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Off To Das Europe And Bought A Van !


team_kona
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Ok, so we emerged from the Stena Hollandica thursday morning after a very pleasant and carm crossing overnight and made our way across Holland (via a dealer in Arnhem ) and onto the 2014 caravan salon the next morning.

 

What a show ! And what a refreshing change from the UK examples here at the NEC twice a year, about 8 massive air conditioned halls, bright airy and clean. Most of the major manufactures had either a whole hall or at least half a hall to themselves. Each stand was a mix of motorhomes and caravans and at no point did we feel it was overcrowded or that were about to be pounced on by a dealer asking us the same quizzing question. The fellow visitors were soooo polite and we were treated with a hallo or guten tag or a conversation if they found out were were English on occasion.

 

It was noticeable that the set up is so different, a manufacture sets his stall out, brings along 80% of the vans it offers, mainly the top sellers and it is a basic spec with a few choice extras. By visiting a stand you find out exactly what you want, there is usually a list of dealers and none of them hassle you . You can then either ask questions and confirm a price or just move onto another hall after being invited for a coffee and cake.

 

The is Unlike the NEC where you find the same van over and over again on either a manufactures stand or a big dealers stand where the price varies by £££££ if it has a microwave or deluxe velour upholstery option fitted or not. You find yourself going backwards and forwards looking at the same van trying to workout what the difference is. Often finding the same van just renamed for a dealer with some localised name at the same price.

 

It felt like we were in a car dealership or proper trade shows and made a refreshing change.

 

I had identified 4 or 5 models that we wanted to take a look at, all with a fixed bed and nice seating area. These were:

 

Klaus 450 FU, Adria 462PU, Dethcleffs C,Go and C,Trend 475 FR, Wiensburg 450FU, Burstner 450TS.

All with this layout.

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I agree with you, the Dusseldorf show is so refreshing, for those of you who haven't been, it really is worth a visit, at least once. It isn't crowded because there is so much space, the vans and motorhomes are laid out with loads of space around them, and salespeople, well you have to go looking for them, ths show is a showcase, not a sell as much as you can affair. The Dusseldorf exhibition halls too are very good, they are huge to start with, and you can go outside and sit in the sun, you are not sealed inside like the NEC.

Land Rover Discovery and Conquerer 630

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We spent 7 hours at the show, had some nice beers, bratwurst and a great day, oh and yes we bought a caravan, our first ever caravan. .... Opppps. .

 

Before the show if you had asked me why we were going I would had said we were very interested in the knaus 450Fu mainly, we had received a price beforehand and worked out what options we would require. I really wanted to have a look at what Adria had to offer and also Dethleffs.

 

Well Adria really disappointed, they didn't really turn up with any caravans apart from the rather lame four4 declaring a world premier ! (Thought that was in Coventry a month ago). Maybe Adria don't sell many caravans in Germany ??? But they just didn't seam to bother at this show. Dethleffs had some really good models but the all white interiors were scuffed and marked already not only at the show but also at a dealer we visited, these would look shabby very quickly.

 

We came across the Carado brand and their range of 4 caravans which offered excellent value at prices ranging from £8000 to £10000 new !!!!! An ideal and good value starter caravan, one model had a huge storage area and nice layout but we thought the bed layout wouldn't work for long.

 

We had a look at the Eribas and TABs but they are just too small and retro for us I guess, we avoided the excellent Hobbys and tabberts and fendts I'm afraid due to stigmatism's of travellers. But they did look very modern and offer very high quality !

 

We did however come across Burstner, we spent a lot of time on this stand and we were made very welcome. The guys on the reception spoke great English (few !). We went to have a look their basic model the Premio 450ts, my wife had not really looked at this model before unlike me on the internet but from the moment we got onboard we were impressed with what was on show. It was a basic model but the finnish and quality of components were impressive. The seats were firm but it has excellent zip on zip off cushions, you have the option of around 8 different fabric combinations on the basic model plus 5 higher spec leather for extra cost. All the lighting is LED and is fitted with up date toilet and fire versions, it has a little cubby hole where your TV fits and can be stored away and a good sized bathroom and wardrobe. We were introduced to a dealer from Monchengladback (camping Krings) called Simon who spoke great English and was very unassuming and helpful, After a coffee and bit of small talk we're we're told the basic price €14800 and asked what extras we would like, after a shower, premio packet (heaters/water/fly screen) delivery charge etc we were facing €2000+ of extras and a figure. He then made some calls to his boss and wrote down a "show discount" figure. .. Well we were not expecting the figure but it put a smile on our face. After another quick walk around. A pint of German beer 40 mins swapping cushion combinations a deal was done and a boss from burstner shook our hands and handed us a bottle of German pink bubbly !

 

So there we go, a new caravan is ordered, delivery expected in the new year. No deposit paid (we are amazed at this) and my first towing experience will be when we collect it in Germany ! Doesn't bother me as I have been driving abroad since I was 19. Let the adventure begin. How mad are we !!!!

I agree with you, the Dusseldorf show is so refreshing, for those of you who haven't been, it really is worth a visit, at least once. It isn't crowded because there is so much space, the vans and motorhomes are laid out with loads of space around them, and salespeople, well you have to go looking for them, ths show is a showcase, not a sell as much as you can affair. The Dusseldorf exhibition halls too are very good, they are huge to start with, and you can go outside and sit in the sun, you are not sealed inside like the NEC.

And they allow dogs in too ! And such we'll behaved ones, we wish we had bought our mutt with us !

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I noticed too, a lot of dogs at the show, it does make you wonder why no dogs are allowed at the NEC. For interest, how do you tow a van in Germany with no German plate, or can you just put your UK plate on, and congratulations on the new van, Burstner make a nice van.

Land Rover Discovery and Conquerer 630

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As long as you are towing with a UK registered car just put your UK plate on the van.

David and Barbara

Landrover Discovery with Hobby 495

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A few points from a dog owner I would not want a new caravan that came complete with dog hairs. I would rather they were added later by our dog alone. I certainly wouldn't want to trawl our caravan loving Springer Spaniel around a caravan show.

 

Secondly have you got a UK spec or Euro spec van my main point being is the door on the UK nearside because if not you may have problems if you wish to erect awnings on UK sites?

 

Thirdly what about after sales warranty work is there a Burstner dealer near to your home if not what have you agreed. All caravans can have/develop faults however well made they appear?

David

Nissan X-Trail Adventura KIA Sorento & Elddis Affinity 554

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Thirdly what about after sales warranty work is there a Burstner dealer near to your home if not what have you agreed. All caravans can have/develop faults however well made they appear?

That would interest me too. There are no longer any Burstner caravan dealers in GB, but the former dealers still have access to the parts systems and the motorhome dealers do too. In any event the bulk of the caravan is just like any other, Truma, Dometic, Al-Ko etc. The main issue is with warranty. To be fair, the likelihood of a warranty claim on a Burstner is very low, but you need to be aware.

 

Incidentally the dealer why I bought mine, MG Caravans of Todmorden, whilst no longer a Burstner dealer, knows Burstners inside out (the older ones at any rate) and I am happy to trek the length of the country to take mine back to him for service. If you find it too far for a day trip from east Midlands, there is a Caravan Club CL a couple of hundred yards away at Todmordon Cricket Club.


Hyundai Santa Fe CRD auto + Burstner Belcanto 525 TL

 

http://www. oldagetraveller. net/

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Seems you had a good time and got a good deal. I really do want to go to this expo!!!!

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

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We spent 7 hours at the show, had some nice beers, bratwurst and a great day, oh and yes we bought a caravan, our first ever caravan. .... Op

 

 

And they allow dogs in too ! And such we'll behaved ones, we wish we had bought our mutt with us !

 

 

Oh no pleeeeeeease. ..not dogs at these shows or anywhere involving large crowds. It's unfair to the dogs and to people.

 

I was also Dusseldorf where one woman had SEVEN dogs on leads. What was the point?

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Secondly have you got a UK spec or Euro spec van my main point being is the door on the UK nearside because if not you may have problems if you wish to erect awnings on UK sites?

 

Thanks For everyone's interest and encouragement, it is all a little daunting but the process so far seams ok, I have just been translating parts of the contact to English and all seams ok, I have also been asking questions on a German forum too ( thanks to google translate !)

 

The caravan in German spec and yep the door is on the opposite side, we probably won't be buying an awning as it just another area to fill I guess for us, we plan to get a Flamia zip to start with and treat it as a shelter more than an extra room. A lot of German caravans have the bedroom at the front end and the seating area at the back ! This is something we quite like as you don't have a sloping bit above you. This means that if we get asked to pitch up the caravan on a site the opposite to everyone else (nose in) then we will still be looking out the same way and not facing a hedge or similar ! The door will be on the same side as everyone else ! It's only 1200kg so not to heavy to turn 180deg.

 

Can anyone see a problem with this ??

 

Thirdly what about after sales warranty work is there a Burstner dealer near to your home if not what have you agreed. All caravans can have/develop faults however well made they appear?

Ok so this is something we have looked into and asked questions on, Knaus and Hymer offer European wide warranties on there vehicles so long as like here their serviced and damp, gas checked, all dealers that take on franchise agreements are bound to do this work. A motorhome dealer will use the same log in for Hymer (burstner is part of hymer) so we have been told that so long as there a dealer they can sign this off. We have approached a number of motor home and also caravan dealers and have been assured that will be happy to do this and any warranty work required. Failing this Burstner as a company has a workshop and service centre at the same place as their made (near Strasbourg) and we said if we have any issues we could always take it there for a holiday. This could all fall apart when it come to a real situation but I understand that caravans on the whole are a rubbish product worldwide and it a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping nothing structural is wrong as that's when we camp outside the dealers in Germany I guess. Fingers are crossed !

post-66226-0-51367500-1410390199_thumb.jpg

Edited by team_kona
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Oh no pleeeeeeease. ..not dogs at these shows or anywhere involving large crowds. It's unfair to the dogs and to people.

 

I was also Dusseldorf where one woman had SEVEN dogs on leads. What was the point?

Ah, but there were no crowds ! Apart from in the beer and bratwurst tent outside ! As we were walking in I thought it was bad to bring them but when you see the halls and how cool it is in there I came around to the idea and kinda wished our mutt was with us, he has already been dragged around plenty of dealers in this country and there seams to be more Rottweilers and bull dogs selling the caravans that are more worrying !

 

It all depends on the owners and temperament of the dogs I guess, I didn't see any that looked distressed ! Quite the opposite as most had fancy carpets to crash on while owners poked and prodded

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The caravan in German spec and yep the door is on the opposite side,

Can anyone see a problem with this ??!

Just stick to CLs, you can park facing the hedge, nose out, lengthways along the hedge, diagonal in the corners and no-one cares where your door is, or whether you've parked 1/1000 of an inch too far away from a wooden post!

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That would interest me too. There are no longer any Burstner caravan dealers in GB, but the former dealers still have access to the parts systems and the motorhome dealers do too. In any event the bulk of the caravan is just like any other, Truma, Dometic, Al-Ko etc. The main issue is with warranty. To be fair, the likelihood of a warranty claim on a Burstner is very low, but you need to be aware.

 

Incidentally the dealer why I bought mine, MG Caravans of Todmorden, whilst no longer a Burstner dealer, knows Burstners inside out (the older ones at any rate) and I am happy to trek the length of the country to take mine back to him for service. If you find it too far for a day trip from east Midlands, there is a Caravan Club CL a couple of hundred yards away at Todmordon Cricket Club.

Thanks NOT SO BIG. That's a really useful contact, he could fit us the electronics and battery too so we can stay on the cl site (hee hee) as we are opting for a retro fit here hopefully.

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We had a Hymer with the door on the "wrong"side for 7 years. Like your the Bursner it had the dinning area at the back. Sometimes we parked nose in sometimes we didn't The only time we were told that we had to park nose in was at an English cc national. Apart from that we parked whatever we wanted. Enjoy it.

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Thanks For everyone's interest and encouragement, it is all a little daunting but the process so far seams ok, I have just been translating parts of the contact to English and all seams ok, I have also been asking questions on a German forum too ( thanks to google translate !)

 

The caravan in German spec and yep the door is on the opposite side, we probably won't be buying an awning as it just another area to fill I guess for us, we plan to get a Flamia zip to start with and treat it as a shelter more than an extra room. A lot of German caravans have the bedroom at the front end and the seating area at the back ! This is something we quite like as you don't have a sloping bit above you. This means that if we get asked to pitch up the caravan on a site the opposite to everyone else (nose in) then we will still be looking out the same way and not facing a hedge or similar ! The door will be on the same side as everyone else ! It's only 1200kg so not to heavy to turn 180deg.

 

Can anyone see a problem with this ??

 

Ok so this is something we have looked into and asked questions on, Knaus and Hymer offer European wide warranties on there vehicles so long as like here their serviced and damp, gas checked, all dealers that take on franchise agreements are bound to do this work. A motorhome dealer will use the same log in for Hymer (burstner is part of hymer) so we have been told that so long as there a dealer they can sign this off. We have approached a number of motor home and also caravan dealers and have been assured that will be happy to do this and any warranty work required. Failing this Burstner as a company has a workshop and service centre at the same place as their made (near Strasbourg) and we said if we have any issues we could always take it there for a holiday. This could all fall apart when it come to a real situation but I understand that caravans on the whole are a rubbish product worldwide and it a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping nothing structural is wrong as that's when we camp outside the dealers in Germany I guess. Fingers are crossed !

No problem at all with door on wrong side, as you say put van in back to front and your dining room is at the same end as everyone else and the awning the same side.

 

We visited the Service Centre ay Kehl (over the river from Strasbourg) a few years ago for some parts. Clumsy me had broken the bedroom light fitting. We were on the way to Italy so it was only a minor detour. They do not as a rule do any work there but they have all the parts you might need, they are very friendly, helpful and speak good English. In fact the following year I was at the NEC and the same guy was on the Burstner Motorhome stand and remembered me.


Hyundai Santa Fe CRD auto + Burstner Belcanto 525 TL

 

http://www. oldagetraveller. net/

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Congrats on the van - you've chosen wisely :D

 

Our current Bailey is our first UK van for many years - having previously owned Hymer, LMC & Hobby.

 

With LMC and Hobby we found that the exterior construction (sealing etc) was far better than any conventionally built UK model - but the interior fit and finish was often no better (sometimes worse) than UK caravans - particularly so with Hobby.

 

Hymer were first rate inside & out.

 

We chose a UK van this time purely because of Alutech - which I still consider to be just about the best construction method available - except, perhaps, for the new 'no wood at all' Swifts (but they are top of the market, and priced accordingly)

 

The one thing that I REALLY miss is the longer A-frame, fitted to all Continental vans. WHY do all the UK manufacturers insist on fitting such a stubby little apology for an A-frame, when the longer version adds more to stability than ATS does?

 

The cost of fitting a 'proper' A-frame would be pennies for the extra few inches of steel - yet the UK marques persist in their silly ways.

 

Just like they persisted in fitting the 'L' shaped aluminium exterior jointing trims with the longer side against the wall of the van - leaving the actual joint uncovered - rather than adopting the Continental approach of fitting it so that the shorter side was against the van and the longer side covered the mastic and protected it from weather damage.

 

New construction methods have now made that a non-issue - but it's still symptomatic of the UK industry's defiantly insular (and often incorrect) approach.

 

As for the old 'door on the wrong side' nonsense - we never even thought about it in nearly 20 years of German van ownership.

 

Enjoy your van - I'm certain that you'll 'll be delighted with it.

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  • 1 month later...

And, by the way, the door is on the right side. I have only had 2 vans. A hobby and a Cygnet. It was uk made, but had the door on the offside.

I've never known anything else. Dont confuse me!

Aygo, Sorento, DS3, Kea.  Still love the Hobby brand, but we are currently hobbyless.

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Apart from the usual door on opposite side and electric and has fitting another thing to consider is the German caravan have a lack of fire and smoke regulations on the soft furnishings . I have heard of people having the interiors changed .

 

 

UK built caravans for the UK market need to be compliant to this countries regulations on fire.

 

 

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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Apart from the usual door on opposite side and electric and has fitting another thing to consider is the German caravan have a lack of fire and smoke regulations on the soft furnishings . I have heard of people having the interiors changed .

 

 

UK built caravans for the UK market need to be compliant to this countries regulations on fire.

 

 

Dave

Caravans sold new in the UK, regardless of where made, need to be compliant with UK fire regulations, including soft furnishings - ironically, if it's bought abroad and personally imported it doesn't need to comply - although common sense says even then it must !

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

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As you say Exported soft furnishings only need to be compliant with the countries market they are going to be sold in . Germany has no regulations to meet. Something to check when buying as most will not even consider it as we take it for granted here in this country.

 

IMO there should be a EU standard that all of Europe has to meet .

 

 

Dave

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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So are we to believe that any upholstery made in the world with out certification from Great Big British Standards Institute is lethal?

How come then that the UK certified material hasn't taken the world market by storm? Is it because the world doesn't care about the danger? Is it possible that someone in Germany could have made some material that BSI haven't certified, and that it is just as safe or safer? Is the production of safe foam a UK secret?

Ern

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So are we to believe that any upholstery made in the world with out certification from Great Big British Standards Institute is lethal?

How come then that the UK certified material hasn't taken the world market by storm? Is it because the world doesn't care about the danger? Is it possible that someone in Germany could have made some material that BSI haven't certified, and that it is just as safe or safer? Is the production of safe foam a UK secret?

 

Simple . It costs more to use flame retardant materials and no regulations . This has always been an issue buying a German caravan for the German market for years now and been discussed on forums.

 

 

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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