A new deal, or who is who of the motorhome world

A new deal, or who is who of the motorhome world – main image

The market for new campers is growing, and this trend is noticeable even in Poland. According to the latest estimates, our western neighbors have almost 460,000 registered campers. The latest data published by the European Caravan Federation show that the year-on-year increase in the number of registrations of new vehicles (trailers and campers) is already in double-digit values. Even markets that had been short of breath and weakened in recent years recorded growth in 2016 (Italy, Spain).

Unfortunately, we do not have exact numbers for new registrations of recreational vehicles in Poland, and any estimates would be moderately reliable, as they would be based on importers' declarations, would not take into account private imports, and campers are registered as special vehicles, without a separate official category. However, we must assume that we are closer to Portugal (80 units in 2016) than to Germany. However, the market is growing, and more and more players would like to cut themselves a piece of the European cake.

Many brands, but only a few owners

When visiting camper showrooms or fairs such as Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, many of us, true caravanning enthusiasts, lose our heads and orientation in the maze of brands and manufacturers, not realizing their mutual connections.


The traditional German manufacturing group Erwin Hymer Group has led sales in most Western European markets for several decades. In recent years, however, it has had to face competitors from southern Europe, who have grown stronger through successive acquisitions. With the takeover of the Slovenian Adria at the turn of the year, the French Trigano group is getting closer to the German giant. Let us recall that it had previously incorporated the Italian brands McLouis, Mobilvetta and Rimor into its structures. Currently, the concern is divided into two branches - the Italian one (Trigano SpA, built mainly around the CI and Roller Team brands) and the French one (VDL focused on the Chausson/Challenger brands).

Hymer seems to have realized the growing competition, which is confirmed by the decisions to take over the Canadian brand Roadtrek or the British group The Explorer Group , a significant player in the market of caravans on the islands - a market with huge potential, which is confirmed by the number of registrations and growth in this segment among the islanders.

Chausson and Challenger are the same?

Brand consolidation is, of course, reflected in cost optimization and merging of production plants. No one familiar with the industry is any longer surprised by the fact that vehicles of different brands are manufactured in the same plants . Thus, in Tournon (southern France), both Chausson and Challenger campers, as well as Sterckeman and Caravelair trailers roll off the assembly line at the largest Trigano production plant. In Font Vendome, Karmann Mobil "sheet metal" vehicles are manufactured, Autostar builds integrated Challenger brand vehicles, and the Chausson and McLouis assembly plants are also involved in the construction of vehicles of the new Forster brand.


All budget "clones" of large brands from the Erwin Hymer group are also assembled in one factory in Neustadt in Saxony, Germany (the Capron factory produces Sunlight and Carado campers). Bürstner alcoves are made in the Dethleffs factory, Eriba trailers in the LMC assembly plant, and Hymer Car "sheet metal" trailers in the plants belonging to the Laika brand in Italy. Interestingly, a new investment worth EUR 18 million in the expansion of the LMC assembly plant in Sassenberg, Germany (17,500 square meters of space will be added here at the beginning of 2018) is to increase the company's production capacity from 7,500 to 13,500 trailers per year. However, the LMC brand itself swears that it will not stop producing campers under its own brand and will gradually develop it. The Erwin Hymer concern focuses on cost optimization by consolidating both purchasing and development departments of individual brands, while trying to maintain their distinctive, traditional features.

See the infographic - caravanning industry in Europe

To make it easier to visualize all the connections between various brands, we have prepared a clear infographic, which can be seen by clicking HERE

A new deal, or who is who of the motorhome world – image 3

Knaus and Tabbert

After the market collapse in 2008/2009, the KNAUS TABBERT brand was taken over by the Dutch HTP group (which also has shares in MORELO). The new investor continues the so-called sustainable growth strategy, which has been working so far and is expected to translate into an increase in turnover by another EUR 100 million in 2017. New factories have been invested in Hungary, and the group's well-known brands, apart from Knaus and Tabbert, also include T@B (the so-called . Tabbert for the young) and Weinsberg.


The Rapido brand, which brings together the brands Rapido, Dreamer, Fleurette, PLA, Westfalia and Itineo , in addition to campers, has recently also focused on the production of Dutch houses for the needs of recreation centers, and the revenues from its activities in 2016 already amounted to PLN 350 million. EUR.

Carthago has so far successfully faced foreign capital, as well as attempts to take over other brands, which has not only developed since the production of the first VW-based cars, but also retained the character of a "family" business. Using its own know-how and experience, Carthago has in recent years "grown" the cheaper MALIBU brand, of course without giving it all the technical attributes of more expensive models. The "split" involving the promotion of two similar brands, but focused on different target groups, has been successful for the brand so far. Most Malibu models, as well as the cheaper Carthago models, are manufactured in a specially built factory in Slovenia, while the most expensive models and liners are produced in Germany.

The smallest group of camper manufacturers in Europe

The smallest producer group included in the lists is the Pilote group , which includes the brands Le Voyageur, Bavaria, Frankia, RMB and Hanroad . However, campers of this brand are taking new European markets by storm and the growth will certainly be significant in the near future.

In addition to large corporations bringing together major brands, there are many admirable "lone wolves" - brands that already achieve, or will soon achieve, turnover above PLN 100 million. EUR. It is enough to mention Poessel, Globecar, VARIO mobil or MORELO . The market is flourishing, and we realize that sometimes the competition is apparent and the fight for customers takes place between dealers of different brands belonging to the same concern, often also producing in the same factory.


For over a dozen years he has been an enthusiast of caravanning, after caravans it was the turn of campers in 2014. I follow the caravanning market in Europe, with particular emphasis on Poland, hoping that both the popularity of this form of recreation and the quality of the equipment will soon catch up with Western Europe ...

Also read