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The Caravan Club & Manufacturers


Rod A
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I recently wrote to the CC asking them, as the club with the biggest number of members, the reason they don't take up problems members have with a manufacturer where lots of members are having the same problem.

 

This followed a discussion on the CC forum.

 

http://www. caravanclub. co. uk/community/discussions/club-talk/club-membership/Members-Representation-to-Caravan-Manufacturers/rt/933303/?p=0

 

 

Please see attached their reply.

CC Letter. pdf

Edited by Rod A
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so with the exception of the Bailey wheel dropping off debacle which the CC managed to get involved in they appear to have done nothing in the last 5 years since they stopped the Quality & Reliability surveys in 2008. Other than that theres nothing which gives a warm wet feeling that there is any interest in looking after the end user.

The response about the Dealer PDI not necessarily being carried out correctly simply highlights the poor quality of the units which are being churned out by the manufacturers.

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CC response is fair enough.

Perhaps "Which" magazine should look at the caravan industry and customer satisfaction in more detail?

The "Which" consumer organisation are not likely to deal with customer satisfaction matters nor look at a how a cottage industry like the caravan trade is run.

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. ...........which is a pity.

In my opinion the "Which" organisation has far more important matters such as consumer safety to investigate. How would anyone set up comparison tests between caravan manufacturers and the range of different models ?

Edited by DeeTee
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"Which" magazine regularly reports on consumer goods,including cars.

Caravans may well be a "cottage industry,but there is now a significant market in them.

Consumer safety also applies in terms of caravans I would have thought.

 

Two million plus cars registered in 2013 year against between 20,000 and 30,000 caravans purchased per year is a mere 1. 47% of the cars registered if the top figure of 30,000 is used. There are more serious implications from motor vehicle manufacturing faults or design errors than there possibly could be in a caravan.

 

The caravan market would seem to be divided between the new caravans produced each year and a very significant second hand market. A caravan is not a vehicle, it is a trailer habitation unit.

 

Caravan issues which are often discussed in this forum, such as water ingress, cracking panels and poor build quality can largely be resolved by the appropriate use of existing consumer legislation.

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Caravan issues which are often discussed in this forum, such as water ingress, cracking panels and poor build quality can largely be resolved by the appropriate use of existing consumer legislation.

They never actually get resolved - each new model year brings it's crop of design faults and water ingress - the caravan industry hasn't improved in 30 years to my knowledge.

 

But instead of looking to the CC or caravan magazines to take up the cause, caravanners should be looking at themselves - who are all the fools who keep buying caravans knowing there's a good chance of serious faults.

 

Buy a caravan, get all the faults fixed and leaks sealed during the warranty and then keep the caravan, don't trade it for a new one which is just as bad - that way, the makers will have to improve of go out of business.

2015 VW Touareg 3. 0 V6 TDI + 2013 Lunar Clubman ES

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Rod

 

Thanks for sharing. I think the letter puts the Club position very well although I accept not everyone will agree with it I expect. It seems a perfectly reasonable position to take and at least it is explained in good detail. Interesting comments about advertising v editorial in the magazine. I raised the issue of reliability surveys on the Club forum some time ago and its good to see that they intend to do another one.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

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

 

Caravan Travels

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Two million plus cars registered in 2013 year against between 20,000 and 30,000 caravans purchased per year is a mere 1. 47% of the cars registered if the top figure of 30,000 is used. There are more serious implications from motor vehicle manufacturing faults or design errors than there possibly could be in a caravan.

 

The caravan market would seem to be divided between the new caravans produced each year and a very significant second hand market. A caravan is not a vehicle, it is a trailer habitation unit.

 

Caravan issues which are often discussed in this forum, such as water ingress, cracking panels and poor build quality can largely be resolved by the appropriate use of existing consumer legislation.

An interesting perspective,if rather dogmatically expressed. I do not see the CC's position on this as untenable.

The point I was trying to express,perhaps clumsily,was that it is time to have some impartial statistics as to satisfied v dissatisfied owners over,say,the past ten years,or even,and here's a radical idea,journalist's' own perspectives as to build quality of caravans,taken on a random basis,

There seem to be absolutely no indicators, or statistics, as to build quality and reliability of UK caravan manufacturers.

This would seem to be a unique position in terms of UK consumers' information on any number of products.

Although I know this is unfair,the word "cartel" springs to mind.

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An interesting perspective,if rather dogmatically expressed. I do not see the CC's position on this as untenable.

The point I was trying to express,perhaps clumsily,was that it is time to have some impartial statistics as to satisfied v dissatisfied owners over,say,the past ten years,or even,and here's a radical idea,journalist's' own perspectives as to build quality of caravans,taken on a random basis,

There seem to be absolutely no indicators, or statistics, as to build quality and reliability of UK caravan manufacturers.

This would seem to be a unique position in terms of UK consumers' information on any number of products.

Although I know this is unfair,the word "cartel" springs to mind.

The problem is collecting any statistics, that is why I used the broad brush approach to my opening statement. The figure I quoted for new vehicle registrations was from government sources and should have been 2. 04 million whereas the figure for new caravan sale was a not too wild approximation.

 

Caravan manufacturers naturally keep any statistics about build quality to themselves for reasons of commercial confidentiality and it would be impossible to collect any figures which would give consumers any guidance.

 

The so-called reliability tests from which the Caravan Club used to collate were in my view merely the views of largely satisfied owners. People who bought caravans twenty years ago were a different cohort of people to the present caravan buyers and their responses to questions about build quality always seemed to be positive. In general they would buy a caravan as a consumer durable with no thought of changing it for another one two years later.

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Dear Sir, blah, blah, blah,etc. Having seen the state of caravan sent to major caravan shows, I believe that the manufactures have little or no interest in delivering a fully functional and finished caravan, I know this may seem to be a sweeping statement but having pointed out numerous blindingly obvious problems on manufacturers stands, they have all told me not to worry because they would all be sorted out by the dealer in the predelivery inspection. I don't know about the other members on the forum but I think I know who pays those PDI costs, and charging me another 500 quid for spotting (and fixing if we are really lucky) these manufacturing cock ups doesn't sit well with me. The idea that some mystic department in production produces perfect vans for delivery especially to caravan magazines for review seems very far fetched, or not as far fetched as the "we're not buying it, and we won't have to put up with it for very long" reviews that miss all those annoying problems that we all have to learn to live with. The sooner they get the message that they are not a "cottage industry", but mass producers of expensive consumer goods the better. The sooner the CC and the CC&C start acting for their "members" the better, known problems with makes and models of van should be published so we are not fobbed off with the usual " we've never heard of that problem before" or the "they're usually so reliable" glib statements that we meet when making a genuine complain about a faulty van or component. If Toyota can issue a global recall for a 5p washer check, when are the van manufacturers going to take their known issues seriously?

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The CC is a major caravan site operator and financial services provider of insurance and breakdown cover - it acts EXACTLY like a medium-sized company would that's looking to float on the Stock Market although CC denies this.

 

A members' club, no - a commericial organisation that charges an annual fee.

 

You wouldn't expect Hoburne to take on caravan manufacturers, why should CC be any different ?

2015 VW Touareg 3. 0 V6 TDI + 2013 Lunar Clubman ES

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The Caravan Club is a members club. For many of its functions it has to operate as a limited by guarantee company to protect the each individual member from be liable for the Club's debts and other liabilities. It is constitutionally prevented from being sold off.

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Dear Sir flashgordon There are many contributors to this topics who themselves make sweeping statements. :rolleyes:;)

No need to use my full title, its not being announced until the new year list, keep it under your hat! :lol:

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A good response however note that he states that managing the sites is their core business however the core business is running at a loss as per the previous P & L statements?

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One of the benefits of doing a Survey in 2015 will surely be that members will have better information on the medium term durability of the new construction methiods such as Alu-tech and SOLID etc which the manufacturers have claimed will solve problems like water ingress. A survey done any earlier might have given members a false sense of security.

 

In the meantime I'll stick with the Germans - last van 6 years old when sold and no damp and the current on seven years old and still no damp. ....

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Well. ..............

 

As the man from the CC said there has been lots of discussion on this subject, both here and on the CC Forum.

 

So, where do we go from here?

 

1. Will the CC change is view regarding dealing with members issues with manufacturers? It would appear not, they believe they are already doing a good jog.

 

2. The CC members could force a vote at the next annual conference to get change, er. .. any volunteers?

 

3. Someone, somebody takes up the challenge?

 

Just a few suggestions. Caravan Talk does a good job on the forum letting people express their views on the caravan problem they have, but these become diluted in the post as others reply, and you can't easily call them up for a particular make or monel.

 

Would Caravan Talk be able to set up a database that you could go into and leave information on your problem. It would need to be brief, something like:

 

1. Make

2. Model

3. Year

4. Problem (this would need to be very brief, such as 'Shower tray split' Say limited to three words.

 

The problems would then need collating so when you entered the make, model & year of the caravan your interested in up would come a list of all the problems people have had with it. You could see there were 100 people with split shower trays !!

 

This would then enable people with problems on their caravan, out of warranty, to write to the manufacturer saying "I see you had 100 split shower trays on your model caravan ***, I think this showers that legally it is not of merchantable quality in this respect, what are you going to do about it?

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As I understand it the CT forum is a free to members message board. There would appear to be no mechanism within the forum to set up and run a caravan faults database.

 

As I understand it The Leisure Talk group who provide the message board are a group of commercial businesses whose main source of revenue appears to come from advertising. It does not appear to be a consumer orientated campaigning organisation.

 

If the above is correct, I would suggest that it would not be in the best interests of the Leisure Talk group to even consider such a database.

 

However posts on the forum can be tagged and tags can be searched.

Edited by DeeTee
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Surely, the only surprise is that there *is* any surprise about the abysmal build quality of UK caravans?

 

We, after all, are now a sub-standard country, with a sub-standard education system that produces sub-standard workers who earn sub-standard wages in sub-standard factories. If they fall ill they are obliged to rely on a sub-standard health service, if they are made redundant they have to struggle against a sub-standard benefit system, and when the retire they will eventually fall into the clutches of sub-standard social services.

 

Is it any wonder that no-one cares about the stuff they make?

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Surely, the only surprise is that there *is* any surprise about the abysmal build quality of UK caravans?

 

We, after all, are now a sub-standard country, with a sub-standard education system that produces sub-standard workers who earn sub-standard wages in sub-standard factories. If they fall ill they are obliged to rely on a sub-standard health service, if they are made redundant they have to struggle against a sub-standard benefit system, and when the retire they will eventually fall into the clutches of sub-standard social services.

 

Is it any wonder that no-one cares about the stuff they make?

Having spent my life in manufacturing and being retired, I have tried to find an agreement with any of the above comments.

I have failed and do not recognize this sub-standard country mentioned.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Surely, the only surprise is that there *is* any surprise about the abysmal build quality of UK caravans?

 

We, after all, are now a sub-standard country, with a sub-standard education system that produces sub-standard workers who earn sub-standard wages in sub-standard factories. If they fall ill they are obliged to rely on a sub-standard health service, if they are made redundant they have to struggle against a sub-standard benefit system, and when the retire they will eventually fall into the clutches of sub-standard social services.

 

Is it any wonder that no-one cares about the stuff they make?

I have to disagree, things aren't perfect here but as for sub standard, there is a reason people travel through Europe to get to Calais. It isn't because the UK is sub standard, the drive for profits and lean business principles is the reason quality in the UK has dropped. That said, have you bought Chinese goods recently?

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So what country is Cumbria in then? Not England.

Ern

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