When we decided to purchase a replacement home (motor home), we settled on the Tiffin brand. The Tiffin Motor Homes are made in Red Bay, Alabama. Since we were already planning to head to Florida for the winter of 2009-2010, we decided to take an indirect route to northern Alabama and visit the Tiffin factory. Any9one can take guided tours of the Tiffin factory. We had learned that they also have a small campground there, for guests taking the tour and for Tiffin owners having work done on their rigs.
We arrived in early December. Since we were taking the tour, the first night at the campground was free and the second night was only $10 for a full hookup. Although, they did turn the water off for thew winter on our second day. A pretty good deal. For Tiffin owners getting work under warranty, their entire stay is free. For out of warranty, it's still only $10 a night, We took the tour on a chilly morning. They provide headsets so you can hear the guide speaking. Unfortunately, I had problems with my headset and couldn't hear the guide speaking. Connie knew I wanted to hear it all and she exchanged head sets with me. Of course, this meant she couldn't hear anything.
While the tour was informative, I thought it was very disorganized. There didn't seem to be a pattern of what we were looking at. We didn't start the tour at "Station 1". Not much information was provided on how the motor homes are built. Luckily, I had already done some research and reading on the process used to built these motor homes and how they go through the assembly line. With this prior knowledge, I could make some sense of what was going on. But the tour guide wasn't much help unless I asked a ton of questions. With the noisy plant floor, asking questions wasn't easy. At times, I felt I knew more about the motor homes and build process than he did. While he was a "nice" gentlemen, he could have been more informative. Since it was cold outside, we also didn't get "the full tour". Once completed, we also knew to go visit the paint factory, since it's in a separate location. The tour guide didn't mention anything about visiting the paint plant.
Prior to our visit, a user of the "Tiffin RV Network" (a users discussion forum) had asked if anyone visiting the Tiffin factory could take photos of their Allegro Bus being built. I replied and said we would see if we could find it. This is something I think is special about the Tiffin factory. You can find out where in the production process any motor home is and watch it being built, or just visit it. I found out this users Bus was in the paint shop at a specific point in the painting.. When we visited the paint shop, we had to ask an employee where the bus was. It was a little behind schedule, but we found it We took many photos of their bus as it was already painted, marked up with flaws to be corrected, waiting to be corrected and the clear coat applied. The owners of this bus were EXTREMELY grateful that we spent the time finding their bus and taking photos. They even rewarded us with a $50 gift card! We've asked for others to take photos of our "new baby being born" at the assembly plant, but nobody stepped up and offered to help.
Since we were considering purchasing the Tiffin "Phaeton" model, I paid particular attention to any Phaeton's being built. From the time the bare chassis is prepped until the new motor home is sent to the paint shop is less than 6 days. Add in the time for the paint shop, corrections, and the final "fit and finish:, a motor home is built within a 2 week period. Knowing this, as of today (Dec 28), our motor home that started construction on December 14th should now be painted and in the final inspection stages. Of course, we've had the holidays and it'll be a little behind the normal schedule.
Something else that we're impressed with, and we think is VERY unique with Tiffin, is that guests are given MUCH freedom in the assembly plant. Guests can obtain a visitors badge and walk freely around the assembly plant. You're free to talk with the employees, as long as you don't interrupt the assembly process. Many new owners visit the plant and follow THEIR new motor home through the assembly plant while it's being built. We've read about people who spend two weeks at the plant , following their new motor home from the beginning to the end, watching it being entirely built from scratch. I would have liked to do this, but timing wasn;t good for us. At least we've seen how the process works.