Are Earth Cruisers & Co. overpriced?

Howard70

Adventurer
So where does all this wealth I must have had come from? I taught at a local university for 32 years after going to graduate school for 3 years after being in the Peace Corps for 3 years after undergraduate school after graduating from high school. Married filing jointly we only made more than $120,000 in five years and then not over $150,000. Inherited $70,000 or so from one side of the family and maybe $90,000 the other. Does that really qualify us for the Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates leagues at any level? I guess it must by @Pentium's criteria because we've owned not one, but two (shudder) EarthCruiser EXPs! We've spent a lot of money on a lot of stuff over the years (houses included) and the three things we would absolutely buy again are either of those EarthCruisers and a sailboat. None of those were anywhere close to wise financial investments but nothing else we've owned has provided as much adventure and satisfaction.

It seems to me that spending money is a personal thing and quality of life value or happiness return on the dollar simply can't be compared among us.

Howard
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
I’d love to see an individual realistically build the same thing for a similar price including a fair price applied to labor hours. Doable but it takes years unless you have a lot of free time.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
So where does all this wealth I must have had come from? I taught at a local university for 32 years after going to graduate school for 3 years after being in the Peace Corps for 3 years after undergraduate school after graduating from high school. Married filing jointly we only made more than $120,000 in five years and then not over $150,000. Inherited $70,000 or so from one side of the family and maybe $90,000 the other. Does that really qualify us for the Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates leagues at any level? I guess it must by @Pentium's criteria because we've owned not one, but two (shudder) EarthCruiser EXPs! We've spent a lot of money on a lot of stuff over the years (houses included) and the three things we would absolutely buy again are either of those EarthCruisers and a sailboat. None of those were anywhere close to wise financial investments but nothing else we've owned has provided as much adventure and satisfaction.

It seems to me that spending money is a personal thing and quality of life value or happiness return on the dollar simply can't be compared among us.

Howard
Bingo
 
If you can afford it, or justify the debt, or not a DIYer, then what’s wrong with buying an Earthcruiser et al. If you’ve worked hard for your money or had a windfall, and you will get plenty of use and enjoyment out of it, then good on you.

As much as I would love a ready-made, proven rig, I can’t afford it, so as a debt-phobic DIYer I’m currently building my own (and enjoying the process). My budget is £65K (90K USD, 122K AUS), and with a 2015 low-mile Canter, out-sourced subframe-bare box, and self-done fit-out, it’s looking like the budget will be met up to the last cent and no more. To keep the missus onside, it is being built to a certain comfort level, using trustable brand-name kit where we can justify the cost. But the time spent researching stuff, seeking bargains and planning the next steps is almost the same as the time spent actually hands-on building.

Of course none of my budget includes the many hundreds of hours of the time spent building and researching. Earthcruiser and others have premises costs, staff wages, a profit to be made, an expected quality to uphold etc etc, so I think their prices are quantified.

What really annoys me is people who, whether they can afford it or not, buy the big rig or boat and it sits on the driveway or at the marina and is used once a year if lucky!
 
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gatorgrizz27

Active member
Well, I found the first 2 pages of this thread from 2014 an interesting read in 2022 :)

Let's be honest, these vehicles were NEVER a good value for money, yet there have always been people willing to buy them new (after all this world is not without Gates's and Bezos's of all calibers). And that's what ultimately determines the prices - demand.

According to this page on EC site current base price of both EC EXP and FX is $400K. Compare that to the base price of $220K in 2014 posted by Michelle in post #10 of this thread. If you felt bad paying $250K back then, knowing that today it it would set you back around $450K should make you feel much better :)

Somehow web archive doesn't have snapshots of that page saved after Sep 15 2019 and the first snapshot is dated Jan 8 2016.

So available EXP base price history is:
Apr 2014 $220K (Michelle's post. Though she didn't specify it was EXP, it's a reasonable conclusion considering the prices of both EXP and FX in Jan 2016 - see link above)
Jan 2016 $240K (+9% in under 2 years)
Sep 2019 $255K (+6% in 3+ years)
Jan 2022 $400K (+36% in under 3 years)

So current COVID situation has inflated the prices on these vehicles faster than ever before and very well demonstrates my point - the prices are not about the cost to develop, build the vehicles and run the business with some reasonable profit, but rather about "what we can get away with", as even at current prices the waiting lists must be longer than ever before...
They also should be realizing that expanding the business to produce more vehicles might satisfy the crazy demand and in turn drive the prices down (including on used vehicles, what indirectly affects the brand's prestige), but they woudn't want that to happen, would they? Why work more to make the same amount of money that simply raising the prices gives them anyway?
As much as I dislike the principle of “charge as much as we can get away with”, as a business owner myself I have been taking that approach more lately. Demand has been insane, and skilled labor is a bottleneck. They can’t necessarily just build twice as many vehicles, even though they could sell them. I don’t even have time to go and look at jobs where people are lining up to hand me money, due to needing to keep existing work on track. Yes, I need to hire and train more employees, and have been doing that, but it’s not quick or easy.

What happens at ”old“ pricing is lead times stretch out to 2-3 years, people say “forget it” and walk away, likely never returning. The solution is to raise prices to throttle the demand to the workload you can handle, and maintain reasonable lead times and customer service, as well as the reputation of your business. It’s not purely about greed.

Interestingly enough, it seems like some of the wealthiest people are the ones who refuse to pay “premium pricing“, likely because they are used to being taken advantage of because they can “afford it.” They tend to be very particular and want upgrades, changes, custom projects, etc that add extensive time that is difficult to charge appropriately for once the project has started. They end up happy and then come back for another project which you now quote accurately up front, as you know what you’re getting into. Suddenly, they are shocked at the increase and think you’re overcharging them.

The other major factor for “normal people” the last couple years has been a boom in ”work remotely” and inflated housing prices. All of a sudden you don’t have to go into an office every day, schools were close in many areas, and your house is worth $250k more than you paid for it. If you sell it, you’ve got to buy something else that’s overpriced.

Or you buy an earthroamer for a year or two and travel until things “return to normal.”
 

rruff

Explorer
As much as I dislike the principle of “charge as much as we can get away with”, as a business owner myself I have been taking that approach more lately. Demand has been insane, and skilled labor is a bottleneck.
Funny thing is that this is all government caused... in the middle of a severe economic recession!

The initial stimulus seemed very poorly targeted and excessive. Ok, in the rush to get something out quickly, maybe that's the best they could do. But they kept adding more, and it never was well targeted! It's very baffling to me. Most people made more money not working than they did working... and had lots of free time. You shut down a bunch of services, but throw $$$ at people who are idle, and they'll spend it on stuff... like crazy. So the people who are building stuff have a huge increase in business, and can't meet demand. Massive disruption. Meanwhile many of those services that were shut down are going bankrupt. It's absolutely nuts. We actually had the strange phenomena of bad news regarding covid, resulting in rallies in the stock market... because it meant more stimulus was coming!

In the case of overland vehicles or vans, many people were forced to work remotely, so why not fix up a rig and live and work in it? It doesn't take very many getting this "new" idea before the slow and predictable pace of sales in this market gets overwhelmed.

And I certainly can't fault any business for raising their prices and not even trying to expand. When things go back to "normal" there's going to be a glut of many products, and demand will tank.
 

yabanja

Explorer
This thread in retrospect answers itself. The Earthcruisers when the thread was started were an extreme bargain. Many owners have broken even or even profited on them when selling them two to three years down the road. When considering the cost of competitors on the global market(there isn't much to compare in the us) they were underpriced from the beginning. As far as the current prices go. I would say they are finally priced properly and will likely hold the bulk of their value in coming years. Particularly, if inflation ramps up.

That having been said, I could never afford one and am glad to have the skills to build something at least half as good!

Allan
 

SkiFreak

Crazy Person
Building your own camper can definitely be a cheaper option, but only if you have the skills and don't factor in your own labor and R&D costs.
On top of all of the physical hardware costs, commercial entities have to recoup their labor costs and make a profit too, so it is absolutely no surprise to me that a good quality expedition camper costs a small fortune.

As an example of this...
I spent about $1000 buying a dozen or so different types of toolbox latches in the hope of finding one that was built well and had some resemblance of security.
Each one of those latches was tested to destruction, so none were usable afterwards. They all ended up as bin food.
The results of my testing was that nearly all of the available latches were, out of the box, next to useless when it came to security. There were hardly any of them that I could not get into is less than 2 seconds!

I am not running a business, so I cannot recoup any of those costs, but finding a decent latch for all of my hatches was something I felt the need to do, so I just had to wear that cost.
Other DIY builders may not be as anal as me in this regard. :)
 

yabanja

Explorer
Well, I found the first 2 pages of this thread from 2014 an interesting read in 2022 :)

Let's be honest, these vehicles were NEVER a good value for money, yet there have always been people willing to buy them new (after all this world is not without Gates's and Bezos's of all calibers). And that's what ultimately determines the prices - demand.

According to this page on EC site current base price of both EC EXP and FX is $400K. Compare that to the base price of $220K in 2014 posted by Michelle in post #10 of this thread. If you felt bad paying $250K back then, knowing that today it it would set you back around $450K should make you feel much better :)

Somehow web archive doesn't have snapshots of that page saved after Sep 15 2019 and the first snapshot is dated Jan 8 2016.

So available EXP base price history is:
Apr 2014 $220K (Michelle's post. Though she didn't specify it was EXP, it's a reasonable conclusion considering the prices of both EXP and FX in Jan 2016 - see link above)
Jan 2016 $240K (+9% in under 2 years)
Sep 2019 $255K (+6% in 3+ years)
Jan 2022 $400K (+36% in under 3 years)

So current COVID situation has inflated the prices on these vehicles faster than ever before and very well demonstrates my point - the prices are not about the cost to develop, build the vehicles and run the business with some reasonable profit, but rather about "what we can get away with", as even at current prices the waiting lists must be longer than ever before...
They also should be realizing that expanding the business to produce more vehicles might satisfy the crazy demand and in turn drive the prices down (including on used vehicles, what indirectly affects the brand's prestige), but they woudn't want that to happen, would they? Why work more to make the same amount of money that simply raising the prices gives them anyway?
The price jump between 2019 and 2022 had nothing to do with economics or price gouging. Fuso stopped making 4x4 trucks in the us and the 2020 and up trucks are all custom 4x4 conversions onto new 2 wheel drive chassis. The new trucks have front and rear lockers and low range gear boxes making them vastly more capable. The R&D , tooling, and certification processes to get fuso to honor the new truck warranty are understandably very expensive which easily explains the increased costs.

Allan
 

SkiFreak

Crazy Person
here in Spain there is also a company for elitist people with deep pockets
If you are going to make comments like this, you should probably include details or links, otherwise it's kind of pointless.
I should also note, English is the preferred language on this forum.
 

Bigunit

Adventurer
Earthroamers do not do well and sink in mud. Try getting one out of a mud wash since they are too heavy for 1 vehicle to winch out. It's like a pig falling in water that can't swim and sinks to the bottom.

Sent from my moto z4 using Tapatalk
 
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