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Text and photo: Willem Laros
Caravan and Caravan magazine, No. 1 February 2021

New camping vehicle 2021: Strong increase in demand can lead to waiting time

The Corona pandemic is annoying to all tourism, but above all it is simply a disaster for many people and of course for many companies. An exception is the manufacturers of caravans and motorhomes, who now warn of waiting times for new deliveries. BoCM has taken a closer look at the market situation for camping vehicles in general in Europe.

In some European countries, such as the Netherlands, sales of new camping vehicles have fallen by an average of 7%. In Slovenia, the fall is -17%, Spain -10%, and the UK -24%. This is more than offset by an increase in sales in large markets such as Germany by + 24%, Austria by + 30% (!) Denmark by + 20% and Finland by + 16%. The figures are for the first three quarters of 2020, and show an incredible growth rate, which, together with infection challenges, is now causing significant production problems for factories.

Safe travel

The far from pleasant cause of all this is, as I said, the corona crisis. As many people have discovered, the motorhome or caravan is a safe and very pleasant way to travel anyway. After all, within the walls of the motorhome you have everything: Sanitary facilities, kitchen, sitting area, bed. From the point of view of corona safety, there can hardly be a safer way to travel. In addition, it is currently not possible to fly to many destinations. So therefore we are happy to go to the showroom of the dealers of camping vehicles, where we can admire the different models at a suitable distance from other interested parties and the sellers. At least...

Production capacity

The European production facilities for camping vehicles are of course based on normally expected sales figures. But last year's corona boom, which came after March 2020, was not one of those one normally expects. On top of that, a number of factories had to close for several weeks due to the same virus. And when production resumed, there were some delays, because Fiat failed to deliver a sufficient number of chassis for motorhomes. The factory had been closed down, even a little longer than most motorhome manufacturers.

The old "normal"

Unless there are special circumstances, the annual cycle for new motorhomes is roughly as follows. Manufacturers invite all their dealers in Europe in May and June to come and see the models for the following year. Then place orders relatively quickly, because the factory can not deliver everything at once. In March and April of the new year, everything ordered will be in place in the showrooms. Of course, some units can be ordered later, sometimes some can be relocated from other retailers. But the retailer, which in November thinks it can order as many as ten extra units, can quickly be disappointed. At least for that year.

New situation

In the corona year, we had to master a whole new situation. In March, the market collapsed, campsites and campsites had to close in different countries. At the time, dealers were asking manufacturers if they could take a little less than the number ordered, afraid they would be stuck with unsold, overhead camping vehicles. Other entrepreneurs, who were more forward-thinking, ordered more or took over units from colleagues. And thus, as a buyer, you still have the opportunity to acquire a new motorhome or caravan - provided that you are prepared to take the vehicle as it is in the showroom. A motorhome with different factory options for special adaptation and equipment can of course be ordered now, but delivery will most likely not take place before 2022.

Waiting times

This explains why the waiting time for delivery of new motorhomes has increased. Up to sometimes more than a year! - "Yes, it's a long time" -, says one of Adria's spokespersons, - "but we can see that people understand this" -. At the Slovenian manufacturer, the production facility was fully booked by November 2020 and until October 2021. Mainly for the construction of motorhomes that have already been ordered by the end consumer, or are intended for rental. Adria says: - «Here and there some units can be moved. Some resellers also handle their own devices in a different way. They are the ones who sell everything that is in the showroom, and they are the ones who wait with it to be able to show something to new interested parties »-.

More parallel imports?

Many German dealers have more camping vehicles in stock: - «There are dealers in other countries who therefore buy new models directly from Germany. Adria's plan was to build more than 16 units (caravans and motorhomes) by 000. By increasing our efforts, we have now produced 2020 units, that is all we can do. Expansion of production capacity is not relevant. We can not assume that demand will remain so high in the coming years "-, says Adria. Hymer:

Extreme situation

A spokesman for Hymer - with brands such as Bürstner, Carado, Dethleffs, Hymer, Laika, LMC and Sunlight - says when asked that the situation is 'extreme'. - «We have also fully utilized production capacity for 2021: we could perhaps have sold 20% more. What is on sale now is at the dealers. The retailers with stock still have everything, but new orders will be placed in 2022 »-, the spokesman states.


Apart from the production capacity of the various manufacturers, the availability of Fiat chassis for motorhomes also plays a limiting role. Under normal circumstances, it is possible to order a different color for example at the cottage, but now it is no longer possible. Fiat wants to produce as much as possible of equal standard production in order to increase production speed. At Mercedes the situation is less stressful, at Citroën there are no production problems.

Expect delivery times

From the KausTabbert group - Knaus, Weinsberg, Morelo - we hear similar sounds. - «Customers must get used to the fact that delivery times can no longer be guaranteed. If a supplier is unable to deliver, or a department is affected by corona, part of the production can quickly stand still. When you order a 2022 model, many things are of course still unknown, such as possible changes in existing models and even the price »- are comments to BoCM. Used? How about buying a used camping vehicle? That's another thing to look for. Normally, many people go to Germany, for example, to pick up camping vehicles for resale. But now it can be far more difficult, because new customers in Germany mean that retailers need them themselves to meet the increased demand.

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