November 18, 2005

 

 

 

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL (alfa@rvinteractive.com)

James N. Perdue

Members of the Alfa See Ya Forums on Yahoo’s web pages

 

 

Re:     Your November 1, 2005 Letter to Alfa Leisure, Inc.

         

Gentlepersons:

 

We are in receipt of your November 1, 2005 correspondence advising us of your concerns regarding your Alfa Leisure, Inc. motorhomes, including primarily the issues relating to (1) the living room slide out motor and (2) air intrusion.  Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts in writing and to share with us your sincere concerns. 

 

We at Alfa are always looking for ways to improve our products and customer service.  We absolutely welcome your input and appreciate the time you have devoted, and the enthusiasm you have shown, in developing the Yahoo user groups and sharing information about your experiences as Alfa owners. 

 

We understand how important your Alfa motorhome is to each of you, especially those who are full-timers.  The design, features and components of an Alfa motorhome make it a great vehicle for full-time use.  We hope that by now you have realized that the people here at Alfa truly care about you, our customers, and understand the importance of our relationship with each of you.  Because of this, we always strive for consistency, quality and constant improvement as we develop, build and service our recreational vehicle products.

 

We have implemented a customer service and warranty system that allows us to track the warranty claims relating to our products nationwide.  This system is obviously more “real time” and detailed than any other database relating to Alfa products.  We use this information to assist our customers in getting repairs performed promptly.  It also permits us to identify problems, seek solutions and transmit the information to our production and design team to incorporate into our new units. 

 

Against this backdrop, we would like to address the issues you have raised in your letter.

 

1.                 Living Room Slide Out Motors

 

Alfa was made aware of this problem long before your November letter and has taken extensive steps to investigate it, determine a cause and develop a response. Through our warranty system, Alfa identified the problem with slide out motors beginning around June 2004.  It appeared that the problem coaches were in serial order, often grouped together in batches.  We believe that in most cases the problem originated with a defective component in the slide room motors that we received from our supplier.  One of the reasons for many of the repeat repair attempts was that we were replacing defective motors with new motors that had the same defect.  We worked with our supplier to identify the cause and it now appears that the issue has been resolved.  As a result of their investigation, Alfa technical personnel also found other factors that might contribute to failures.  This led Alfa to develop and publish detailed service bulletins for its dealers and service personnel relating to slideout motor failures.  As early as June 2004, Alfa published a service bulletin relating to slideout failures in general.  This was followed in November of 2004 with a more detailed service bulletin relating specifically to slideout motor failures and proper diagnosis and repair of this problem. 

 

At this point, we believe that the problem has been adequately reviewed and addressed.  If any of your members has experienced this problem and feels that it has not been adequately addressed, we encourage them to contact Alfa’s Customer Service and Warranty Department so that we can assess the situation and work to resolve the issue.  You should contact either Danny Hetzler, our Director of Customer Service and Warranty, at (800) 373-3372, ext. 156, or Steven King, our Warranty Manager, at ext. 259, and they will gladly work to address this concern.

 

2.                 Air Intrusion And Sealing

 

You next raise the issue of air and moisture infiltration in Alfa motorhomes.  Of course, this is an inherent issue with any motorhome (since only submarines and high-altitude aircraft are truly water and air tight vehicles).  Indeed, by design a certain amount of airflow must exist to make the motorhome livable (and not a stifling sweatbox filled with condensation).  Nevertheless, as early as May or June 2004, Alfa became aware that certain of its motorhomes were experiencing air infiltration-related issues that we believed were beyond the norm.  Through input from our customers and our warranty system, Alfa was able to identify the problem so that our technical staff could begin working on a practical solution.  These efforts resulted in Alfa’s developing and publishing a detailed service bulletin in July 2004 that was directed at identifying and correcting the problem.  Alfa has also incorporated its findings into its current production processes.

 

Additionally, Alfa is now using three fog machines in various parts of its motorhome plant to check for air leaks and proper sealing at the dash penetrations, air conditioner supply and return ducts.  We are also documenting the results of this testing and any necessary adjustments or repairs in the production line.

 

We believe that we have adequately reviewed and addressed the infiltration concern.  Again, if any of your members has experienced symptoms which they believe are related to air infiltration and feels that it has not been adequately addressed, we encourage them to contact Alfa’s Customer Service and Warranty Department so that we can assess the situation and work to resolve the issue. 

   

3.                 Quality Control Procedures

 

You have suggested improving our quality control and testing.  We agree with you that these are vitally important concerns for our business and our relationships with our customers.  Because we believe in quality, we have implemented many changes and improvements at Alfa in this regard.  To begin with, Alfa’s Quality Department constantly reviews its own procedures and is working to drive quality checks into each department of Alfa’s production facilities.  We have implemented significantly longer test drives of our units and more detailed checklists to insure that we catch and address problems before our motorhomes ship to our dealers.  We also have developed communication and data sharing processes between our quality, production and customer service departments so that we can more quickly identify and correct problems that arise. 

 

In the eighteen months, Alfa has also made changes to our management team, with the direct intent of improving the quality of our products and the service we provide to our dealers and customers.  We have a new President, Larry Jones, who has brought to Alfa his experience in working for companies like General Motors and Allied Signal.  He has been steadily and successfully improving our production techniques and processes, with quality and safety as our primary goals.  Since the time when most of your members’ motorhomes were originally built, we have brought new production managers into both our motorhome and fifth wheel plants.  These gentlemen report directly to Larry Jones and interface with Alfa’s entire leadership team on a regular basis to monitor our company’s performance and the quality of the recreational vehicles.

 

Overall, we can assure you that over the past eighteen months we have redoubled our efforts as a company to improve the design and overall quality of all our products.  From what we have seen thus far, our efforts are paying off and our products are better than ever.  Of course, we have also stood behind the products we have built and sold.  We offered each of your members a limited manufacturer’s warranty and went so far as to purchase a four-year service plan for every unit we sold.  We have always done our best to honor our warranty and to repair warranted problems as they developed and were reported to us.  We believe that quality extends to every area of our company, including our customer service and warranty department, where we support the people who have invested in our products. 

 

4.                 Customer Service Information Sharing

 

Lastly, you request that Alfa consider assigning someone from its management team to become an active member of your Yahoo discussion group.  Alfa has decided that the best approach is to develop its own, improved website and to continue to use its established customer service procedures to best address customer concerns.  This approach assures that all Alfa customers receive a reasonable and fair level of attention and service.  We can assure you that our management team is very involved in monitoring the performance of our customer service and warranty division.  Moreover, our warranty system collects nationwide data on service and repairs, which is then communicated to our quality, production and product development departments so as to constantly improve upon our products’ performance, livability and durability.

 

We are presently developing a new Alfa website that will provide Alfa owners and potential owners with a wealth of information about our products.  We are expecting to have the new site up in the first quarter of next Year.

 

In closing, we thank you for your concern and for the support and loyalty you have demonstrated toward our company and its products.  We hear you and have taken your concerns to heart (even before you raised them in your letter!!).  For over 30 years, our company has dedicated itself to building quality homes for our customers.  It is a never-ending process of constant review and improvement.  We have made our share of mistakes, to be sure, but we have never shied away from trying to make things right whenever we could.  It has always been the Alfa way to build its products well and to stand behind them.  We intend to keep following this approach and to be vigilant in our efforts to build quality products.

 

Very truly yours,

 

 

____________________________  _____________________________

Johnnie R. Crean                                    Larry Jones

Founder, CEO                                        President

Alfa Leisure, Inc.                                   Alfa Leisure, Inc.     

 

 

____________________________             _____________________________

Michael S. Kelly                                     John Nelson

Vice President, General Counsel                Director of Quality

National Sales Administrator                     Alfa Leisure, Inc.

Alfa Leisure, Inc.                                                     

 

 

____________________________             _____________________________

Tom Holder                                         Sal Flores

Director of Quality Assurance/Audit           Plant Manager - Motorhomes

Alfa Leisure, Inc.                                   Alfa Leisure, Inc.     

 

 

____________________________             _____________________________

Ron Brown                                            Art Rivard

Director of Engineering and                      Director of Sales

Product Development                    Alfa Leisure, Inc.                         

Alfa Leisure, Inc.     

 

 

 

 

____________________________             _____________________________

Danny Hetzler                                       Steven King

Director of Customer Service/Warranty      Warranty Manager

Alfa Leisure, Inc.                                   Alfa Leisure, Inc.     

 

 

____________________________            

Ove Ellingsen                                                                            

Director of Purchasing                                     

Alfa Leisure, Inc.                                           

 

MSK:wp\11-18-05 Crean to Perdue.doc