Editor’s note: This is the final dispatch for RVBUSINESS.com by Bob Zagami, executive director of the New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA), from his time at the Caravan Salon RV Show in Düsseldorf, Germany.
I spent five days at Caravan Salon and walked 28 miles covering the 13 buildings filled with innovative products and new technologies that are built into the European caravans and motorhomes. This article showcases products that are not available for sale in the U.S. and may never be available here. The intent of the article is to simply show some of the products that received a lot of attention from the trade press and consumers during this annual RV and camping extravaganza. Many of these products were part of the discussion during NERVDA’s weekly online talk show, which can be viewed at this link.
• Knaus Tabbert, Cellini – First showing of this upper-class caravan with an automotive look and futuristic exterior design. If it was for sale in the US you could take the top-of-the-line model home for about $80,000 (all prices are in U.S. dollars).
• Variomobil Fahrzeugbau GmBH, Vario Perfect IV – A luxurious motorhome built on the Mercedes Actros chassis with a slideout and a car garage. About $612,000.
• Hobby Wohnwagenwerk Ing., Hobby de Luxe 545 KMF – The perfect companion for families. Six of the 18 floorplans come with a children’s compartment – some with bunk beds. Only $24,000 if it was sold over here.
• Dethleffs, Globevan e.Hybrid – The first motorhome with a plug-in hybrid and built on the Ford Transit Custom chassis. The Globevan is fit for everyday use and can be driven all electrically, however, when combined with the combustion engine the motorhome will have a range of 310 miles.
• Possl Freizeitmobile, Vanster – Vans and van campers are becoming very popular in Europe. With its handy storage systems, variable interior and lifting sleeping roof, it is a true multifunctional vehicle for everyday and leisure use. This unit would sell for about $31,000 in the U.S.
• Carthago Reisemobilbau, Chick e-line/s-plus – Previously offered on the Fiat Ducato and Iveco Daily chassis, this motorhome is now available on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as a single or twin-axle vehicle and an AL-KO special low frame chassis. The unit features an attractive exterior appearance, superstructure and luxurious interior.
• WOF GmBH, Iridium – This is a second generation of 100% electric motorhomes. Engineers succeeded in increasing the range to 250 miles. The backbone of the new Iridium e-mobiles is a highly efficient synchronous motor with a power of 150 kW and a torque of 730 Nm. Estimated pricing, if sold in the U.S., would be between $170,000 and $200,000.
• Erwin Hymer Group, Eriba Nova – The Eriba caravan has been re-launched as a premium series travel trailer. A standard feature is the Eriba App allows owners to check the gauges of battery, fresh water and room temperature or control such key functions as lighting, heating, hot water and air-conditioning.
• Knaus Tabbert, Knaus Sport&Fun – The Sport&Fun offers sufficient space to accommodate sports gear or bicycles. The new lightweight construction chassis fuses bionic weight-saving measures with high load-bearing capacity and stability. It would sell for about $24,000.
• Adria Mobil, Adria Astella – This can best be described as a luxury holiday home on wheels, that could be confused as mobile home (park model). The major assets are high-quality and comfortable interior furnishings and special light effects and design features. A cool $55,000 if you could buy it here.
• Eura Mobil, Activa One – A light and cheery motorhome with a beach-house feel. Four out of the five models target couples and families. It sports a large bathroom and exterior rear storage. About $60,000 if sold in the States.
• Opus, Opus – This folding camper by British manufacturer, Opus, is the absolute top product in this market segment, both in price and furnishings. Opus is a stylish and innovative folding camper and is as rugged as it is versatile. The Air Opus uses air pole technology to inflate the camper at the press of a button, reducing set-up time to just a few minutes. About $24,000 here in the U.S.
• Sportcaravan, Transport Caravan – The Transport Caravan is for cycling enthusiasts and active amateur sportspeople. In the evening four beds can be set-up quickly. A larger model even features a WC shower. Their Cube 5 model would retail at $30,000 in the States. • LaMancelle, Liberty 440 PC – French manufacturer La Mancelle introduced a caravan with rounded streamlined tailgate, optimized aerodynamics and some nice interior design extras. About $30,000.
• Beauer, Beauer 3X – A stylish mini caravan that turns into a compact caravan within 60 seconds with new slideout technology. The Beauer 3X consists of polyester and aluminum and contains no wooden furnishings. Base product would sell for $33,000 and the 3Xplus would be at $66,000.
• Westfalia, James Cook Sprinter Camper Van – The James Cook van is built on the Sprinter chassis and equipped with a standard rear slide-out. The basic version sleeps two and has seating for four. The optional lifting roof creates two additional sleeping berths. The van incorporates the Mercedes-Benz MBAC panel or can control systems from smartphones and/or tablets. The van would sell for $83,000 in the States.
• Lume Traveler, LT540 – The Lume Traveler LT540 is a robust and durable caravan, its timeless design is 100% Dutch. The aluminum sandwich construction and the moldings specifically designed for this caravan not only ensure excellent insulation with a special look and feel. A bit pricey at $72,000.
• Volkner Mobil GmBH, Performance S – Pure unadulterated luxury best describes the Performance S customized motorhome. The Performance S is usually the highest priced motorhome at Caravan Salon, and it retained that honor this year, coming in at just under $1.7 million U.S. dollars. It provides a middle garage for your luxury automobile. The motorhome comes with a 500 hp engine, three air conditioners and five heating systems.