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Why Are Airstreams So Expensive? [7 Reasons 2022]

An Airstream trailer is one of the oldest camp trailer brands on the market. It was founded by William Byan in the 1930s and is famous for its classic, unique-shaped body.  

The average Airstream trailer costs anywhere from $36,000 to $221,000. It is advisable to first rent one before purchasing to determine whether it is worth the investment.

But why are these trailers so expensive?

Airstreams are expensive because each trailer is crafted by hand. It takes approximately 350 hours to complete from start to finish. Airstreams have a longer lifespan than most trailers, lasting for 40 years or longer. They have better fuel economy and are specifically created to cut through wind on a road trip. 

1. Materials 

Airstreams trailers are handcrafted in Jackson Center, Ohio, from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. This alloy is then riveted to a tough steel frame, insulated with recycled glass and then riveted again on the inside. 

This structure and fabrication is similar to that used in building aircrafts, and the craftsmanship comes at a cost.

Aluminum is also much more expensive than the plastic used in other trailers. Aluminum is mined while plastic is cheap and manufactured in a factory.

The brand is also committed to safety and uses Mercedes Benz chassis as the foundation of all their trailers.

Trailer technologies also include collision prevention, lane assist, rear and side view monitoring, as well as advanced airbags. These are standard features on all models.

Each wheel has its own suspension. It has a rubber torsion axle that absorbs road vibration. This ensures a more comfortable and stable towing experience. All these parts and materials are expensive. 

2. Design

Airstream is unique in that they build the holding tank directly into the frame. This lowers the center of gravity and improves aerodynamics. 

It also allows for a lower overall weight and improves the distribution of weight. The fact that half of the trailer’s heft is under the floor means optimized stability and balance.

Airstreams were the first to have a flushable toilet with a waste holding tank, the first to have a ladder frame, and the first with a pressurized water system.

3. Construction

An Airstream is constructed with a vast amount of aluminum. This, although expensive, is durable, flexible, and light. These characteristics allow it to be shaped for internal and external shells.

As many as 3,200 rivets are used to build Airstreams. Once the rivets are in place the seams are sealed.

The interior has a sleek, light modern finish. Interior furnishings and components are installed via the door instead of installing it before the walls are set up. 

This requires laborers to walk in and out of the trailer, slowing down the process of manufacturing the Airstream.

Airstreams also have a reputation for being luxurious trailers, and this is reflected in the high-quality and luxurious materials.

The brand uses Corian Italian wood for countertops and Ultraleather for seating. Aluminum, instead of plastic, is used for the cabinets.

Modern appliances, climate control, and entertainment systems are also featured. 

The trailers come equipped with 110V outlets and USB ports which are strategically placed.

4. Longevity 

Statistics show that 70% of all Airstreams manufactured are still in use. It also has 20% better fuel economy in comparison to other travel trailers. 

You can expect your Airstream to last for a very long time. Unlike iron or steel, aluminum is not corrosive, and as a result, you do not have to worry about your trailer rusting.

Airstream trailers go through hardcore testing to confirm the trailer can withstand even the harshest weather and elements. 

One of the tests is a hurricane test. To do this, a trailer is drenched with 10,000 gallons of water at the pressure of a hurricane.

This is done for half an hour. The quality inspector then looks for any leaks.

Since Airstream put a lot of money and time into making their trailers, the materials take longer to deteriorate. Proper maintenance will prevent the trailer from deteriorating.

5. Limited Supply

Airstreams are considered generational with families handing down the trailers to their children. Some of the trailers in use today are nearly 100 years old, making them an excellent investment.

Because of their longevity, there is a great demand for Airstream trailers. Due to the long production time, the demand is often more than what could be supplied. This is another reason for the steep price tag.

Up until recently, Airstream was only able to manufacture 85 trailers a week. Since then, it acquired a new factory to produce more trailers. They are now able to manufacture 160 trailers a week.

Since demand exceeds supply, Airstream can sell its products at a premium price.

6. Reputation

Airstream is a luxury brand that comes with a luxury price tag. The company has a lot of loyal fans which keeps this band in high demand. Some people even romanticize the brand.

Founder Wally Byam had the vision to allow people to travel the world and have great adventures. It is a distinctly American brand proudly produced in America using local labor.

The durability and design outmatch that of their competitors.

7. Resale Value

Airstream typically has a much higher resale value than other trailers. The main reason for this is their durability.

Airstream has the best reputation of any trailer manufactured in the United States. It is a brand that has been around for decades, for a reason.

Another reason to purchase this trailer is the excellent fuel consumption.

They are built from the highest quality of material and are the most durable.

Even though the price tag might seem steep, it is a good investment and a very good resale value. 

Conclusion

The reason Airstreams are so expensive is the quality of materials and the cost of workmanship.

They are made to the highest standards using only the best parts and quality finishes as well as multiple features.

These trailers are reliable and have a good reputation. All of this also gives them a great resale value.