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Text: Sven Furuly, Photo: Amp.net
Caravan and Caravan magazine, No. 1 February 2022

The pandemic causes: Sharp price increases for camping vehicles

Last year's explosive price increases for motorhomes are expected to continue into 2022, and buyers must expect both continued price growth and long delivery times. At the same time, the demand for used motorhomes is greater than ever.

For many, the dream of this flexible form of holiday has been put on hold. This is due to both a sharp rise in prices from the many international manufacturers and strongly increasing delivery times as a result of parts shortages in a number of areas. All of this is due to conditions that we can link to the ongoing corona pandemic, and no immediate solutions seem to be in sight.

Raw material scarcity

The scarcity of raw materials and parts in a number of areas has led to several turns in the price spiral. For the car manufacturers, it is primarily a question of scarce supplies of semiconductors and data chips that are used for everything from engine management and control of exhaust emissions, to dosing of braking power and stabilization of the car in a critical situation. Without these components, production stops. An example of this is the Fiat factory in Val de Sangro in Italy. They had to close for several weeks, and thus the Ducato, which is the most used brand both as a semi-manufactured chassis for superstructures and as a van for completion as city campers, became a valuable scarce commodity.

Increased costs

It is also part of history that a large number of components used in the production of motorhomes (and caravans) are produced in Asia. Increased prices for raw materials such as plastic granules, combined with freight rates that have skyrocketed over the past two years, also contribute to the strong price increase. A refrigerator for installation in a motorhome (or caravan) has increased by over NOK 1000 in purchase price, and now costs around NOK 4500 for the motorhome manufacturer. Windows have received a price increase of almost twenty percent and the price of tires and light alloy rims has increased by fifteen percent. Manufacturers who source components from overseas suppliers have had their shipping costs doubled, and even within Europe, increased shipping costs create a need for higher retail prices. 

Long delivery times

Unfortunately, it is not only about an unwanted price increase, but also long delivery times. If you order a new motorhome today, in many cases it will now be a matter of delivery dates as far forward as the end of 2022 at the earliest. This makes both pricing and calculation of equipment packages difficult. For contracts with a fixed price agreement – ​​or with a framework that allows a smaller price mark-up – entered into in 2021, both retailers and manufacturers are now at risk of incurring large losses.

Release from contracts

In Germany, there are examples of motorhome manufacturers now asking their dealers to try to buy themselves out of concluded sales contracts in order to limit losses. The situation is anything but rosy, and stands in stark contrast to the large turnover growth for the industry in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the corona pandemic's travel restrictions, when camping life and car holidays really experienced a renaissance.

Increasing used prices

Rising prices for factory new motorhomes lead to good times for owners of newer used motorhomes. Seen in light of the corona pandemic, interest in motorhome holidays is still growing. Distance and safety are important arguments - where crowded airports and cramped airplanes or train compartments are poor options for those seeking safety. Inflation growth of over five per cent in Norway in 2021 naturally affects Norwegian households in a negative direction, but there is little doubt that the motorhome and caravan industry will continue to be met with great interest from the public. The challenge will be to get enough products to meet demand.

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