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Wellhouse Leisure Announces Updated Powervan Conversion PDF Print E-mail

Wellhouse_Powervan_2010_06Wellhouse Leisure has now updated their Toyota Powervan/Granvia conversion to include some excellent new features and improved storage space.

Click here for photos and more info.

Caravan Club Doubles Wi-Fi Coverage PDF Print E-mail

Caravan Club logoTo respond to members’ increasing requirement for internet access when away from home, The Caravan Club is almost doubling the number of sites offering Wi-Fi coverage, while at the same time upgrading the service at existing ones.


Once the current installation programme is complete, a total of 60 Club sites will be connected, allowing members to check emails, travel and weather forecasts, access local tourist information and find out about events taking place in their holiday region, using their laptops.


To connect to Wi-Fi, members simply purchase a card containing password and full instructions from site reception. The new system will allow cheaper, more flexible access than at present, with the validity of the card extended to six months from the current 72 hours.


“The Club has been working hard on this initiative,” commented Club Head of Sites Marketing, Catherine Ford. “We know that members are big internet users so we are sure they’ll appreciate being able to access their favourite websites, including of course The Caravan Club site, from the comfort of their ‘van or motorhome!”


Full details of the technology roll-out commencing in June, as well as current Wi-Fi availability on site can be found on The Caravan Club website at http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/wifi.


NEC Show a Big Success for Exhibitors PDF Print E-mail

BoatandCaravanShow2010_300Exhibitors at the recent Boat and Caravan Show at the NEC in Birmingham have reported record sales.


Following record sales of £28 million at the October NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show, the Swift Group has announced sales of £22.5 million at last week’s Boat and Caravan Show – bringing their total sales at the two NEC Shows to over £50 million, an increase of over 25 per cent on the previous year.

The February Show saw the company launch their new Sundance and Bessacarr E400 motorhome ranges, and together with the Escape range launched last year, these motorhomes took over 50 per cent of sales confirming the company’s strategy of concentrating new products in the value for money sector of the market.

“The recession and move towards holidays in Britain has provided a major boost to our market. We anticipated this change and have launched new products in both the touring and motorhome markets over the last 12 months. These have clearly provided the right package at the right spec and price level for both people coming into the market for the first time and existing owners who want to buy new but are now operating on a smaller budget,” said Nick Page, Commercial Director of the Swift Group.


Romahome enjoyed similar success as the Isle of Wight manufacturer tripled its sales at the show.

Last year, Romahome sold £500,000, but 2010 saw that rise to close on £1.5 million after orders were placed for 17 new Romahome models instead of the six achieved last year, and Freeborn Motorhomes staff also selling 15 vehicles from the AutoTrail stable of models as well as seven used motorhomes.

“Every Romahome we took to the show was sold off the stand and we took orders for every model in the range, from the diminutive R10 single berth through to our high end four berth R40 coachbuilt,” said Andrew Jones, MD of Romahome’s parent company. “We also had orders for four examples of the new R25 but strong interest in our R20 models in both high and low roof designs showed we were right to keep them in the Romahome mix alongside R25.”

“As well as our own stand, which was incredibly busy, I had sales staff from Freeborn Motorhomes’ site in Godalming manning the AutoTrail stand, where they sold models from the AutoTrail, Elddis, Excel, and Trigano ranges including a £72,000 AutoTrail Chieftain.


From the show's smaller exhibitors, Panel Van converter Wellhouse Leisure were delighted with their first experience of an NEC show. MD David Elliot said that sales had been startling. “Last year we sold 7 vehicles in February, but so far this year we’ve sold 27 in the month to date – if we sell one today (Sunday), we’ll have done one for every day of the month!”.


Bailey Caravans of Bristol also had a good show, reporting that retail sales at the show reached the value of £6.7 million, compared with £4.5 million at the same event last year.

This represents a 48% increase by value and Bailey say its their best ever performance at this exhibition. Marketing Director Simon Howard said, “In the current economic climate this is clearly an outstanding result for Bailey in particular and also the industry in general, and more clear evidence that people are continuing to favour value for money stay at home holidays instead of travelling abroad. ”

Bailey say that this achievement was due to the positive public reaction to the new Bailey Pegasus and Olympus caravan ranges, featuring the ground breaking new Alu-Tech body shell construction system, which accounted for 90% of the total business written. Following the public acceptance of this award winning technology Bailey now plan to roll it across the whole product portfolio within the next twelve months.


World's Fastest Motorhome Breaks Record PDF Print E-mail

The record breaking Goldschmitt Hymer CarA motorhome has been named the fastest in the world after reaching more than 200km/h.

In a record-breaking run, the Hymer Car tuned by Goldschmitt powered by an economical 2.3-litre Multijet engine with innovative gas-diesel drive clearly smashed the standing record of 191km/h.

In a first attempt on an airfield, the record-making vehicle even topped the 200km/h mark - the speed it had to reach to earn the title of the world's fastest motorhome according to the Guinness Book of Records. The measured speed was 207km/h.

It was reached thanks primarily to aerodynamic measures taken (for instance by using under-floor fairings or by flattening the window panes), by slight engine tuning, and mainly due to the additional power generated by adding gas to conventional diesel fuel.

Heinrich Bloemer, the Goldschmitt employee responsible for inventing the revolutionary gas-diesel engine and formerly an active racing driver, took on the challenge of making the 2.3-litre Hymer Car into a sprint champion.

He said: "It would have been far simpler if we had taken the 3-litre version of the Fiat Ducato. But we wanted to show that the Ducato engine of lower cubic capacity has an enormous power reserve and is still very economical, despite the present high output of about 200bhp."

But that's not the end of the story as Hymer and Goldschmitt have obtained approval for a record attempt in the spring on the test track in Papenburg, Northern Germany.

They then want to make it into the Book of Records with a symbolic speed of 230km/h from standstill within exactly 1000 metres.

Why is the bar set at 230 km/h of all speeds? Guinness calls for 200km/h for the title of the fastest motorhome, and then 30km/h is an extra one for every year of the Goldschmitt company.

Adria Matrix 680SP wins Motorhome of the Year PDF Print E-mail

Adria Matrix 680SPTHE Adria Matrix 680SP has been named as overall Motorhome of the Year, as well as Family Motorhome of the Year, by Which Motorcaravan at their 2010 Awards.


The Which Motorcaravan Awards are now in their 5th year, and the annual luncheon was again held at Hambleton Hall, Oakham.


Judging criteria is strict for the ultimate top spot at the Which Motorcaravan Awards, and this year the competition was extremely tight, with any of the final six ‘vans worthy winners of the title.


The Adria Matrix 680SP won this category totally on merit. This ‘van is a great all-rounder, with plenty of space whether your motorhome is for you and your children or grandchildren, or if you just want loads of space, masses of storage and separate bedrooms for you and your travelling companion.


The judges said: "The Adria Matrix 680SP is ideal for the family, with great storage and a bathroom with style and quality, plus a big fridge, and clever bed and seating configuration".



Manufacturers’ Best Selling British Motorhomes - Can you guess what they are? PDF Print E-mail

Some of the major motorhome manufacturers in the UK were asked “What are your best selling models from the range you produce?”

Their answers were sometimes quite surprising although some were fairly obvious.   If you were asked would you have guessed which vans would feature?

Check out the list below and see if you would have been correct:


Best Seller - Van Twin
Adria’s concept of converting the long-wheelbase high-top Fiat Ducato van, and squeezing a semi permanent bed that’s nearly 6ft 5in long, and that hinges away to free up valuable living space was apparently a stroke of genius, as the Van Twin accounted for over a third of Adria’s sales of one of the UK’s most popular imported models in the year in which sales figures were analysed.


Best Seller - Starburst
The Starburst’s owes its success as much to its attention to detail as it does to its popular layout, which provides full length  seats/beds complemented by an end washroom in a compact 6.37metre-long body shell. Sales of the Starburst were over 15% of Autocruises’s total sales, however Autocruise is now part of the Swift Group which, if taken in to account  would change the results (see the results below for the Swift Group)


Best Seller - Symbol
Auto-Sleeper states that the Symbol was its biggest seller ‘by a country mile’. The biggest improvement the new model had over its predecessor was the greatly increased  interior space, however the better drive of the Peugeot Boxer base vehicle influenced the sales as well.


Best Seller - Celex
The Celex is made in both long and short-wheelbase models and demonstrates all that Bilbo does best.  Individual conversions of the ever popular Volkswagen’s Transporter.


Best Seller - Argos A747-2/A748-2
There are two variants made by Burstner of their best selling tag axle model.  The 747/2 has a double diner, whereas the 748/2 has an L-shaped settee in the lounge.  The Argos model range was actually launched in February 2007, although the first deliveries did not go out till June of that year; however sales hit a record figure of close to 150 by the end of the season.


Best Seller - Carioca 656
This popular model accounted for almost a third of Ci’s sales in the year the survey was carried out.  Hire fleets liked the model too as its multi-berthed layout, competitive price and its ability to stand up to the rigours of multiple users made it ideal for them.


Best Seller - Autoquest 115
The Explorer Group, who manufactures this popular model, says that the Elddis Autoquest 140 was actually their best selling motorhome for the year but the Compass Avantgarde 115, which is actually the same motorhome but with different badge and different and upholstery and which is also made by Explorer Group, accounted for 16% of their sales in the year of the survey.


Best Seller - Van 522
Based on Ford’s long standing Transit, the Van 522 has a spacious enough living space to have a permanent transverse rear double bed over a large garage type storage area.


Best Seller - Van TI 550
The Van TI 550 also has a fixed transverse bed to the rear over a garage type storage area.  It also has a unique double-door arrangement for the washroom and a colour scheme that makes it stand out from the crowd.


Best Seller - Outlook
At less than 5metres long the Outlook is very compact, and, like most Romahomes, the Outlook is a go-anywhere motorhome which has time and time again proved to be a practical camper as well as being up to the more mundane tasks such as supermarket parking. A total of 80 were purchased during the season of the survey.


Best Seller - Bolero 680 FB
The Bolero 680 FB has a class leading design, a well planned layout and excellent price for the specification. One fifth of all Swift Group models sold in the survey year was a Bolero 680 FB, however the Swift Sundance 630L and Ace Milano were not far behind.


Best Seller - Tribute 650
Packing a 150 litre freezer into the Tribute 650 van conversion is only one of the reasons suggested for the success of the Tribute 650. It reported sales of around 200 vehicles during the survey year.  One of the other good reasons for its excellent sales figures was its starting price of just under £30,000


How many did you guess correctly?



All New Swift Sundance and Bessacarr E400 PDF Print E-mail

2010 Swift SundanceWith the Escape range firmly established as the new entry point to the Swift Group Coachbuilt motorhome range, the new Swift Sundance and Bessacarr E400 ranges have been moved up market with a sleek new exterior and interior design and an upgraded specification.


These two ranges have dominated this sector of the market for some time. They now have the visual appeal of more expensive motorhomes and a more luxurious interior specification with only a small increase in price.


The new ranges are designed to meet the expectations of the many existing owners who are ready to change and offer the complete package. Retail prices only increase by about £1000 depending on the model, so the new on the road price range will be £35K-£44K.


The new ranges will be launched at the NEC National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show 23-28 February 2010.


Nick Page, Commercial Director for Swift Group commented "These new models take the Sundance and E400 ranges to a new level of style and specification. To help people who want to renew their motorhome in the current economic climate, they provide outstanding value and comfort for a very affordable price in a sector of the market that will grow in a recession."

France Passion and Espana Discovery PDF Print E-mail


francepassionFrance Passion is one of those schemes that really let motorhomers get into the culture of France and its people. With France Passion motorhome owners get the privilege of mixing with French locals and can sample local delicacies. The best part is that registration is free, however membership is limited.

The principle of France Passion is fairly simple.  Motorhome owners who display the France Passion sticker are able to stay overnight, or for 24 hours, at properties listed by France Passion free of charge. Prior booking is not required, however parking is on a ‘first come first served basis’. All that the motorhome owner needs to do to enjoy this excellent stopover network is to remember to say "Bonjour” and "Au revoir” Its not a problem either if you can’t speak much French, as over 450 of the listed sites claim to speak enough English to communicate well. Another plus is that most of the registered sites say that they can take motorhomes over 3.5 tons.

The France Passion scheme is only available to self sufficient motorhome and Campervan owners so you will probably need to use the pretty good French comprehensive ‘Aires de Service’ network to dispose of your waste and to refill your fresh water tanks.






EspanaInspired by the same concept of that of France Passion, ESPAÑA DISCOVERY was set up to unite Spanish wine growers and  farmers with motorhome owners, for the mutual interests of both, sharing  a friendly, safe and trusting environment.

ESPAÑA DISCOVERY is an organisation for motorhome owners who are lovers of the natural world, simple pleasures , life in the open air and plenty of travel, but treating the environment they are enjoying with respect.

Motorhome users from all over Europe, including Spain itself, can park overnight, or for 24 hours maximum, in areas designated by the property owner, absolutely free.  This allows the vineyard  owners and farmers to promote their produce to a wider cross section of potential buyers, who can appreciate the local quality and taste.

Membership of ESPAÑA DISCOVERY provides motorhome users with details of participating sites, mainly vineyards (bodegas) and some farms.. On the selected sites motorhome owners are allowed to park in a safe and welcoming environment for up to 24 hours.  Between ESPAÑA DISCOVERY members and participating sites there is no financial or commercial obligation, however the motorhome user must stick to some simple rules, consisting of a combination of common courtesy and respect for others.  ESPAÑA DISCOVERY has a Code of Conduct that covers these rules, which members have to accept to join.

To give potential members an idea of what these rules consist of, below is an extract of ESPAÑA DISCOVERY’s membership Code of Conduct.



Motorhome users, members of ESPAÑA DISCOVERY, must accept and comply with the following code of conduct:

(1). On arrival at the chosen site show the ESPAÑA DISCOVERY membership card and guide for the current year to the host. Hosts, for reasons of security, will only let identified members of ESPAÑA DISCOVERY park overnight on their property.

(2). Arrive at the chosen site at a reasonable hour. Visitors will not be welcome in the middle of the night. Some sites have gates that will be closed at night.

(3). Each motorhome user is not a paying client but a welcome guest. Be friendly and thank your host on leaving.

(4). To avoid inconveniencing the work of your host please park only in the areas indicated by them.

(5). Before starting your journey ensure your clean water tanks are full and all waste tanks are empty and functioning correctly. ESPAÑA DISCOVERY hosts do not provide facilities for servicing motorhomes.

(6). Never light fires or barbeques.

(7). Do not use toilets, water taps or drains without the host’s permission.

(8). If you have small children remember the sites are working vineyards or farms, not children’s playgrounds. Please take care.

(9). If you have a dog please ask the host’s permission before letting it off the leash.

(10). ESPAÑA DISCOVERY hosts do not charge for staying overnight – do not expect facilities as provided by a campsite.

(11). Sometimes due to personal circumstances a host will be unable to welcome visitors. It is always possible to find an alternative farm or vineyard not far away.

(12). Common sense and courtesy are important. Please accept any restrictions imposed. ESPAÑA DISCOVERY hosts are not providing the service of a campsite.




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