A new deal, or who is who of the motorhome world
The market of new motorhomes is growing in strength, a trend that is noticeable even in Poland. According to the latest estimates, our western neighbors already have nearly 460,000 motorhomes registered. The latest data published by the European Caravan Federation shows that the increase in the number of registrations of new vehicles (caravans and campers) compared to the year is already expressed in double-digit values. Even markets that showed shortness of breath in recent years and weakened in 2016 recorded increases (Italy, Spain).
Unfortunately, we do not have exact figures for new registrations of recreational vehicles in Poland, and any estimates would still be moderately reliable, as they would be based on importers' declarations, would not include private imports, additionally, motorhomes are registered as special vehicles, without a separate official category. However, we must assume that we are closer to Portugal (80 in 2016) than to Germany. However, the market is growing, and more and more players would like to cut a piece of the European pie for themselves.
Lots of brands and only a few owners
When visiting motorhome showrooms or Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, many of us, true caravanning enthusiasts, lose their head and orientation in the maze of brands and manufacturers, not being aware of their mutual connections.
The traditional German production group Erwin Hymer Group has been at the forefront of sales in most Western European markets for several decades. In recent years, however, it has to face competitors from southern Europe who have grown in strength through successive acquisitions. With the takeover of the Slovenian Adria at the turn of the year, the French group Trigano is getting closer to the German giant. Let us recall that earlier it incorporated the Italian brands McLouis, Mobilvetta and Rimor into its structures. At the moment, the concern is divided into 2 branches - Italian (Trigano SpA, built mainly around CI and Roller Team brands) and French (VDL focused on Chausson / Challenger brands).
Hymer probably realized the growing power of competition, which is confirmed by the decisions to take over the Canadian brand Roadtrek or the British group The Explorer Group , a major player on the market of caravans on the islands - a market with enormous potential, which is confirmed by the number of registrations and increases in this segment at the islanders.
The consolidation of brands is of course reflected in cost optimization and combining production plants. Anyone familiar with the industry is no longer surprised by the fact that vehicles of different brands are made in the same plants . And so in Tournon (southern France), both Chausson and Challenger motorhomes as well as Sterckeman and Caravelair caravans come off the assembly line at Trigano's largest production plant. In Font Vendome, on the other hand, Karmann Mobil is manufactured, Autostar builds integrated Challenger vehicles, Chausson and McLouis assembly plants are also involved "by the way" in the construction of vehicles of the new Forster brand.
All budget "clones" of the big brands from the Erwin Hymer group are also assembled in one factory in Neustadt in German Saxony (the Capron factory produces motorhomes of the Sunlight and Carado brands). Bürstner alcoves are built at the Dethleffs factory, Eriba trailers at the LMC assembly plant, and Hymer Car metal shelters at the Laika plants in Italy. Interestingly, the new EUR 18 million investment in the expansion of the LMC assembly plant in Sassenberg in Germany (17,500 sq m of space will be added here at the beginning of 2018) is to increase the production capacity from 7,500 to 13,500 trailers per year. The LMC brand itself, however, swears that it will not stop producing motorhomes under its own brand and will gradually develop it. The Erwin Hymer concern focuses on cost optimization by consolidating both purchases and development departments of individual brands, while trying to maintain their distinctive, traditional features.
For an easier illustration of all connections between different brands, we have prepared a clear infographic, which you can see by clicking HERE
The Hobby brand (and its Fendt company) continues to lead the way in the category of caravans, the unit value of which is much lower than that of motorhomes, therefore, despite significant quantitative "processing" and a significant share in this market, its turnover cannot be compared to brands specialized in the production and distribution of motorhomes.
After the collapse of the market in 2008/2009, the KNAUS TABBERT brand was taken over by the Dutch HTP group (which also had shares in MORELO). The new investor continues the so-called sustainable growth strategy, which has been working so far and is expected to increase the turnover by another EUR 100 million in 2017. Investments were made in new factories in Hungary, and apart from Knaus and Tabbert, the group's well-known brands also include T @ B (the so-called Tabbert for Young) and Weinsberg.
The Rapido brand, associating the Rapido, Dreamer, Fleurette, PLA, Westfalia and Itineo brands , apart from motorhomes, has recently also focused on the production of Dutch cottages for the needs of holiday resorts, and in 2016 the revenues from operations amounted to 350 million. EUR.
The foreign capital, but also attempts to take over other brands have been successfully tackled so far by Carthago , which, since the production of the first "tins" based on VW, has not only developed, but also retained the character of a "family" business. On its own know-how and experience, Carthago has in recent years "bred" the cheaper MALIBU brand, of course not reflecting all the technical attributes of the more expensive models. So far the brand is successful in promoting two similar brands, but focused on a different target group. Most Malibu models, as well as cheaper Carthago models, are made in a factory specially built for this purpose in Slovenia, while in Germany the production of the most expensive models and liners remains.
The smallest producer group included in the lists is the Pilote group , which includes the brands Le Voyageur, Bavaria, Frankia, RMB and Hanroad . However, motorhomes of this brand are taking further European markets by storm and the increases will certainly be significant in the near future.
In addition to large corporations associating major brands, there are many admirable "lone wolves" - brands that are already reaching, or will soon achieve a turnover of over 100 million. EUR. It is enough to mention here Poessl or Globecar, VARIO mobil or MORELO . The market is booming, 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 ...