It seems that there is no upper limit. Those who visit the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf these days can see the spherical mini-trailers or campervans, which are considered particularly trendy and practical. Of course, you can also shake your head at twelve-meter-long “motorhomes” that appear on the chassis of a truck with a self-proclaimed “yacht design” inside.
What is certain is that the campsite is gradually emancipating itself from the narrow-minded image that a television series once targeted. “Interest in our form of vacation is greater than ever,” says Hermann Pfaff, President of the Caravaning Industry Association (CIVD). From January to July 2021, nearly 75,000 recreational vehicles were newly registered in Germany. This was 6% more than at the same time last year, when many people started to rethink the way they travel due to the crisis. “There are also more than in the whole of 2018,” says Pfaff, who works full-time for market leader Hymer.
The industry hopes to sell a total of 120,000 cabins on wheels this year, which would be a record. But caravanning is also feeling the general problems of the automotive industry: semiconductors are scarce and expensive around the world, and motorhome manufacturers sometimes expect frames or windows. The branch could “in part not meet the still very high demand”, admits the director general of the CIVD, Daniel Onggowinarso.
Higher prices, longer delivery times
The causes are diverse: many industries have recovered from the Corona crisis faster than experts expected. There are even fewer moving planes in global logistics and ports have had to close at times. And the storms have slowed down export-oriented industries, for example in the United States.
For those interested in motorhomes, that means: “Prices are going up,” says Onggowinarso, “because supply chains are charging us higher prices.” Wait times have also become longer. In addition, the number of campsites has increased in recent years. The capacities “cannot keep up with the growth of the vehicle fleet,” laments Pfaff.
In the meantime, it is accumulating in the order books of manufacturers. For example, Knaus Tabbert recently reported an order book of 36,000 vehicles, almost twice as many as at the start of the year. By its own admission, the Lower Bavarian company could have earned even more without the restrictions along the supply chain. That is why Knaus Tabbert wants to expand production capacities.