Also this year, we had the opportunity to see the new products and trends presented at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf. Judging by the traffic statistics, it is already known that the record of interest from the public and industry representatives will be broken once again.
As a mantra for 3 years, the vast majority of exhibitors have been repeating that it has not been that good yet. Are we dealing with an "blown bubble"? Are industry euphoria accompanied by anxiety? About this, as well as about the current market trends, in our subjective summary of what we have observed over the last few days.
Every year, the first day of the fair is entirely devoted to the media and industry representatives, and is a great opportunity to learn about the statistics, market condition and strategies of individual brands. This is where data on the number of vehicles sold and new products are published.
The summary of 2017 is very optimistic - only in Germany 40,568 motorhomes were registered, which means an increase by 15.5% to the already considered record year 2016. The highest percentages in Europe are in Italy, Sweden, England, Spain and Norway.
In absolute numbers, it should be realized that there were about 4,000 new registrations in a country such as Spain (with a significant share of foreign rental companies investing in the fleet there under fly and rent programs), and in tiny Norway as many as 3,600, mostly on the private market.
The total number of new motorhomes approved for traffic in 2017 was 110,000 (compared to 96,000 in 2016).
It's fair to say that a similar percentage increase is reflected in the performance of most brands. Since last year, Adria, part of the Trigano group, can boast sales of 7,000 caravans, 7,050 motorhomes and 1,400 mobile holiday homes. This means uninterrupted and steady growth of 13% for 3 years and the brand must consider increasing its production capacity. Nota bene - officially after the takeover of Adria, the Trigano group is the second largest production group in Europe, right after the Hymer Group.
But enough numbers and statistics - will the industry continue to grow forever? Probably not. From our conversations with representatives of both manufacturers and dealers, it is clear that certain "stocks" of vehicles are already being created in the yards, and the temporary saturation of the market can be felt at times. Due to the continued growth of the industry, more and more relatively new and well-maintained vehicles are entering the aftermarket, and competition and margins are becoming an increasing challenge.
Of course, the biggest threat is "overinvestment" - brands rarely look for new distribution partners because until now they have barely been able to meet the needs of the existing distribution network. Therefore, they have to decide whether to invest in new production halls and a staff of employees, while at the same time bearing the risk of having to maintain them, when the "bubble" has already burst and the demand drops. For many representatives of leading brands, it is only a matter of time. Many brands, such as the Polish Globe-Traveler , instead focus on optimizing the production process, starting from the smallest details. This brand, as shown by Caravan Salon, is doing great on the European market, competing with the largest tycoons - customers appreciate unmatched quality and technical solutions, as well as a growing, solid network of partners.
The Easy Camper company from Poznań and in Germany, known under the brand name Wave Camper, has been moving its entire production to a much larger hall from the beginning of September, because at present they were not able to meet all orders for their proprietary bodies based on VW T5 and T6. It is worth adding here that the main recipient of their cars is the German market, which noticed high quality and interesting solutions in their designs.
Citroen's announcements about changes in the recently introduced generation of engines from 2l to 2.3l will certainly be a challenge for Polish dealers. Due to the lower excise tax, models based on two-liter units have been the most sought-after for the last two years. In less than a year, as long as the regulations do not change, only the fans of the Ford brand will be able to enjoy the lower excise tax, which so far relies heavily on its power unit with a displacement of less than 2 liters and does not announce any changes.
2018 AD news
It is worth noting that for several years there have been very few companies in the industry that have adopted new, breaking the generally accepted standards. All the more happy are the actions of several brands that are not idle and are working on new concepts with a view to implementing them into mass production.
Here we see for the first time (according to the manufacturer's assurances) the serial version of Grand California on VW Crafter (600 and 680 models), and Knaus his new and extremely beautiful child based on twin MAN.
The serial version of the COCO trailer by Dethleffs, which GVW, depending on the option, is 1100 kg, turned out to be a real treat. After last year's presentation of the autonomous e-home motorhome fully covered with photovoltaic cells, this year's curiosity presented by Dethleffs was the innovative concept of the e-home COCO caravan.
What is it about? The manufacturer recognizes the increasing popularity of electric cars and the problem of their limited range. The trailer was therefore equipped with its own electric drive powered by 2 batteries 2x40kWh (2x470 Nm). A set of sensors constantly measures the load on the hitch and controls the drive in such a way that at no time is the vehicle forced to tow a mass greater than a predefined 100 kg. The cells used can withstand up to 3000 charging cycles and are made in the Li-Ion PRC technology. The production date is not yet known.
The presentation of the MOOVEO brand "revived" by the Pilote group was interesting - the range includes several semi-integrated models based on Citroen powered by a 2l engine and several models of buses based on standard Fiat Ducato 2.3l vehicles. The vehicles will be produced at the Pilote factory and for the time being offered only on the Austrian and German markets. We know from well-informed sources that the general representative of the Pilote group in Poland ( CarGO from Poznań ) is also potentially interested in introducing some models - especially those with 2l engines (Citroen), due to the lower excise tax, could be quite a mess on the market.
The enormous competition on the motorhome market had an incredibly stimulating effect on the quality / price ratio, especially in budget models - it would have been unthinkable a few years ago to be able to literally choose between fully integrated and quite well-equipped models in the price range of EUR 65-70,000 (Carado, Sunlight, Sun Living or brands from the Trigano group and Caravans International). Luxury in price (and in fashion) The so-called liners - camping vehicles with a GVM often exceeding 7 tons, the leading and most eye-catching examples of which during this year's edition were the MORELO, Volkner, Vario-Mobil and Niesmann-Bischoff exhibitions. Most of them are yachts on wheels, built specifically to order and with attention to the smallest details and customer whims. Retractable walls, a sophisticated design and a plethora of driver assistance systems are the hallmarks of this year's novelties.
The visit to the VarioPerfect model from the German brand VarioMobil provided us with an amazing aesthetic experience. In fact, apart from the extraordinary design, amazing space inside and all the comforts on board (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and oven are standard in these models), the car is also "the best" in terms of dimensions - length 12m, height - 399 cm, GVW 26 tons ... And in the garage… a full-size KIA, not a quad bike or a scooter. It only remains to imagine what it would be like to move such a colossus on a daily basis. Sometimes it is better to leave some things in the sphere of unfulfilled dreams ...
3.5 t GVW and light construction technologies
Another trend noticeable during the Caravan Salon is an attempt to meet the challenge resulting from the archaic opinion of many legal regulations regarding GVW at the level of 3.5 tons. For now, the regulations introduced in the 1960s remain in force, so manufacturers have to flexibly choose the lightest materials and slim down the construction of their vehicles.
Especially in vehicles fully integrated in the luxury segment, manufacturers outdo each other in ideas - both HYMER and Carthago show the way - integrated vehicles of these brands in running order declare a weight of 2,800 kg, which, assuming a reasonable approach to retrofitting the vehicle itself, leaves reserves nominally sufficient even for a family of 4 with basic luggage.
Every year, the Caravan Salon fair is an important meeting place for the industry and its enthusiasts. This year has shown that the industry is still in full swing. We are also pleased with the presence of many representatives of Polish companies and individual clients. This means that we also have opportunities for the development of this beautiful passion, and thus - hopefully - also infrastructure comparable to our western neighbors.
The entire hall 7 was devoted to expositions of regions, tourist organizations and camping networks. Here, unfortunately, our representation was not too numerous, which is a pity, because Poland is a beautiful country, eagerly visited by our western neighbors. Appropriate investments in infrastructure could be an important argument for a very large group of foreign tourists traveling with their own cottage in favor of choosing Poland to spend an active holiday, regardless of preferences.