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Has Rimowa quality gone down since the LVMH takeover? Please discuss your experiences and views.

Has Rimowa's quality (alloy-aluminium models) decreased after the LVMH takeover?

  • Yes

  • No


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MrLau8999

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Discussion on latest generation Rimowa quality compared with previous generation.
 

MrLau8999

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There are circulating allegations that quality has declined. We need to define quality before answering, and these factors must be addressed when referring to overall quality: Craftsmanship, Materials, Technology, Aesthetic, & Value. I will use the aluminium models for comparison as they are the flagship, and RIMOWA with respect does not specialize in producing high-end, high-tech, high-quality polycarbonate luggage, especially in comparison to Ito (japan-ito.com) or Proteca so they will not be considered.

First we will address the Craftsmanship. One of the most obvious changes is decreased outsourcing; the Classic production was moved back to Germany recently, to join the Original. I am not sure if any Aluminium-alloy models are still outsourced, like the Hybrid, but this move was a good one to preserve the product’s authenticity and the move back to the roots in Cologne. Compared to previous generations, the current generation finish has not changed, the thickness of the aluminium/magnesium alloy has remained unchanged, and reportedly the magnesium content of the alloy has been increased.The finish has been improved. This a clear victory of the current generation Rimowa over the previous.

In terms of Materials, the alloy has remained the same, and as stated previously the magnesium content has increased, improving strength, ductility, and making the suitcase marginally lighter than previous generations. Increased dent-resistance is noticeable. The plastic is identical to previous generations, with increased processing for the wheels and handle parts, seams are smoothed out. Current-generation Rimowa takes this category easily.

New technology on the current generation include cushioned, ball-bearing mounted wheels and the stageless telescoping handle, however the add-a-bag feature present on previous generations has been removed for an alloy plaque. While the add-a-bag feature was useful, too many times it caused increased wear along the front of the suitcase, and added unnecessary stress to the frame, in addition to marginally reducing internal capacity. Its removal was a prudent decision. Rimowa does not have a wheel stopper like the one patented by Proteca Hokkaido, I believe if such a hydraulic system were implemented it would give RIMOWA a major advantage in the luggage market. LVMH Rimowa wins.

In terms of aesthetic, the new design has the grooves ending half an inch before the corners and wheels. The old design had grooves continuing underneath the fixtures, which caused dirt and debris to build up inside, which over time loosened rivets and allowed water resistance to falter, a clear functional design flaw that was eliminated by LVMH. The result is a sleeker, refined and modernized design. This is the most noticeable aesthetic change, with the new wheel design providing more structural support than the previous two-dimensional circular hole design. LVMH wins again.

Value is where LVMH is decisively defeated. For all the excellent qualities mentioned above, there has been a steep price increase, to the point of exorbitance. I am surprised anyone pays MSRP. At MSRP, it is extremely poor value, and sales are few and far between. This artificially shrinks supply, and by cutting out most middle-man dealers, LVMH has reduced affordability to the average customer, and as a result many RIMOWA users have been forced to look elsewhere for new luggage.

So overall, if price is of no concern, the current LVMH RIMOWA offers a superior product to previous generations. Apart from price there has been no quality drop, in fact quality has decisively increased. I have been able to purchase an Original Cabin Twist during the current recession from an unofficial grey-market channel at 60% off discount, which I feel is the correct, realistic MSRP for RIMOWA, and I would not pay more than the price I bought it for.

Rimowa remains my first choice for aluminium-magnesium alloy luggage, and Ito remains my first choice for aluminium-titanium and titanium luggage. Ito & Proteca are my first choices for polycarbonate luggage. However if you pay MSRP, Ito is the superior luggage.
 

SirWilliam

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I have a lot of Rimowa luggage that is maybe 10 years old and price as actually not changed much. I have the Topaz IATA spinner and back when I bought mine the retail was something like $900...now it is $1,000 and the black and titanium colors are the same price. Previously the titanium was the most expensive followed by the black. I think I recall the Titanium version being around $1,300. I know back then the interior was upgraded slightly.

I bought the Topaz trunk when it first came out and I didn't like the ratcheting handle at first but now I think it is better.

The new models to me are visually less attractive but that is the only thing that is obviously worse to me. The old Rimowa logos on the outside of the cases were stickers so the new maybe uglier branding is an upgrade.
 

MrLau8999

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I have a lot of Rimowa luggage that is maybe 10 years old and price as actually not changed much. I have the Topaz IATA spinner and back when I bought mine the retail was something like $900...now it is $1,000 and the black and titanium colors are the same price. Previously the titanium was the most expensive followed by the black. I think I recall the Titanium version being around $1,300. I know back then the interior was upgraded slightly.

I bought the Topaz trunk when it first came out and I didn't like the ratcheting handle at first but now I think it is better.

The new models to me are visually less attractive but that is the only thing that is obviously worse to me. The old Rimowa logos on the outside of the cases were stickers so the new maybe uglier branding is an upgrade.
Thank you for your comment and vote. Everyone has an opinion; and for some people the old logo looks better, in terms of 70s logos anyway. The nostalgia element definitely plays a role here. The newer one is sleek, minimalist and in my opinion more understated, fitting the new sleeker profile of the new models.

My argument for lower prices; is because luggage has a ready-made and bespoke market price range. The prices LV are asking for now, are in bespoke territory. I prefer a bespoke luggage at that price point, and trying to pass off ready-made for bespoke prices is unethical in my opinion. I believe in less stores, under my leadership Rimowa would only have one store, in Cologne, and everyone would flock to Cologne for a Rimowa. Less profitable, but more exclusive and also accessible if one takes the time to look. It's all about passion and craftsmanship, not profit to me. It would be a shame if Rimowa in the future did not change, and its customer base became relegated to the tourist trade.
 

SirWilliam

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I like stores. That is one of the best advantages of owning Rimowa or Tumi. I had a new Salsa Sport trunk and on my first trip with it the zipper broke. I took it to the Rimowa store in Helsinki and they repaired in a day.

I know for a time the prices in Germany were cheaper but in the USA what price change are you referring to? A $100 increase in 10 years is nothing.

Also what bespoke luggage are you referring to? I can't think of any that would be a comparable product to Rimowa. I have seen a bigger price increase in Globetrotter luggage than Rimowa and you cannot check a Globetrotter. Tumi has had huge price increases after Rimowa gained popularity in the USA...I don't see it with Rimowa though.
 

MrLau8999

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I like stores. That is one of the best advantages of owning Rimowa or Tumi. I had a new Salsa Sport trunk and on my first trip with it the zipper broke. I took it to the Rimowa store in Helsinki and they repaired in a day.

I know for a time the prices in Germany were cheaper but in the USA what price change are you referring to? A $100 increase in 10 years is nothing.

Also what bespoke luggage are you referring to? I can't think of any that would be a comparable product to Rimowa. I have seen a bigger price increase in Globetrotter luggage than Rimowa and you cannot check a Globetrotter. Tumi has had huge price increases after Rimowa gained popularity in the USA...I don't see it with Rimowa though.
I am not in the USA, you are mistaken. The Bespoke luggage I am referring to is custom-made, leather luggage by Toyooka Bag Company, or a similar maker, some are single artisans, and some are companies like Toyooka, that take special requests. Tumi is not considered to be high-end, it is on par with Samsonite; the quality is sub-par, materials are sub-par, and customer service is horrendous. It won't be acknowledged here. Globetrotter is a RTW luggage company, overpriced, to a worse extent than Rimowa. I would expect brass rivets with Globetrotter, they use aluminium or steel instead, disappointing. Trio Corporation in Japan take custom requests, they can create aluminium alloy luggage to your specifications, or fibreboard. There are a whole lot of local companies unknown internationally, some in Shanghai, some in Japan, and other places that can create bespoke luggage with the specified best materials, at lower cost than Rimowa's asking price. Rimowa has patents to their excellent wheels and design, and make great products, but their pricing strategy is extortionate, unrealistic, and unethical in my opinion. They should not sell RTW at Bespoke prices, with a worse warranty than before.

Some of us are very price sensitive, and 100 dollars in 10 years is a lot to me. They should halt their expansion operations and shrink back; in order to promote value-for-money, customer service, and durability/craftsmanship, as opposed to having the bulk of the price, finance their rent on overseas stores, as well as increasing outsourcing in order to milk every last dollar from the customer base.

My philosophy is very different to current management, they want all the profit possible, they want to sell RTW at bespoke prices, and they want to keep expanding and expanding, while keeping it "exclusive" and jacking the price up to extortionate, unreasonable levels, and outsourcing lines. I would have a different philosophy; rely on quality of product, cut back on marketing, and rely on customer loyalty, no expansion internationally. Word-of-mouth spreads, and it builds a good reputation, but profit is cut and scale of business is reduced, but there will be no lack of demand because good reviews and top-notch construction will spread like wildfire.
 

SirWilliam

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Tumi has good customer service in my experience and they are a good quality product even though they are no longer made in the USA. To me Tumi and Rimowa compete in the same space and both are good quality.

How much is a Toyooka spinner?

Why should Rimowa do what you ask? Are they not making money? There is clearly demand for their product at the current price. If there isn't demand for the product them I am sure they would do something about it.

I think I walked into a troll thread.
 

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