Figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC) show the volume of motorcaravans registered between January and June 2018 were up 4.2% compared to last year, at 8,552 units. The June moving annual total (M-A-T) showed a 9.5% increase, with 14,409 units registered. The market has grown, with the statistics suggesting a comfortable year, however many dealers might argue differently.
New market activity
“Tricky”, is how many involved in the new motorcaravan market describe the past year. The statistics provided by the NCC do not reflect a selling season requiring tenacity to produce positive results. The winter and spring period did not provide the sales dealers predicted. Most dealers contacted by Glass’s confirmed that even over the summer months the market remained inconsistent.
A significant upturn in sales activity did not arrive to clear unsold stock on forecourts even with widespread distress selling with significant discounts offered to customers. Many dealers still attribute the slow start to the season to manufacturer price increases. However, economic uncertainty appears to be the main culprit affecting the second half of the year. Since the 12-month countdown to Brexit, extensive media coverage of the slow-moving negotiations has affected consumer spending.
Brexit did not appear to hamper consumer spending immediately after the referendum result. However, with the value of sterling dropping and remaining low, prices for European manufactured units continue to increase. As the clock ticks down, the consensus appears to be that consumers are waiting for the outcome before committing to significant purchases.
Outlook: 2019 selling season
The majority of dealers contacted by Glass’s, report they have placed far fewer manufacturer orders for 2019 stock. Some even suggest their order is half that of 2018 levels. The reduction in dealer orders will significantly reduce manufacturer production and to counter this some manufacturers are offering dealers volume incentives to place stock orders. However, with so much 2018 stock still available at discounted prices, price-conscious consumers are more likely to opt for brand new 2018 models as opposed to a higher priced 2019 alternatives.
The Caravan and Motorcaravan show commences at Birmingham’s NEC on 16th October. The show is traditionally used to display brand new models for the public to order. However, it is likely dealers will present some clearance 2018 stock.
Demand has not lessened for van conversion models. Traditionally, sales are stronger on used units due to the high prices of new models. Nevertheless, dealers report confident orders on new units this year, with some ordering more van conversions than traditional Coachbuilt models.
Demand from customers for good quality used units outstrips supply. Dealers work with what is available within the market buying with larger margins in mind as opposed to hitting sales volume targets. Satisfyingly, the used market has seen a real surge in demand. A result in part to increasing numbers of younger families entering the market seeking less expensive alternatives to new market prices. Of course, further demand in a market with a limited pool of available stock makes sourcing stock even trickier for dealers. By far the most popular model types are 4-6 berth, carrying the same number of seatbelts and priced around the £30,000 bracket.
Some dealers forecast more used stock entering the market, as they believe it will be a high changeover year. In general, Motorcaravan owners look to change their vehicles on average every six years. Following an influx of sales in 2012, this will be welcome news as part-exchange deals continue to reduce due to rising numbers of consumer cash only deals.
The popularity of the used market will continue in the same vein, especially if the new market has another tough year. With heavily discounted 2018 stock still available, it will give used stock some competition.
The values for the October edition have decreased by 2%. For subscribers of the Glass’s caravan app, please ensure that you regularly update the current editions to receive the latest datasets. Since the July 2017 edition, we have added over 800 previously unvalued models to our database to help you value the vehicles around you.