Update: The unit continues to run well. It is very ingeniously made and requires very little maintenance.
We set ours up on a concrete patio, under a screened canopy tent. Direct sunlight will degrade vinyl (read the manual) and a totally outdoor installation, in direct sunlight, will wear on the unit faster. They do make covers for these, but you can also buy a screened tent enclosure for about $200. Since we have noseeums it was a no-brainer. Throw a few tropical plants in there and you have a relaxing retreat.
I have seen rebuilt Softubs for sale on eBay for about half price. These have new liners and lids and rebuilt motor assemblies. It appears they are from the factory. About half the price of new.
Also, there are used pump assemblies and rebuilt ones for sale on eBay. Since the pump assemblies are pretty much interchangeable (or at least the ones for the larger tubs will fit the smaller) buying a used or re manufactured pump is pretty painless and easy to install (as compared to my hard sided tub).
All in all, I am very happy with the product. It is great for a vacation home or a rental home, where you can't install permanently.