> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Despite halting economic growth in Germany, attendance at this year’s Carvan Salon in Dusseldorf was up 4% and exhibitors were happy with their sales volume, according to Messe Dusseldorf, organizers of the event.
“We can definitely call this a trend change,” said Klaus Fortsch, president of the German Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (CIVD). Caravan Salon attendees “were prepared to buy and the demand for large luxury and upper middle class RVs with modern designs was high,” he added.
Around 156,000 people attended this year’s Caravan Salon, a nine-day consumer show that ended Sunday (Sept. 8). This year’s attendance was not quite up to the year 2000 attendance level of 160,000, but was above last year’s turnout of around 150,000 people.
Caravan Salon took place at the end of September in 2000 but this was the second consecutive year when it began in late August. This year’s Caravan Salon opened with a trade/media-only day on Aug. 30.
The 2003 version of Caravan Salon will take place from Aug. 29 through Sept. 7, with Aug. 29 being the trade/media-only day.
Next year’s Caravan Salon will slightly overlap TourNatur, a trade/consumer show for hiking enthusiasts, which will take place at the fairgrounds in Dusseldorf Sept. 5-7.
This year’s Caravan Salon drew 498 exhibitors from 20 countries, the same as last year. Of the 498 exhibitors, there were 367 German firms, 43 from Italy, 17 from the Netherlands and 14 from France. In total, 26% of all exhibitors were from outside of Germany.
As is the case in North America, the European RV industry is performing better than other industries. “Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf is one of the few German trade fairs which remained stable on a high level and therefore developed in contrast to the common trend,” said Wilhelm Niedergoker, managing director of Messe Dusseldorf.
According to a survey of Caravan Salon visitors, 24% of the 156,000 people came with the objective of buying an RV and 40% of the attendees left the show either with a sales contract or the intent to buy.
As is usually the case, a few representatives of North American RV manufacturers attended this year’s Caravan Salon to learn new design and engineering ideas from their European counterparts. Because fuel is more expensive and engine horsepower ratings are lower in Europe, North American builders of lighter weight towables believe they have the most to learn from the European manufacturers.