The Spring Caravan and Camping Show at the Birmingham NEC last month seemed to come and go incredibly quickly, and part of the reason why might have been the great success of the show. Over 80,000 visitors descended on the midlands during the six day event to cast their eyes on the next season’s motorhomes, tents and campervans.
Part of the appeal of such an event is that all of the new stock for 2013 was available in one place at the same time. Customers don’t always find it easy to compare motorhomes in two different locations a few days after the each other. Especially when you’re trying to gauge how big a particular cabin feels or whether there’s adequate light available, it’s hard to know where you stand with two separate comparisons. At the show customers are free to walk between different stalls and really get a feel for the products they are interested in.
Alongside the motorhomes themselves there were all kinds of specialist accessory retailers, motorhome insurance providers, repairs and services, and a whole host of hands-on activities. Numerous workshops were running throughout the weekend which plenty of motorhome owners looking to brush up their parking skills were happy to get stuck in with.
Trade-shows like this are also a brilliant opportunity to get a feel for what’s up-and-coming in the motorhome world at the moment. Innovative technologies really stand out and all the manufacturers are happy to show off their latest developments in different ways.
If you didn’t manage to make it to the show you’ll be pleased to know it’s going to be repeated on the same weekend – the 18th to the 24th of February – next year. You’ll also get a chance to indulge at the National Motorhome Show coming up in April to be hosted in Peterborough.
Though the internet seems to be taking over many of the aspects of retail, for the motorhome and caravan sales it’s far from there yet. In fact, we’re seeing more and more that motorhome buyers are sticking to local dealers where they’re guaranteed not only a good bargain, but good service too.
A good part of the value of going to a dealer is the after-sales care. Even with a good motorhome insurance policy in hand, there are savings to be made from forming a relationship with a particular retailer. Often dealers are happy to offer considerable savings on aftercare packages, and this is also a common part of the bargaining process when buying a motorhome.
Equally, dealers are experts on the sort of motorhomes they offer and although there is always a distinct sales aspect to any motorhome sold, they really do know what they’re talking about. For motorhome buyers, advice on making the right choice is essential and whether that’s differentiating between two different brands, or even just two different sizes of motorhome, any advice is usually gladly taken.
The advantage of being able to see a motorhome in the flesh is also immensely appealing to motorhome buyers who may otherwise start thinking about ordering or buying online. Dealers are able to offer a comprehensive tour of the features of motorhome and, usually, know them quite literally inside out. The pros and cons of any particular model are easy to draw out if you have someone who really knows what they’re talking about.
It’s this kind of service that really appeals to motorhome buyers and, unlike many of the consumer goods on the market at the moment, motorhomes are incredibly personal. It’s a lot of money to spend on something you don’t really get along with and the value of a good aftercare, sales and advice service are really a force to be reckoned with.
hen buying a motorhome, few people really have the funds to buy outright and for most the reality involves trying to find some kind of finance deal. However, with the economic situation as it is, finding a good finance deal is not proving too much of a problem for customers with good credit ratings, and there’s no doubt that low interest rates are helping to bolster sales of motorhomes.
Banks are currently offering some reasonable deals on small value loans and the low base rate is helping to keep headline rates down. This is great news for customers who are looking to finance a motorhome purchase privately, but it’s not the only option. Many motorhome dealers and manufacturers are offering great deals to entice new buyers. Often the terms of these loans are preferable to those offered by banks and are specifically tailored for motorhome ownership.
Normally the process of finding finance, along with things like motorhome insurance and tax come as afterthoughts when searching for a motorhome, but it’s becoming more clear to potential buyers that finance affects the real price of a motorhome. As incomes get squeezed, what is affordable becomes less and less, and for many motorhome owners the interest rate on a finance deal is the ultimate determining factor.
All of this looks even more appealing given the pitiful savings rates available at the moment. Motorhome lovers with a few quid in the bank aren’t being rewarded for sitting on that cash, and for many the rewards of a shiny new motorhome are much greater than two or three per cent on a lump sum. Those who had been saving for a rainy day might have just found it arrive.
There are a plethora of finance deals available out there for motorhome buyers at the moment, but borrowing money does always cost. Any motorhome finance deal should always be well considered and anyone taking out finance should have a good plan in place to be able to make repayments.
Unfortunately, we live in an age where it’s particularly easy to get away with theft, and it’s even easier to sell on goods very quickly. A story just a few weeks ago discussed how an employee of a UK based caravan and campervan dealer was caught selling parts from his firm on eBay. The employee managed to make over £10,000 from parts alone, and it highlights the danger to motorhome customers about buying stolen parts or entire stolen vehicles.
A customer who purchases a stolen vehicle is very unlikely to be able to get motorhome insurance or, of course, be able to tax the vehicle. It’s quite probable too that they will be unable to get a refund for their purchase. Auction sites are now much better than they have been in the past at securing refunds for their customers but the process can still be very difficult. Stolen motorhome salesmen do make themselves particularly tough to trace, and it’s often simply impossible to match a name to a sale.
Motorhome buyers are able to check the history of a particular motorhome. The DVLA offers history checking services including MOTs and ownership tests. If any of these are failed customers should not consider buying the motorhome and should look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to trace stolen parts and motorhomes can easily be fitted illegally with inauthentic parts. However, a mechanic should be able to trace the parts and will be able to see any mismatches within the service history. Though this is not proof of a stolen part, it is evidence that the motorhome has not been fitted as well as it should have been and could be an indication of further problems.
Buying second hand is really the only way in to the motorhome market for a lot of customers, and it’s important to make sure the way in is the right way: buying a stolen motorhome could cause all sorts of difficulties and, most probably, will result in a big loss on the part of the buyer.