User Name:   

Thread Number: 33786  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Why I'm Concerned About The Future Of Kirby
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 367029   2/17/2017 at 19:28 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

I'm concerned for Kirby. This is my concern. Why should people buy Avalirs? I mean, you can go on Craigslist and get a G7 for $150. Kirby really outdid themselves with the G3 and by the time the G6 came out they had everything figured out. The Sentria was the best of the G Series. They have been using the same mechanics for more than 20 years. I hope Kirby will release a radically new design, while still retaining the classic Kirby design.

Post# 367048 , Reply# 1   2/17/2017 at 23:37 by human (Pines of Carolina)        
I hear you

human's profile picture
Kirby has always taken the notion of evolutionary design changes to the extreme and when you couple that with the fact that their machines are damn near indestructible, it has set up a bizarre dynamic in which one of Kirby's biggest competitors is itself. And when you take their horrible high-pressure salespeople into account, it's a wonder anybody ever buys a new one. Why put yourself through all that to pay $2,000 for a new machine when you can get one that is functionally equivalent to it for less than a tenth the price and skip the arm twisting.

Post# 367052 , Reply# 2   2/18/2017 at 00:44 by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)        
What Kirby needs to do...

Is make a souped up contemporary version of the D-80,make the hose easy to attach, which to most women is still a nightmare, Bison had a great system, they just couldn't figure out how to make it durable,they don't need to be self propelled, they just need to be lighter and better balanced, and they are wayyy to big, for a big open space they are great, but for a normal to small house the machine is too big and awkward.

Post# 367065 , Reply# 3   2/18/2017 at 09:24 by dysonman1 (Rolla, Missouri)        

dysonman1's profile picture
In general, no one wakes up and says "today I'm buying a Kirby". The way to sell a new Kirby is in the home - so the customer cannot 'shop' other models. There are only two machines, the old one the customer has been using, and the new Kirby. If Kirby were sold at retail, like other sweepers, I can't imagining anyone choosing it over a much less expensive vacuum. So, in a way, Kirby doesn't HAVE to change anything too much. The method by which its sold precludes the need for more 'user friendly' engineering. You know the old vacuum salesman's saying: If I can't dazzle them with dirt, baffle them with B.S.

Post# 367066 , Reply# 4   2/18/2017 at 09:33 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

In this day and age, everyone does everything online. People look for deals online. So a person will Google "Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Reviews". When they see all the good reviews, they go to eBay. There they type "Kirby Vacuum Works Great!" They either find a deal or go onto Craigslist or LetGo. They end up with a functionally identical
machine for around $90. When a Kirby salesman comes and offers them a similar machine for $1200, people will decline.

Post# 367069 , Reply# 5   2/18/2017 at 10:45 by Vintagerepairer (England)        

I wouldn't worry. Kirby know what they are doing. Look how long they have been in business. They are doing something very right.

Post# 367073 , Reply# 6   2/18/2017 at 12:03 by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
Same can be said for

Tristasr, Filter queen, Rainbow, Aerus, save for this group here thare few that say I think I'll Invite a Filter queen salesman to come live with us until I agree to buy. And though great vacuums, I own two, filter queen hasn't change drastically I the last 80 or so years either.

Post# 367074 , Reply# 7   2/18/2017 at 12:23 by sptyks (Woburn, MA)        

sptyks's profile picture

Kirby is not worried. If they were, they wouldn't be churning out several thousand Avalirs a week like they currently do.


The door to door sales method works very well for them. When a potential customer is dazzled by watching the salesman put the Kirby through it's paces and then comparing it's cleaning ability to the customers present machine, it's very hard for them to resist especially when the salesman presents the available and attractive financing package that Kirby offers.


My daughter-in-law experienced this sales method first hand. She used to work in a very successful Kirby dealership here in the Boston suburb of Woburn MA where I live. She spent most of her 40 hour work week setting appointments for potential customers in the Boston Metro area whom she cold called or had responded to newspaper and Radio ads offering them a free carpet shampoo of any room in their home if they would simply observe a demo of the Kirby Sentria Home Care System being used to shampoo their carpet. This is a very effective method of selling Kirby's. When the salesman knocks on the door, the person(s) inside are already expecting them for their free carpet cleaning.


 This is still a very busy dealership that employs 4 salesman, 2 service technicians and 2 ladies manning the phones. 


Post# 367089 , Reply# 8   2/18/2017 at 18:09 by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

If it isn't broke don't fix it. If you don't like it don't buy it.

I happen to agree I too would like to see the D50/D80 with the performance of today. As for set up it isn't that difficult. And most important learn how to use it and therefor get the best out of it.

No it isn't for the handicapped or elderly. I do know many in the 70 plus crowd that can and still use a pre 1990 Kirby.

Post# 367130 , Reply# 9   2/19/2017 at 09:45 by fantomfan57 (Austin, Texas)        
I agree....

fantomfan57's profile picture
I noticed they got bigger and heavier. So they probably listened to consumers and added the transmission....which made them bigger and heavier...but easier to use. When they added the transmission, they added more parts to wear down. I still find them cumbersome.

Post# 367135 , Reply# 10   2/19/2017 at 10:55 by jscarlato (Clairton, PA)        
Kirby dealers advertise?

The advertising initiative by the Kirby dealer in Woburn, MA is interesting. I thought Kirby dealers were prevented by Corporate from advertising. Several years ago, my local Kirby dealer in suburban Pittsburgh designed a nice website to advertise their business and explain the advantages of a Kirby vacuum and how to schedule a demo. Shortly afterward, the corporate offices in Cleveland got wind of their website, and the dealer was ordered to take it down or else the company would revoke their franchise as a dealer. So, they took it down and went back to rustling up demos and relying on repeat customers as well as repairs and refurbishing.

I think more aggressive advertising would be good to help local Kirby dealers stay in business. Since Kirby offers only one new model every so often, wouldn't it serve their interest to have that product out in front of the public in more ways than just a door-to-door salesman?

Post# 368682 , Reply# 11   3/19/2017 at 10:43 by myles_v (Fredericksburg, Virginia )        

myles_v's profile picture
The Kirby dealer near me hires 24/7 and they take vans full of their "employees" (independent contractors) and drops them all off in neighborhoods and sends them off to knock on doors.

The people who buy Avalirs new are the people who currently use 6 month old $50 Dirt Devils, Bissells, and Hoovers. Kirby dealers would have a hard time convincing anyone who currently uses a high-quality vacuum to switch.

If someone has been using their Aerus vacuum 3 times a week for 6 years with no problems, why would they buy a new Avalir? They wouldn't. People who have been buying a new $50 vacuum twice a year are Kirby's #1 customers.

Post# 368684 , Reply# 12   3/19/2017 at 11:23 by Caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Former Kirby training manager.

caligula's profile picture
Don't worry about Kirby this is how they do it. As for 'pulling' other vacuum cleaners, that's easy, the demo convinces them that they NEED a NEW machine. If followed correctly the demo will help the dealer make the sale.

Post# 368698 , Reply# 13   3/19/2017 at 13:25 by myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        
You obviously have never worked in a vacuum store...

People do NOT want someones used vacuum. People want something brand new shiny that doesn't have "filth" in it. Now a days you can scare the shit out of people with a simple term like "Bed bugs" and "dust mites" ... trust me. Kirby has a good thing going when they bring that shiny new vacuum to the door.

Post# 368702 , Reply# 14   3/19/2017 at 13:47 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

sebo4me's profile picture
I purchased a used Kirby Sentria 2, 2015 model on friday. It was in excellent condition and for just 180.

I have no problem at all buying a used vac providing it's a quality machine thats built to last 😉

Post# 368710 , Reply# 15   3/19/2017 at 14:31 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Yes, we live in a germaphobic society that in the end just makes people sicker because they fail to build up their immune systems. I personally have no problem with used vacuum cleaners; in fact, I don't think I've ever owned but two brand new ones. At least two of the ones I have now are trash rescues.

Post# 369249 , Reply# 16   3/26/2017 at 10:00 by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

oreck_xl's profile picture
Unfortunately, Kirby has gotten more mileage out of the Generation Series platform than Jimmy Buffet has gotten out of "Margaritaville." It's going on 27 years with only minor subtle changes. Someone on here at one point posted prototype drawings of the proposed Avalir, showing a rear-mounted bag and a switch in the handle. Other than a redesigned shampooer and trim color change I don't see anything radically different from the Sentria II. No, Kirby has milked the Generation platform long enough, the Classic line only lasted 20. Maybe a non-powerdrive model with a smaller head (ala retro-500 series) would be the way to go. Aerus Electrolux offers different models, maybe Kirby should diversify also.

Post# 369252 , Reply# 17   3/26/2017 at 10:50 by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

sebo4me's profile picture
Yes a lighter model with a 12" floorhead and no tech drive would be good!

I personally think they would sell very well as the main complaint about the G series is that it's to bulky and too heavy.

Post# 369255 , Reply# 18   3/26/2017 at 12:18 by rvarley (Oregon)        

And let's not forget what a bother it is to use the attachments. I have an old Kirby, pre-tech drive (560?) and it does a great job cleaning, but it's a bear to push and does not go under low items well.

Post# 369360 , Reply# 19   3/27/2017 at 20:41 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
I'm not worried about the future of Kirby, I think that company is still doing well. I do however question with these other similar companies like Aerus, Filter Queen, Rainbow, etc. Reason for that is because I wonder if they are going out of business anytime soon like what happened with Silver King.

Post# 369365 , Reply# 20   3/27/2017 at 21:24 by Mixman (Central NJ)        
Here is what I think.....

While I do not think Kirby is in jeopardy right now, i do think they will have to update their designs, even if that means having two models. An older model along the line of the generation series and a newer model that addresses the G series shortcomings. They need to bring out a model in which people are not pressured into buying, but buy because they really want it and want to keep it too. The fact that there are Avalirs all over Ebay and Craigslist for $350-$500, kills your business model when you are trying to sell these things brand new for $1,200 or more. They need to have a new vacuum that is more universally desired. Their current sales model of door to door is the only thing that will work for them until they come out with that more universally desired vacuum. The Avalir will not do well with internet sales, so door to door is the only way that model will sell.

Shark, Dyson, even Bissell are innovating to make vacuuming easier and make vacuums lighter and that seems to be what the public wants, in addition to cheaper. Although there are always those with disposable income willing to pay more for better quality. Other companies such as Miele Sebo, Aerus in addition to Kirby, will have to keep innovating or their sales will become niche market sales with declining revenue. Without innovation, you can be at the top of your market one decade and the next struggling for survival....Can anyone say Sears!

Post# 369388 , Reply# 21   3/28/2017 at 09:10 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
The biggest challenge to a door-to-door sales model is the increasing paranoia in our society. While not totally unjustified, people today increasingly assume anyone they don't know is a potential threat. I used to work with a lady who, if you went to her home after dusk and her husband wasn't there to answer the door, would come to the door with a loaded .38 in her hand and make sure you saw it. She didn't brandish it in your face, but she didn't hide it behind her back, either. That's a big contrast from back in the '70s, when my mom would listen to sales pitches from the likes of the Fuller Brush man, the Cutco knife man, and at least one Kirby salesman out of a sense of being polite as well as to break the monotony of the day, but I'm sure that doesn't happen anymore. They used to say a man's home was his castle but now it's more like his fortress.

Post# 369398 , Reply# 22   3/28/2017 at 11:02 by sptyks (Woburn, MA)        

sptyks's profile picture



Kirby is not worried. The Door to Door sales model works very well for them. Kirby does not worry about all the Avalirs on ebay, they target households that have not seen or heard of Kirby. The fact that the Kirby factory in Cleveland churns out several thousand Avalirs a week proves this.



Post# 369423 , Reply# 23   3/28/2017 at 16:40 by Mixman (Central NJ)        

I know, that is what I pretty much said. The door to door sales model is the ONLY sales model that will work for them until they come out with a model that will appeal to more people, they would never make it online at the present.

What many have not realized is that the internet has changed our society so much in the past 10 years that what once worked may not work in the future. That is the difference between now and the past 100 or so years and now. Those companies that don't innovate may die. That may come in a fast death or a very slow one.

Now keep in mind I am not anti Kirby, I am thinking about getting an Avalir, but I know they cannot keep churning out the generation series forever.

Post# 369430 , Reply# 24   3/28/2017 at 17:28 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

I do not work at a vacuum store YET, but I do know all of the ones in my area sell used machines. But I do agree, we do live in a germaphobic society. But I find it VERY ironic that the people who don't want other people's "filth" in their houses are the same people who buy the filthy, cheap, filter-in-cup Wally World bagless vacuums. Besides, household dirt is usually composed of the same things. Hair, sand, soil, food particles, dander, dust mites and eggs, pollen, large particles and damaged carpet fibers. What people don't realize is the crap they suck up in their homes is the more or less the same as other people in the area. A vacuum that is "used" makes no difference as in the first few months, the crappy bagless PlastiVac is already MORE filthy than that used Kirby. I bet if someone bought both a Kirby and a PlastiVac on the same day, used them for, say, two years in identical houses. After two years, the Kirby and PlastiVac would be put side by side and measured to see what vacuum is filthier.

Just my two cents, minus tax

Post# 369468 , Reply# 25   3/28/2017 at 23:57 by Durango159 (State College, PA)        

durango159's profile picture
Kirby has very very aggressive sales reps and that pushes their sales. It is a shame they don't innovate towards something a little more modern that is easier to use.

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

User Name:   Password:      

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.


Vacuumland home
Discuss-o-Vac Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Today's Vacuum of the Day
Photos of our Collections
Vintage Vacuum Cleaner to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy