Compact motorhomes are winning new buyers
It is a paradox. As a result of a pandemic over several years, interest in this form of holiday has never been higher than now throughout Europe. At the same time, the pandemic is creating a number of bottlenecks for the production of caravans and mobile homes. The situation is most difficult for the car manufacturers - who experience major challenges on a daily basis in order to get production to run normally. The result is that rolling chassis, vans and boxcars, which are used as a starting point for various motorhome categories, are in short supply. Which also means higher unit prices.
The German brand Bürstner is hardly unknown to Bobil & Caravan magazine's readers. The company was founded as early as 1924 and is today an important part of the large Erwin Hymer Group. Both the caravans and motorhomes are among the most popular brands in Norway and a large dealer network extends throughout the country. The Elegance range represents the tasteful and luxurious alternative for buyers of fully and partially integrated motorhomes, while the van-based Campeo and Eliseo ranges represent the ever-increasing sales of the compact and agile city motorhomes. Now this motorhome category is being followed by another series: Bürstner Lineo.
In contrast to the existing lines, where Bürstner uses Fiat and Citroën as a starting point, the new line is based on the Ford Transit. To begin with, only a floor plan is offered with the C 590 model, which has a length of 5,98 metres. The first deliveries will take place in September. The basic models are equipped with a 2-litre diesel engine with an output of 130 hp. Driver assistance systems such as crosswind stabilization and traction control are standard. The living area follows a traditional layout, and when we open the sliding door on the right side of the car, the kitchen section is the first thing we encounter. A sitting area and a bathroom can be found on the opposite side, and at the very back the transverse double bed. A double floor ensures thermal comfort and frost-proof installations. Further variants are currently not applicable.
The Eliseo series has also gained a brand new member. The model C 644 can offer a completely different layout. This compact city motorhome has a C-shaped seating area in the back of the car. Above this is a fold-down bed for use at night. The seating area can also be converted into two beds. The bathroom and kitchen are located at the front of the car and a special construction makes it possible to also use the dining table outdoors. It is possible to choose between four different ground plans. The length of the C 644 is 6,4 meters and the model is based on the Fiat Ducato panel van. No raised roof version of the C 644 is planned.
A glance at the prices in Germany can leave the impression that there is a significant price markup when importing to Norway. If you look more closely at what is standard equipment on the various models, the picture will change quickly. Details such as awnings, blinds in the driver's cab, and even a staircase to facilitate access to the living area, are optional extras. Models intended for the Scandinavian market are equipped with various packages and equipment upgrades that represent a much more ready-to-use motorhome. The importance of being able to offer motorhomes that can be advertised at euro prices such as NOK 49 and NOK 900 is significantly more important on the continent than it is in Norway. But with the desired equipment in place, the international prices are considerably more like the Norwegian ones.
When we first shift our gaze to Bürstner's activities in Europe, we must also briefly mention the big investment this brand has in the smaller and more compact Camper-Vans. Here, too, the Stellantis group (Citroën, Peugeot, Fiat) is being challenged by Ford as a supplier of vans for conversion into camper vans with various forms of raised roof. Again, the explanation is component shortages, shortages of raw materials and thus reduced delivery capacity from the car factories. This has led Bürstner to consider completely different alternatives – such as the Nissan NV 200 and the Hyundai H1. However, a change to new basic models is demanding. New fixings for furniture, new templates and changed door openings represent both a very time-consuming and expensive process, before a new model can become a reality.
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