Expedition Vehicles: ridiculously overpriced or not

#31
While I think Earthroamers are grossly over priced, their sales numbers are proof that I'm just too poor hahah. Although I think if your bank account has 6-7 zeros behind the first digit, it dosnt really matter.

Having priced out some components i'd like in my future rig to the tune of $205,000 CAD I can see how things can get out of hand. $13,000 for two 360ah lithium batteries for starters :Wow1:
 
#32
I can't speak for others, but a true expedition truck contains a lot of very expensive components and engineering. Durring my time at Unicat I learned that it takes A LONG time to construct one of those trucks. They need to be perfect without compromise. You also need highly skilled and trained staff to manufacture these trucks. These workers are very hard to find and don't come cheap. This all reflects in the price.

Saying that, there are a couple of vehicles out there that look very impressive, but when you look into the details you ask yourself about the pricing...

To sum it up: Quality costs money.
This is exactly right.

For example, on a true expedition vehicles like a 'small' unimog U1300 build, a simple, low budget, quality window and door package costs about $10,000. Seitz is junk, outbound is the bare minimum, and KCT is even more money.

Additionally, these trucks are huge and take a large amount of space to build. Rent isn't free. Rigging is expensive (gantry, forklift) to be able to move cabins around and fabricate heavy parts. Insurance isn't cheap, not just garagekeepers but liability. Employees are expensive and hard to find, and often useless for custom work because they wont know how to approach problems they need your permission and expertise to solve. By the time you've solved it, it can seem like you should have done it yourself.

Then don't forget about setting aside a significant amount of money for warranty repair, especially if you are doing custom work.

These guys that are making proper expedition vehicles are not just making massive margins and relaxing. There are definitely better ways to make money if that's the goal, I guarantee it. Stock models do work a little better, but complicated large stuff like this is extremely hard to scale unless you compromise quality. That's how companies like Sportsmobile and FWC make money.

Talk is cheap, start a competing company. I have found most builders in this space to be really friendly because they know how hard it really is, good on ya if you can make it. Better be an awesome fabricator, salesman, designer, and be willing to work 80 hours a week for free (or more realistically at a loss) for at least a couple years. Oh, and I hope you have access to an interest free 250k (at the bare minimum) to get your first rig done.
 
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MLu

Adventurer
#33
Additionally, these trucks are huge and take a large amount of space to build. Rent isn't free. Rigging is expensive (gantry, forklift) to be able to move cabins around and fabricate heavy parts. Insurance isn't cheap, not just garagekeepers but liability. Employees are expensive and hard to find, and often useless for custom work because they wont know how to approach problems they need your permission and expertise to solve. By the time you've solved it, it can seem like you should have done it yourself.

Then don't forget about setting aside a significant amount of money for warranty repair, especially if you are doing custom work.
This. I think a lot of people are confusing margins with profit. Margins cover overhead, and a couple hundred custom-made road vehicles with extremely particular owners is going to cause some overheads.
 
#34
Apart from Blissmobil, whose range it seems is expanding, everyone else I've looked at (in Europe) makes what you ask them to.

So you have to pay someone to design and make every piece as a one off unless you do it yourself. Even reasonable labour costs plus reasonable parts costs soon add up. And if you start on a new full size truck chassis that starts out expensive from day one.

Hydronic heater, compressor fridge (and freezer?), calorifier, (custom?) water and waste tanks, lithiums? The list price of all this stuff is easily findable, but putting it all together so it works reliably and fits somewhere while leaving a space you can live in is perhaps hard to do well. All of that from one company? Today our build only has an empty box mounted on an old truck with electrics lined up and that's I think twelve companies in three countries so far, two years later and having previously lived in a Mog camper for three years so we kind of knew what we wanted (and didn't).

Outbound windows have prices on their website, a KCT quote for similarly sized windows were at least twice of Outbounds. You could buy an old camper to get the doors and hatches but they won't insulate or lock as well as decent ones and then you may get condensation on the inside because that will be the thinnest wall section. No problem for the odd weekend away. Crawl through hatch, gas bottle hatch, two for the "garage" (plus a third to get our spare spare tyre out), two insulated access holes down to the gearbox and back of engine, four windows around the dinette, two for the bedroom, one each for the bunk, kitchen and bathroom. One only tiny roof hatch in the bathroom, so another hatch in the wall the opposite end to the main door. All windows with security covers, blinds and mossie nets, net for the entrance door. All then painted body colour, delivered and fitted. That lot almost cost as much as the box. Then a one off sub-frame, after the old truck bed is disposed of, chassis altered to suit and made good. Spare tyre mount on a chassis extension. Three small storage boxes, made square but to suit the space available and cost a lot. Reversing camera. Second fuel tank (new custom tank several thousand, new take off from a truck needing a bigger custom tank €400 (and losing maybe 100l of capacity that a custom tank would have given for the same chassis length), but new mount, feed and changeover valve) etc etc. And etc etc etc. Plus a bit. On a truck from the 70's with no electrics to cause problems.

If you want teak, corian, KCT and a new, big, powerful truck brought together entirely at one point of contact who will advise and steer you, and put bubbly and chocs on the pillow on collection then more than half a mil seems where you will start at without big mark ups IMHO :)
 
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zb39

Adventurer
#35
Discussing whether these rigs are over priced is different from discussing their business model. They are not over priced when you consider the business model. People are buying them, so there you go. I think the real issue is wether they are worth the asking price. That can only be answered by the buyer. For me it was no. I have been to the factory, I have looked at the competition. I went with the vehicle in my sig and a Host mammoth. I have more room in the Host. This was the biggest factor for my wife and I. We can actually dance in the Host. I do think the ER are neat, but I won't buy one and I can afford it. I don't get that much more OR ability with it. We live in the country so getting away from it all is an everyday thing. We own 175 acres outside of a very small town. (less than 2k people). For us it is more about traveling and doing things than getting way out away from everything and everybody and sitting there and looking at the scenery. This is why America is a GREAT place. Everybody can buy what they want.
 
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#36
This is exactly right.

For example, on a true expedition vehicles like a 'small' unimog U1300 build, a simple, low budget, quality window and door package costs about $10,000. Seitz is junk, outbound is the bare minimum, and KCT is even more money.

Additionally, these trucks are huge and take a large amount of space to build. Rent isn't free. Rigging is expensive (gantry, forklift) to be able to move cabins around and fabricate heavy parts. Insurance isn't cheap, not just garagekeepers but liability. Employees are expensive and hard to find, and often useless for custom work because they wont know how to approach problems they need your permission and expertise to solve. By the time you've solved it, it can seem like you should have done it yourself.

Then don't forget about setting aside a significant amount of money for warranty repair, especially if you are doing custom work.

These guys that are making proper expedition vehicles are not just making massive margins and relaxing. There are definitely better ways to make money if that's the goal, I guarantee it. Stock models do work a little better, but complicated large stuff like this is extremely hard to scale unless you compromise quality. That's how companies like Sportsmobile and FWC make money.

Talk is cheap, start a competing company. I have found most builders in this space to be really friendly because they know how hard it really is, good on ya if you can make it. Better be an awesome fabricator, salesman, designer, and be willing to work 80 hours a week for free (or more realistically at a loss) for at least a couple years. Oh, and I hope you have access to an interest free 250k (at the bare minimum) to get your first rig done.
The past year and a half, I've been working with a start-up handmade, wood travel trailer company... What you just said is 100% true... Looks easy from the outside, but few are willing to put their life savings and homes on the line to build a successful company... And yes, the founders do work for free for extended time periods...

Check out www.homegrowntrailers.com to see what we are building...
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#38
I think its more of a symptom of the stock market. Lots of people out there sitting on lumps of cash and the matket at all time highs doesnt look like a spot to park large sums if money. A neighbor sells big power yachts been in the biz for 40yrs and hes never seen so many people walk in and pay cash for his boats.

Power boats and RVs are viewed as easy to operate items. You just turn the Key and go right? The crazy stock market and low interest ie earned money on money has created lots of cash horders who spend it on big expensive toys.
 
#39
It's a simple equation of time and luxury that sells these rigs. I spent months and months building out my first rig, and spent $75k on it. Very functional, but not luxury. And I would never do it again. Just too much time involved. With an Earthroamer you get tons of luxury, warranty, a write off potentially, and no wasted weekends trying to understand mppt vs pwm solar charge controllers and what is best for your needs as it relates to you solar array and battery capacity. Show up, write a check and everything just works. Beyond that, have you seen the resale value??? It's absurd. You could buy a rig, cruise around for a year, and sell it immediately for almost what you paid for it. It's insane. That's why these things have a wait list.
 
#40
I am much happier doing a RTW trip in a 30 year old Land Rover or Jeep...at last resort a Toyota...than in any expensive rig that is just going to scream 'rob me.' In my opinion, most of the people who buy those rigs will ever actually go anywhere except national parks. Instead, spend $3000 on a basic truck, $10,000 (max) getting it sorted out and spend the other $100,000 on your round the world trip.
We need a "like" button around here!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#41
We need a "like" button around here!
This is why I like my beat up Subaru. I dont worry about it parked at remote trail heads. My SLK 350 on the other hand gets very selective parking destinations cause people just screw with nice stuff or percieved weathy peoples junk. Even though mine was a barn find and cost less than the subaru
 
#42
There will be a time, in the not too distant future, where the music will stop and some folks will be left standing... true some big rigs command a very high price at this moment...prices that are emotion driven and disconnected from the quality of the builds, and, at the next financial downturn, they will stop selling, used prices will plummet, as it has happened before... I don't know when, but when emotion drives value, not quality, it is a house of cards...at some point, will crumble...
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#43
There will be a time, in the not too distant future, where the music will stop and some folks will be left standing... true some big rigs command a very high price at this moment...prices that are emotion driven and disconnected from the quality of the builds, and, at the next financial downturn, they will stop selling, used prices will plummet, as it has happened before... I don’t know when, but when emotion drives value, not quality, it is a house of cards...at some point, will crumble...

Unlike the unchecked funny money loan days today’s costly toys especially the odd ducks where loans are tough to start with are largely cash deals.

The builders may fade away when spending stops, but there will be lots of interesting deals to be had when the next down turn happens. Money is both made and lost when the market has big corrections. When everyone was getting out in 07-08 some of us were going all in. It’s crazy my kids college fund started in 09 has been up over 63% yr after yr. But buying high priced stuff today is too rich for my blood. So as you say when the drop happens I might be shopping again. Though I’ll probably add another rental to my income generating program first😜
 

Peneumbra2

Badger Wrangler
#44
A FEW THOUGHTS ON HIGH-END EXPEDITION VEHICLES

In general, the maxim "You get what you pay for" is compatible with reality, although paying $12,000 for a Prada purse seems a bit… deranged. (I've never been able to find one that matches my 5.11 tactical pants, but maybe that's just me.)

Regarding the high-end Expo rigs (Earthroamer, GXV, Action-Mobil, etc), I believe that the top-of-the line components they incorporate can justify their initial cost IF you have need of that level of mechanical competence: driving across Antarctica, spending a couple of years hanging out in Mongolia, commuting repeatedly on the San Diego Freeway…

Necessary? No. I knew a guy who crossed the Sahara Desert several times in a garbage truck, and came out just fine, albeit a tad fragrant. So there you go.

Considering these vehicles, one concern comes to mind. Depreciation: will an Earthroamer hold a large percentage of its initial value (cost) after, say, five years? I'm thinking it might, given that there appears to be an increasing demand for larger off road camperlike trucks. And assuming that the initial owners don't trash it. Having said that, allow me to provide a personal, similar example.

A couple of years ago, my co-conspirator and I purchased a 1987 40 foot long, 500 horsepower Newell motorhome, in great shape, with 170,000 miles on it. Newells are all custom-built, and are about expensive a coach as you can get - everything is as high-end as one can find in a vehicle. The Newell we bought sold new in '87 for $400,000: mighty thin air at that altitude.

BUT - we paid about eight cents on the dollar for this thing. Depreciation on RVs is unbelievable, which was great for us, and not so great for the seller. So I wouldn't be all that surprised to see used GXVs et.al going for less that astronomical prices after a few years of initial ownership. Upkeep is expensive on large complicated buildups, but I'm thinking that the desire (lust?) for them (for whatever reasons, rational or not) will propel a decent market in the next few decades, assuming that humanity doesn't come to a flaming and abrupt conclusion.
Given all of that, you may still not be interested in a $500,000 off road Winnebago. In which case, I know where you could buy a good, used garbage truck with a terrific provenance for next to nothing...
:ylsmoke:
 

jkam

nomadic man
#45
I think initially, the high cost of a lot of high end products is R&D. Then making sure what you developed is a good product.
In some cases that can be very expensive and time consuming.
Getting your money back on these long and expensive projects can be tricky.
If you can build up enough sales to offset some of the costs then you can keep the price lower.
If you make custom, one off vehicles, that is hard to do.
 
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