep 3, but it's perfect for one!
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Old 03-01-2017, 03:09 PM   #38
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A honeycomb approach with two thin CF layers with a matrix of insulation would be very strong and light, albeit more costly.
Bonair Oxygen was innovative in its time.
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Old 03-01-2017, 05:32 PM   #39
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Carbon fiber is out, there is no good use for it in a composites trailer. Strength to weight is not an issue. Your not only adding to the cost of the fiber but also the move to epoxy resins which will add further costs. There just isnt a good cost to structural use benefit.

The reason you see new larger trailers being built is the sales profit to manufacturing costs offset. Once you start getting over 25 employees the cost to support the employees goes way up. With composite trailers you are dealing with chemicals and there are specific and expensive costs for training, medical watch for employee's health and environmental and hazardous waste issues to be dealt with. These are all costs that newer, bigger and prettier trailers have to pay for.

The margins are not there for 13 foot trailers to foot the bill. Most of the smaller trailers are limited by employee numbers. A small shop with monthly safety meetings, hazardous waste control, and workman's comp insurance can be handled in house with current staff.

Once you go over a certain level of employees you need expensive people to support the added employees. A safety training supervisor, and environmental person, and personnel director another person or service for payroll it just keeps growing. Then you go from made to order, to inventory supply and sales staff and boom your in another whole realm of costs with office and staff to support the effort.

There are a whole lot more reasons to keep small with a process that keeps the shop busy, sales at max and a profit margin under control.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:46 PM   #40
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What I've thought about doing is buy a nice heavy-duty frame from Harbor Freight. Then get a weather balloon and blow it up while laying on the frame. Then fiberglass the heck out of it from the outside. THEN cut a doorway, some cute porthole windows, and finish it up inside and out. Talk about making it your own--and DIY!
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