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6 minutes ago, micktheshed said:

Before buying any major item (beit caravan, car or white goods etc) I usually go to a great deal of effort to 'collect' other people's experience & notable faults.  As far as 'vans are concerned my 2 year 'survey' on sites such as this one, & fellow camper's recommendations,  provided me with a clear leader as far as 'acceptable' faults & customer service were concerned : Swift. No caravan is without fault, it's just a case of 'are you willing to live with it?'

 

Despite this I've ended up with a grand lemon, it's all very much of a game of chance as to whether you get a good one or not.  So my advice is do your homework but be even more careful when choosing a dealer. It's the after service that really counts in the end.

The key is learning to correctly read the evidence and then make a decision, accepting that the evidence was incomplete and your decision could be wrong.

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12 minutes ago, Stevan said:

The key is learning to correctly read the evidence and then make a decision, accepting that the evidence was incomplete and your decision could be wrong.

What else could I (or any-one else) be reasonably expected to do? Not buy any caravan would appear to be the only answer.

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For what it’s worth the supplying dealers performance goes a very long way in delivering a product you’ll be happy with. 
All our caravan purchasing over the years have been with two dealers both of whom have been entirely satisfactory regarding the vans we have bought. The first three vans we bought were all secondhand from the dealer literally on our doorstep. Presentation of them all was first class, an Elddis, a Lunar and our first Swift. Any issues that arose were dealt with courteously and efficiently, servicing was thorough and good value for money. When we bit the bullet and decide to buy new we went a little further afield as the local dealer only stocked Adria. We looked at a Swift Conqueror 645 and the equivalent Bailey, Unicorn Cartagena. We were put off at the preparation of both. Cupboard doors misaligned or loose, cupboards full of sawdust and  odd screws and things. The Bailey was already leaking water through the dreaded roof strap but their attitude was very take it or leave it so we looked elsewhere. Visiting another dealer to view a  Swift we found their attitude the very opposite. The van ( brand new and in their storage yard)was immaculately presented and the salesman even readjusted one or two doors whilst showing us round. They gave us a good price for our existing van and a very thorough handover. It was obvious a thorough PDI was carried out. Since then their customer service has been fantastic. We’ve had a couple of issues which were dealt with very well and I’d have no hesitation in recommending them. I’m sure if we’d bought the Bailey from them the water leak issues  would have been dealt with just as efficiently leading to a satisfied customer despite what some would consider a major failing . A poor dealer just makes a bad situation worse. 
I’d recommend you choose your dealer with care. 

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I am afraid like all trades there are good and bad caravan dealers. You were wise to reject the dealer who you found was not meeting your expectations and went to one who did. It would  do no harm to give this dealer a pat on the back by naming them.

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  • 2 months later...

We were next to a Hymer (that name is now used on motorhomes, caravans are branded Eriba) at River Beamish last spring and were amazed when were were told it was 14 year old. In both style and finish it look modern and near new.

 

We had a look at a new Eriba at Lowdhams near Huddersfield last Autumn and that too not only looked the part the internal finish and layout was very well designed and thought out - a good example, although the clothes storage was in the (end) bathroom the Alde water/room heating unit was fitted in the underside of the wardrobe so there would be a small amount of radiated heat from the unit getting up into the clothes - enough to fend off damp.

 

However be aware that continental caravans don't come with all the bells and whistles we are used to having - such as full cookers and even microwaves and sometimes fridges!

 

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Depends which Adria model you get, the entry level models are light for the size. I wouldn't opt for one just because the dealer is 3 miles away. Having said that, we love the no fuss Adria style but we are at the younger end of the market! 

 

Mines a 2016 model which I bought from a private seller last year. So far I've had to replace the sealant on one of the roof lights which started leaking earlier this year. If that's all I have to do every 3 or 4 years I'll be happy. But who knows. Overall quality does seem good though. 

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We just couldn't buy an Adria regardless-we want to support uk workers but the interiors are too stark and ikea ish, and too few features eg only 3 gas burners and no electric hob in many for example. Since most of the kit is universal to all makers eg Alde or Truma heating Thetford fridge etc etc we just wouldn't! You have to buy a bit with your heart too! We had a great Bailey-our new Bucaneer seems outstandingly well made-go rumage round them all!

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10 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

However be aware that continental caravans don't come with all the bells and whistles we are used to having - such as full cookers and even microwaves and sometimes fridges!

Our Hymer came with all of the above.   The microwave is designed to be built in.   Not seen a caravan w/o a fridge since the 1965 Thompson T-line my parents had in the 70’s.  

 

9 minutes ago, Jezzerb said:

We just couldn't buy an Adria regardless-we want to support uk workers but the interiors are too stark and ikea ish, and too few features eg only 3 gas burners and no electric hob in many for example. Since most of the kit is universal to all makers eg Alde or Truma heating Thetford fridge etc etc we just wouldn't! You have to buy a bit with your heart too! We had a great Bailey-our new Bucaneer seems outstandingly well made-go rumage round them all!

Not much in any “British “ Caravan is actually made in Britain.   Just assembled here, by largely unskilled casual labour, not much added value. 

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On 23/02/2020 at 19:16, Stevan said:

The last truly "High end" manufacturer,  Vanroyce went to the wall quite a few years ago, and the two big manufacturers Bailey and Swift Group, each make vans in several flavours separated by price.

 

In a very different way, Airstream still counts as a high end manufacturer.

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Still rather my money go in the UK Fred than abroad-on a caravan I actually like the looks of -both interior and exterior. Everything we buy has parts from abroad-but if eg like a Mini it is assembled/designed in the UK I feel I am helping a bit. And our Buccaneer has Belfield- Derbyshire and a Nottingham firm for its furnishings-etc-there is  still a lot of good in buying a UK built caravan, apart from the design and looks-Adrias look fine externally unlike some of the European Vans, but not in my mind internally-but you obviously buy what you like-bit like a house imo. Same with a car or my motorbikes-I don't choose cars on reliability-though I do look at that with a critical eye. I go for what I want to look at when it's parked in the garage and clean and makes me turn round after parking it in the supermarket. Towcar excepted perhaps as that's a truck, but I still quite like its ruggedness!

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Unfortunately, I am not rich enough to sponsor, what I consider to be second rate.  

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While I accept that in the modern world almost nothing can be truly from one country there can be no doubt that anything built in the UK does help our economy more than anything built abroad. Even if the jobs are low pay they mean that money goes into the economy rather than out in the form of dole. If you put a British worker out of work you then have to pay for him, if you do that to a foreign one you do not.

What you are looking at in a caravan is not only the labour but a fair amount of the construction materials even if most of the working parts are bought in from abroad. I am not a hard and fast buy Brtisher, but I do buy British where I can. The UK value of a caravan must be around half and not a small percentage.

The idea that a foreign caravan makes very little difference is clearly wrong, like all foreign produced goods it is a drain on the economy, and all these little losses do add up to a very big loss.

Edited by Wildwood
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4 hours ago, Woodentop said:

 

 

However be aware that continental caravans don't come with all the bells and whistles we are used to having - such as full cookers and even microwaves and sometimes fridges!

 

Another one to disagree - our Knaus Starclass has everything that our previous Barcelona had, with the exception of a solar panel - plus a lot more....top of the range Thetford cooker, underfloor heating, built-in- microwave, massive bathroom that doubles as a dressing room with two huge wardrobes, shower and loo.  Loads of 12v, 240v and USB sockets, auto-changeover gas regulator, locks on all the windows, additional security bolts on the door - plus the hinges on all doors/lockers etc are totally over engineered and no danger of them ever falling off as in some British vans. The quality of construction is just in a different league from our previous vans.

VW Touareg Escape towing a 2018 Knaus Starclass 695

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31 minutes ago, fred said:

Unfortunately, I am not rich enough to sponsor, what I consider to be second rate.  

I get your point, but UK workers are expensive (minimum wage, NI etc) so corners have to be cut to keep prices competitive. 

Surely it would be better for the economy for the state to top up low UK wages than pay unemployment benefit (by whatever trend name you give it) with the labour element of the purchase price being exported to overseas workers.

Is there a case for the education system to aim some of its efforts to actually preparing kids for the jobs that really exist, or that could exist if we were not buying so much from abroad!

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We have a Hymer caravan dealer about 15 minutes away from home. The build quality of Hymer is excellent and the internal layout is well thought out..   Not so many bells and whistles or bling, which is the selling point of British built vans, so may not be to everyone's taste. 

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Wouldn’t touch Bailey with a barge pole. Horrendous company, as posted about on other topics.

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Yet my Bailey was the best caravan I ever had. We all have differing experiences. 

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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3 hours ago, Stevan said:

I get your point, but UK workers are expensive (minimum wage, NI etc) so corners have to be cut to keep prices competitive. 

Surely it would be better for the economy for the state to top up low UK wages than pay unemployment benefit (by whatever trend name you give it) with the labour element of the purchase price being exported to overseas workers.

Is there a case for the education system to aim some of its efforts to actually preparing kids for the jobs that really exist, or that could exist if we were not buying so much from abroad!

Britain unfortunately has low productivity compared to a lot of developed Europe,  including France for instance.   Part of the problem  is lack of investment, in manufacturing industry .   Have a dig around on the inter web and look at the conditions and the state of say the Adria factory and a U.K. one.

More broadly, it is recognised phenomenon called the car wash paradox.  All these hand washes have  sprung up, because labour is so cheap, it is not worth investing in equipment when you can employ 6 blokes with buckets.  The UK’s productivity just hasn’t increased in the last decade and has fallen further behind The rest of Europe. 

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Part of the problem here is that we have four, possibly five manufacturers, all building low numbers of caravans compared with the major continental firms like Hobby. They are not in a low cost environment in Germany but they turn out huge numbers of caravans from a single factory and have the advantages of large scale production. In comparison our builders turn out far lower numbers and the cost are therefore higher. There is no easy answer to this as even amalgamating companies does not work, you end up with more capacity but it means rationalising ranges which reduces choice and leads to lost sales.

If you look at say Coachman sales and compare with Hobby you will see the problem with the getting parts at low prices and having the finances to invest in new equipment. Elddis now being part of a far larger organisation, will presumably have benefited from their purchase power but it is still a small factory with the problems of lack of scale.

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British built vans would be good value IF !!!   They would spend more time and effort in the design and manufacture of vans  which do not "Leak".......................  Bling and bells and whistles are good for sales but do not make up for poor basic design and build quality.  

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On 09/05/2020 at 12:40, richardandros said:

Another one to disagree - our Knaus Starclass has everything that our previous Barcelona had, with the exception of a solar panel - plus a lot more....top of the range Thetford cooker, underfloor heating, built-in- microwave, massive bathroom that doubles as a dressing room with two huge wardrobes, shower and loo.  Loads of 12v, 240v and USB sockets, auto-changeover gas regulator, locks on all the windows, additional security bolts on the door - plus the hinges on all doors/lockers etc are totally over engineered and no danger of them ever falling off as in some British vans. The quality of construction is just in a different league from our previous vans.

I too disagree, whilst I only have an "entry level" Adria I would say that across their model range they are more or less, level for level,  equivalent for specification to UK caravans, with the possible exception of the Dometic hobs which admittedly, have only 3 gas burners and no (a  waste of time for those like myself who spend most of the time off-grid) electric hot plate.

Other than that my base model has fridge, combi oven and grill (not unusual in an entry level caravan), blown air heating (that also blows up behind the back rests as well as the low level vents), shower, toilet, LED strip mood lighting under all the top lockers, dimmable LED ceiling lights, a directional aerial and all the things you would expect in a caravan of that range.

Unusually, it has fitted mud flaps too.

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56 minutes ago, bspks said:

I too disagree, whilst I only have an "entry level" Adria I would say that across their model range they are more or less, level for level,  equivalent for specification to UK caravans, with the possible exception of the Dometic hobs which admittedly, have only 3 gas burners and no (a  waste of time for those like myself who spend most of the time off-grid) electric hot plate.

Other than that my base model has fridge, combi oven and grill (not unusual in an entry level caravan), blown air heating (that also blows up behind the back rests as well as the low level vents), shower, toilet, LED strip mood lighting under all the top lockers, dimmable LED ceiling lights, a directional aerial and all the things you would expect in a caravan of that range.

Unusually, it has fitted mud flaps too.

 

Sounds just like mine with mud flaps fitted. I did wonder if they were standard or an option. The other entry level feature for me is the lack of 240v outlets. But its not a major issue to be fair. 

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I don't want to enter the "mines better than yours' or "British is better than johnny foreigner" debate here. I would just say that I have bought Coachman for the last five caravans and can honestly say that I have had nothing to complain about - especially in the build quality department.  

I have visited their factory and have seen the care put into the build by skilled workmen and women - well paid ones BTW. 

I do not subscribe to the "British caravans always leak" school either. Each manufacturer  has developed bonding systems that have really worked.

I also like foreign caravans but find I cannot like their interiors generally - personal choice!

Go out (when you are able) and look at all vans you can and make up your own mind :wub:

 

Martin W

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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Don't forget "Dealer Specials" (nearly all major manufacturers do them) very often get more bang for you buck with added extras.;)

Edited by scotsstag

Defender 90  cruising along with a Coachman Laser 640/4.  :)

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15 minutes ago, scotsstag said:

Don't forget "Dealer Specials" (nearly all major manufacturers do them) very often get more bang for you buck with added extras.;)


True but it’s worth weighing up whether you actually need all of the extras you’re paying for. 

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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