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swift have anounced 90 redundances seems the bailey unicorn as take more customers the unicorn valencia is the best selling caravan todate

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It is sad news for the people and the caravan industry . Not nice being made redundant I know its happened to me 3 times . :wacko:

 

 

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave
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I hadn't seen this report of redundancies - I don't have time to read the forum that often. But I'm not surprised - and if Swift don't respond to Bailey soon I think it can only get worse.

 

There's no caravan maker that I have a loyalty too - they all make occasional bad caravans that break and leak ( even Alu-tech and Hymers leak) - but after suffering the heartache of damp & rotten caravans I have to be swayed by new caravans that don't rot to invest £16k of my hard earned cash.

 

Which leaves me angry - why have the other caravan manufacturers responded properly - not just with eye catching sunroofs, but real advances in build technology. We need choice - and that choice is not as good or equal as it used to be. And if this continues then manufactures will go bust and we'll loose that choice forever.

 

So come on Swift - it's time to catch up.

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swift have anounced 90 redundances seems the bailey unicorn as take more customers the unicorn valencia is the best selling caravan todate

 

This isnt quite news.

 

Not quite sure how you make the link between Swift redundancies and Bailey Unicorns.

 

Jt

Coachman Pastiche

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This thread has actually brought some recent random thoughts of my own into focus.

 

I've never owned a Swift Group product but have a soft spot for them having had a private viewing of the smallest Bolero motorhome at Cottingham a few years back and met Peter Smith, a very nice man who changed the image of Swift Group motorhomes by becoming highly visible on MHF and fielding each and every brickbat and issue personally. I was also shown round the Autocruise factory by Steve Trossell, Swift's Motorhome Product Manager, so I always keep a watch out for their products.

 

Like a number of posters I feel that whilst sunroofs may look very nice they don't actually take the construction of caravans forward, after all they've had such roofs on motorhomes for many years.

 

Let's hope that Swift are working on something revolutionary for their vans of the future rather than the evolutionary stance they've adopted up to now. However I hope that they don't go 'sterile' like Bailey because that's the overall impression I get from inside their vans, whereas Swifts somehow seem less of a 'bare box'.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Let's hope that Swift are working on something revolutionary for their vans

 

Build quality would do for a start, not just Swift but all manufacturers. Whilst most people seem happy with their vans, there is a recurrent theme of things going wrong due to build quality.

 

Another thing which needs addressing, not entirely Swifts fault, is the customer service inflicted by some of their dealer netwrok. Some are brilliant, some positively not.

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This thread has actually brought some recent random thoughts of my own into focus.

 

I've never owned a Swift Group product but have a soft spot for them having had a private viewing of the smallest Bolero motorhome at Cottingham a few years back and met Peter Smith, a very nice man who changed the image of Swift Group motorhomes by becoming highly visible on MHF and fielding each and every brickbat and issue personally. I was also shown round the Autocruise factory by Steve Trossell, Swift's Motorhome Product Manager, so I always keep a watch out for their products.

 

Like a number of posters I feel that whilst sunroofs may look very nice they don't actually take the construction of caravans forward, after all they've had such roofs on motorhomes for many years.

 

Let's hope that Swift are working on something revolutionary for their vans of the future rather than the evolutionary stance they've adopted up to now. However I hope that they don't go 'sterile' like Bailey because that's the overall impression I get from inside their vans, whereas Swifts somehow seem less of a 'bare box'.

 

 

Interestingly we have had 3 trips to the Cottingham factory and on each occasion we were extremely impressed with the motorhome production lines compared to the caravan ones.

 

Perhaps they just take more skill and effort to assemble/construct ?

 

Bill

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Another thing which needs addressing, not entirely Swifts fault, is the customer service inflicted by some of their dealer netwrok. Some are brilliant, some positively not.

 

This was why Peter decided decided to jump in and go high profile on MHF because he was astounded at the bad feedback his company was getting. He and his team sorted out masses of problems that people had been trying to resolve with dealers. In the main dealers were blaming Swift for the negative responses and poor service but usually Swift knew nothing about the problem and the dealers were just palming off the customer. A case of get the sale then ignore the customer.

So, so short sighted and irresponsible.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Peter (from Swift) did the same here until they decided to set up their own forum.

 

Found the OP's opinion that Swift are losing out to Bailey interesting. We have been away for a month now in Scotland and I think I have seen as many of the new style Swifts as I have Baileys Unicorn range. Personally I don't like the idea of the sky light over the front bunks but by the time I might want to buy a new caravan that could have well changed.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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And last Sunday we travelled from Surrey Chertsey C & CC site. On site 2 Valencias New shape swifts 0. During the trip 170 miles north. 7 Valencias all headed south. New shape Swifts 1. I do not draw any conclusions from such a small sample other than, that day we saw what we saw.

 

Fact - Bailey have increased sales massively since the introduction of the Alu-Tech Body.

Fact - Swift have been forced to lay off staff due to lack of sales. (Their words)

 

Fact Bailey have been buying new land to allow for expansion of their business.

 

We are now in a situation where the Bailey system technology has only been used a short time in the Caravan world, although it has been used in other applications for decades.

The traditional Stick and Screw construction used for decades has known issues. that the Public are fed up with.

It will resolve itself over the next few years, but how many of us now own cars made of wood.

 

The traditional construction reminds me of the cars we were buying years ago that rusted out before our eyes. You could put under seal on them and industries existed to attempt to Rust proof them. Then enterprising manufacturers started to use galvanised steel and modern rust proof materials. The others relied on styling and add ons. The enterprising companies prospered the Underseal brigade went to the wall. not straight away, but as the years went by the cars that did not rust showed up those that did.

 

If Bailey have it right then the same thing will happen to the Stick and Screw brigade. Wood was my business for years and whilst it is admirable in many ways, it is most categorically not the best way to frame a box, especially when you then drill 100s of holes in it, that is likely to get wet. Any manufacturer that thinks that is head in sand ignoring scientific facts.

Until now with rare exceptions the public have been forced to purchase 'Traditional construction' Now they do not. If Swift - Explorer - others have not realised this yet then they are blind. The last 2 years sales show the Public are talking with their wallets.

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I agree with Alan.

 

Bailey took a huge financial gamble moving to Alutech, and its taken them a couple of years to get it right. They upset a few people along the way, but their quality now seems to be improving again, and the Unicorn has huge internal appeal. Its a shame the front is so upright - I'm sure that's very poor aerodynamically [i do wonder whether the Alutechs give lower MPG than the equivalent Swifts, and are maybe less stable]. If Bailey could get their basic QA right, they'd probably clean up.

 

The Alutechs also have some other innovations, such as the detchable bumpers. The repair after clipping a post or wall is now matter of replacing the bumper or upright - not replacing a rear panel at huge cost.

 

Swift did the sensible thing and at least moved to treated timber (others don't seem to have done even that), and the current vans look gorgeous from the outside (much better than the Baileys). But I think that so many people have been through the misery of a damp caravan that moving to Alutech is a sensible decision for many buyers. After all, cars haven't been made from wood since the 1930s (the morris traveller and Morgans excepted). It does seem a very old fashioned technique.

 

There are alternatives which Swift could adopt. I do wonder whether something clever could be done with carbon fibre, for example.

 

Bailey are now moving into motorhomes, again using Alutech. It will take a few years, but they could easily become the default choice for many people. I agree with Alan, that we could be at a pivotal moment in caravan manufacturer dynamics.

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I think I'll stick with my steel framed Eriba with it's aluminium skin whose basic construction goes back 1957. Maybe if Baileys could produce an Alu-Tech van that looked as cosy inside as our Troll I might be tempted.

As for Bailey's launch into the world of motorhomes, i was expecting something revolutionary and they produced something that looks like everybody else, very underwhelming.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Alan n Tigger,

 

Do you honestly believe what you are writing? GREAT idea poorly executed. Can you imagine how popular an AluTech would be if it was built by another manufacturer? My Olympus was appalling ! Innovations? Removable bumpers have been around for 20 years or more on the continentals. They are not as strong as Bailey would have you believe. I can find NO OTHER manufacturer whos van is so weak that the side walls crease at the weakest point ie over the door. Just look at how many are available second hand under 3 years old. Why because they condense on the inside like no other van around. They are thrown together mine creaked like one of Henry VIII 's ships of the line. Whilst the idea is sound the application is flawed. The day I was granted a refund on mine was red letter day and only served to put in sharp focus the difference in build quality of a traditional van builder, Coachman and an AluTech with all its inherent shortcomings. The sadness is whilst Bailey are completely over hyped in the caravan press people, like me once, will make the mistake of buying them only to cry later.

 

Steam driven Andy has it about right

 

Jt

Edited by JTS

Coachman Pastiche

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I can find NO OTHER manufacturer whos van is so weak that the side walls crease at the weakest point ie over the door.

There are a couple here . ...

 

http://www. caravantalk. org. uk/topic/47523-2011-buccaneer-caravel-wall-crease/

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OK we know ALL manufacturers regardless of manufacturing system have quality control issues. .. ALL of them build bad ones from time to time and sadly faults seem to be a fact of life with new vans and has been a problem for a while it is not a new problem as I read about horrors to look out for before we bought our first van which was also a brand new one.

 

Driving back from Somerset on Friday I would guess 75% of the newer vans were Alu Tech ones. Now good or bad Bailey are selling them fast. The dealer we bought out Olympus from do sell many others including one of the European brands as well as their own special editions too. . But it seems the guy we dealt with was happier to sell Bailey over the other brands. Now for a large dealer with quite a good reputation for service I would think to be pushing a brand that some feel has more problems than any other brand would be a killer for them as they would be doing more warrenty work than normal. So I dont think they can be worse than others overall.

 

Anyway I digress. .. The age of wood builds is coming to an end I feel too. . There is a need for lighter more aerodynamic vans which can be pulled by lighter vehicles and try and ease fuel consumption too. . If Swift are to survive and hopefully prosper they need to look not only at shape, which I will admit their new vans externally look great, but construction methods too. Now it seems there is some work looking at how to make carbon fibres cheaper as demand is increasing and IF they can reduce the cost to manufacture then this material could be ideal. But cost is an issue at the moment, for a 1m/sq sheet of carbon we use that is two layers of 200gr m/sq carbon with a 10mm core, it would cost about £65 per M/sq. But this would weigh no more than 700 to 800 grams and be strong enough for an adult to stand on with no problems. But as was mentioned before building a sub 1000kg 4 berth van would be possible. But again quality control for the final product would be a key issue due to the suspicious nature of caravan buyers. It is a lot of money for our hobby and if a new system does not work then it can be a nightmare. But build it and prove it out, then move foward. It is now a time where technology is going to have to play a part in the future of caravan building and manufacturers are going to have to see the end user as its customer not just the dealers they sell through.

 

WE are the ones who have forced Swift to lay 90 people off and we are the ones who have pushed Bailey into looking at expansion. We have done this through our wallets. .. Good or bad, love or hate a brand we are the ones who drive brands forward or close them down.

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Interesting discussion (well most of it) I wondered about the 'drag' of my Valancia as well prior to towing.

 

This summer we completed a 2k miles trip through France with friends.

My Rig - Kia Sorento KX2 Auto and Unicorn Valencia at about 1550 kgs

Friends Rig - Hyundai Santa fe Auto towing Lunar Clubman SE at about 1450 kgs

 

So car engines/gearbox identical. My car 5000 miles other done about 12000 miles. Both vans as near new as makes no difference.

We travelled together but not playing follow my leader, who was in front was irrelevant and usually 500 m plus apart sometimes out or sight. Both used cruise control a lot.

 

Our Fuel consumption when towing as near 25 mpg as makes no difference. Theirs was never more than 1 mpg better but never lower than ours. I consider the slight difference was due to a extra 100 kgs of weight and the fact that our engine was still tight. Since passing the 10k mark our Sorento is noticeably better on fuel. last week end 320 miles towing returned 26 mpg.

 

Aerodynamics especially with coupled vehicles is, I suspect a very complex subject. I also watched a series on Discovery years ago that showed that it is not just the shape that matters. All sorts of factors came into play especially the smoothness of the surface and the lack of bits sticking out. The pointy dart shape was not the most efficient, but a tear drop shape blunt end first was the best in the application discussed. The most important bit being the rear end not the front.

 

No idea if this correct for Caravans but if true then Bailey are probably correct in the new Orion rear end, and I would love to see the comparisons with a van fitted with the existing roof lights e. t. c. and one made with flush fittings I wouldn't be surprised to see a gain in mpg in the latter. One thing I have noticed with the Valencia. It is the first van I can wash without destroying a sponge and or my hands on sharp and sticky out bits so perhaps it's actually better than visuals make us think. The Swift (old shape) on the other hand is a Bas*^"!d and draws blood every time.

 

We personally found the execution of the Swift front mark 1 a little clumsy. The price, the weights and equipment levels and one look at the way it was engineered to the roof was enough to put me off anyway. This years appears a lot better but I haven't had a chance to see how it's put together yet (especially the front to roof join). Styling aside the fact remains as to how they construct the basic box. The introduction of 'treated wood' in the frame is just fingers in the holes in the dyke. The wood treatment used is not given and may or may not be correct for an enclosed environment, if they don't tell us we can't judge. It does not in anyway address the problem of a design hat should be engineered to be water proof. Nor does it answer the problem that the wall board used for the inside is not water proof and will degrade as rapidly as ever if water enters the structure,

 

Given that the main function of the van is a living space, with requirements for comfort, functionality, and life expectancy of the structure I can live with placing these way above styling of the outside. Well almost there are some things in life that are so ugly they over rule the above.

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I wonder how many people keep their new caravan for more than 6 years? The urge to change seems to crop up in our household every 3 years. ..or sooner. So frankly I am more concerned with the living space, layout and features than whether the body will outlive it's damp warranty.

 

The industry should take a leaf out of powertouch's book. 5year unconditional repair at your premises as soon as it can be arranged.

 

I've had them out 3 times in 3 years. The fact their product has failed 3 times is somehow forgotten when the repair service is so quick and unconditional. It's the hassle I get from dealers when trying to get simple repairs done under warranty that annoys and alienates.

 

 

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