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Why Are German Caravans So Much Cheaper?


silverfoxapparently
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As most people probably know, ive been looking at all possibilities of caravan. I dont have little england syndrome and have been looking on the continent.

 

This has been fuelled by a lot of german van owners saying that their vans are superior to british vans previously or newly owned.

 

The first really sensible thing that is apparent is that you get a base model and build from there.

 

Dont need an external gas point? Dont need an external shower? Dont need ATC? That'll shave a couple of thousand straight off.

 

But even when speccing a Burstner, like for like and layout, against a Coachman VIP or Elddis Buccaneer the price is still around £5K less.

 

So for Bailey prices you get better than british build quality.

 

And the distancs to the dealer? One in Calais and one in Rotterdam (Hook of Holland). So if you live in eastern England its no worse than going to Liverpool, Devon or Wales.

 

Why dont the german caravan manufacturers go for it over here?

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I queried why the dealer who sold us our Geist caravan had stopped importing them when we wanted to replace it three years ago and was told it was because the exchange rate of E to £ made them prohibitively expensive. And yes, of the four makes of van we have had over the years it was the best.

Kia Sorrento towing a Coachman VIP 575/4

 

Our blog: jennyandjohngocaravanning. wordpress. com

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I cant see the exchange rate arguement.

 

They must be making profit on their 26. 000 vans advertised right?

 

Exchange rate puts that at £21,000 ish.

 

Thats a £3 to 5k undercut of premium spec vans.

 

As I understand on some posts on here, the markup is about that on a new caravan in britain.

 

So in theory the germans could set up shop for lower prices, same(?) profit margins and better vans?

 

Is this the wake up call british manufacturers need?

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It is all down to exchange rates, Hymer disappeared from the market for a time and Fendt seems to have gone the same way. Part of the problem is a perceived appetite among British buyers for frilly curtains and velour upholstery etc. German vans tend to be more utilitarian and when importers try to make them more "British" spoil them as per Hymer a few years ago

David

Various vans 78-2019,  currently  Hobby Excellent 540 FU and Mercedes E220 CDI Estate

www. caravan-europe. co. uk

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You should also think about when you come to sell it, I have known poeple who bought vans abroad they have had great difficulty selling on.

 

Not a problem if you intend to keep, but British Dealers are loathed to px so you have to sell privately at reduced value.

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Hi, I've always believed that because most continental vans don't have full sized cookers carpets and have curtains that are for show, just peices of curtain that look like the real setup, there is also no requirement for fire proof foam in the upholstery, the water heater is electric and usuallly about 5 litres. I think the approach to camping is different than it is in GB, more people cook and eat outside, camp facilities are used more,ie showers,toilets. So maybe they don't need all of the extras that the British vans have.

Knaus sudwind 500 TL C4 grand Picasso 2. 0 hdi 138 EGS Exclusive

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Hi, I've always believed that because most continental vans don't have full sized cookers carpets and have curtains that are for show, just peices of curtain that look like the real setup, there is also no requirement for fire proof foam in the upholstery, the water heater is electric and usuallly about 5 litres. I think the approach to camping is different than it is in GB, more people cook and eat outside, camp facilities are used more,ie showers,toilets. So maybe they don't need all of the extras that the British vans have.

Hence my like for like spec against british vans.

 

Water heater upgrade, the lot. ..

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The larger German caravans over 7m as they are not a touring caravan in the UK the VAT is reduced to the VAT rate of a living caravan.

 

 

The Bailey Retreats are as cheap as the smaller Unicorns for this reason.

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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A neighbour, ex UK Forces in Germany, had a Munsterland over there which he would put on site in France or Holland for the Summer, all electrics etc. ..wonderful 'van. ....little decoration, no carpets etc. .. Could not sell it to trade in UK, only people interested were fairground folk who could run it off gennys. ...It went back over channel and got rid of it to first dealer in Belgium.

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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The larger German caravans over 7m as they are not a touring caravan in the UK the VAT is reduced to the VAT rate of a living caravan.

The Bailey Retreats are as cheap as the smaller Unicorns for this reason.

Dave

The UK dealer will have to pay delivery costs from Germany or if they collect ferry costs and fuel and wages they then have the cost of changing the electrics to UK spec.

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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You should also think about when you come to sell it, I have known poeple who bought vans abroad they have had great difficulty selling on.

 

Not a problem if you intend to keep, but British Dealers are loathed to px so you have to sell privately at reduced value.

I think the question is partially answered right here, if the demand is not there they will not be sold in the UK, and if they are unwanted, it is for good reasons, all the things they don't have which makes them cheaper. Looking at vans at the caravan salon in Dusseldorf las year, the better specced vans, there is not much difference in price to UK van of similar size and spec.

Land Rover Discovery and Conquerer 630

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We are long time Hymer owners and looked at self imports.

 

I am surprised at your findings that "like for like" the German ones come out cheaper but I dont know the Burnster range, however with the Hymer it was far from cheaper.

I think you will struggle to get like for like at the basic spec level; UK vans nearly all come with battery operation, carpets, three front windows, ovens more than three burner hobs, window blinds etc etc. A basic Hymer is very basic indeed though of excellent quality. If Hymer are an example then a truly basic one will be likely to be a factory order and as things are done in batches could involve a 6 month wait.

Reselling a very basic no 12 volt unit in the UK would as has been said not be easy via the trade.

 

Changing the mains electric sockets is a very cheap easy DIY operation if competent to do so, 5 minutes a socket and readily available.

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Surely it is all down to what is included in the basic price, as has been said earlier. British caravanners like to have more in their caravans, full wash-rooms/showers, oven, microwave, carpets, sprung mattresses etc.

 

The British way of caravanning for many is geared more to rallies and CLs/CSs, where site facilities might not be so good or even non-existent and the caravan must be self sufficient.

Continental caravanning is done in countries where there is not the network of CLs, and the majority of sites are better equipped. The site washing facilities are used more, more cooking is done outdoors, and the thought of wasting space on an oven and microwave, well. ..

 

NB I am trying to word this carefully as I know full well that there are excellent fully equipped sites in the UK, but as a percentage of the total number of sites,(including CLs etc), their numbers are smaller.

 

I suspect that this is the real reason behind companies like Burstner and Geist no longer exporting to the UK. Remember that Burstner still have a very successful motorhome line for sale in the UK. If it was entirely down to exchange rate problems surely they would have stopped motor homes too. By the same count this is why you should think carefully about the resale of your van if you buy abroad. You may well have to take it back to mainland Europe to sell. I bought my Burstner, with English Spec (e. g. 3 pin plugs and oven) second hand in the UK but if I ever want to trade I am pretty sure I would want another Burstner and will probably change the plugs to Euro and take it to Germany to trade.


Hyundai Santa Fe CRD auto + Burstner Belcanto 525 TL

 

http://www. oldagetraveller. net/

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have you allowed for any import duty and VAT?

 

poolebob

 

 

A caravan is not an NMT so VAT is paid in the country of purchase (no duty on caravans)

 

Over the years I've imported, from the EU, two lots of leather furniture, an inflatable boat, two large motor scooters, two cars and three caravans. Most people stick to wine and a baguette.

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have you allowed for any import duty and VAT?

 

poolebob

 

In the EEC VAT is payable in the country in which the order is placed - if you order a van in Germany then the VAT is payable in Germany - if you order the same van from a UK dealer then the VAT is payable in the UK.

Alan

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Have you considered the Adria range. The base Altea is kind of basic as you like and means you can add required upgrades to a well made base van (polyester sides, long A frame,

Although basic it isn't as basic as the domestic models German makes and does come with oven, blow heating, full 12v system, gas and elec water heater decent sized shower room for instance on the 542DT)

 

They are full UK spec with door on correct side and no problems in second hand market and indeed seem to be holding their value reasonably well now. Many ideas from some of these Euro vans are now seen in design of UK manufacturers

 

I think one issue many continental makes face is establishing a good coverage with their dealer network and service network

 

Good luck with your search. Being able to go in without any pre conceived brand loyalty or ideas on "all Euro vans" or even brand snobbery does open up far more choices for you and at least you will have a something a little different from the row on row of UK white boxes

Unless you've tried it, you simply won't understand. .....

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  • 2 weeks later...

the other cost factor of recent years is the fact they were making them with UK side doors also, which being that so few were sold here, this had a large affect on build costs.

 

 

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If you buy a European caravan with a fixed bed at the tow bar end of the caravan and pitch nose in, your door and awning are on the "correct" side and your lounge area faces outwards - no problem.

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In answer to the original question:

 

Probably because they don't need to build in large amounts of revenue to fund the rectification of defects during the warranty period.

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Being German myself and owning a 15 year old Wilk i can just confirm that maybe there is a different view to caravanning in Germany.

 

Most of the time you would try to be outside and if "inside", you would have an awning.

Seldom you see Germans without one.

 

When it comes to cooking, you will very often hear "I do not use the kitchen in the van, i do my cooking in the awning".

Seems like most of my fellow countrymen are afraid that when it comes to selling their van, the less has been used the more you get for it.

Same applies to the toilet. I am in a big German caravan forum and ever so often people there state that they do not use the van's toilet at all.

 

Personally i think this is a bit weird. Why buy a caravan that has a kitchen and toilet in there and not use them.

 

Also, as you have written before, kitchens in German caravans normally are very basic. Three burner hob, sink, thank you.

No oven, no grill (no toast).

 

I do have a microwave in the van - very exotic to my friends this seems ;-)

 

Showers in German Caravans are also not very widely used. Many of the vans only have a very small bathromm with no shower.

Ours too does not have a shower cubicle but i also do not really miss it.

 

But we use all facilities and appliances in the van.

 

I do fancy English caravans thoug. They do have a mor cosy layout with the lounges and big sofas and once my children have left the house i will definetely buy one :)

 

We spend our summer holidays in UK - maybe i meet some of you guys and we can have a mutual close look at them vans.

 

Cheers

Peter

Edited by Pekabe

2007 Renault Espace 2. 0 Turbo followed by a 1999 Wilk Tipi 530TK

 

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Because our Burstner was built to English spec it has an oven. It creates a lot of interest abroad, particularly from Germans who like to cook.


Hyundai Santa Fe CRD auto + Burstner Belcanto 525 TL

 

http://www. oldagetraveller. net/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ive imported a Hobby from Germany a few years ago. There are no import duties payable and the VAT was paid in Germany to the dealer. A check with UK customs after i returned confirmed this. The price i paid in Germany is the cost of the van. I used Joeressens in Rheindalen near Moenchengladbach. Very helpful. No problems.

Sterling Elite Emerald

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