Categories: News

Van life: a passing fad?

Taken by storm after the Covid, vans and motorhomes are showing sales at half mast. Sign of a disinterest of the French? Not really…

Have recreational vehicles eaten their white bread? To see the balance sheet for the first seven months of the year provided to us by AAA Data, it seems, indeed, that something has seized up in the kingdom of motorhomes and camper vans. After an already gloomy 2022, sales are once again down (-6%). Overall, over two years, the plunge stands at -28%. It is also mainly motorhomes that toast, with – 40% since 2021! However, according to Pierre Rousseau, president of the UNI VDL Recreational Vehicles Union: “There is nothing to be alarmed about, as attendance at dealerships remains at a good level, as does the number of orders recorded.” It is true that, if we go back a little further in time, we see that the number of registrations is similar to what it was in 2019.

Semiconductor crisis, shortage of raw materials…

As Pierre Rousseau points out: “Manufacturers of motorhome cells or van fittings are closely dependent on the deliveries, by the manufacturers, of the models – carriers – which serve as the basis for leisure vehicles.” The semiconductor crisis and the lack of raw materials are therefore not unrelated to the drop in registrations : “Even if the situation is improving, the profession is still behind in deliveries. For some vehicles, it takes nine months before receiving the keys.” In order to reduce these delays, the Trigano, Rapido, Pilote… are working hard. Another explanation for the market slowdown: the French are already very well equipped. With a fleet of approximately 600,000 leisure vehicles in circulation! However, the structure of the French market has changed quite profoundly over the years.

Camper vans are on the rise

While he reigned unchallenged for a long time, the motorhome now flows less well than the converted van. A phenomenon that is explained by the (slightly) lower prices, both new and second-hand, by a size that is easier to understand and by an image of an adventurer that seems to correspond more to the desires of a segment of customers who are more “father” of the family than “grandfather”. We can also imagine that the brand of builders reassures some neo-adventurers. We find, in fact, “ready-to-use” models in the catalogues. Ford (Transit Custom Nugget), Mercedes (Marco Polo), Renault (Trafic SpaceNomad) or even Volkswagen (California and Grand California). If the automotive industry is undergoing its energy transformation at a forced march, it is more cushy on the leisure vehicle side. While Volkswagen will unveil a plug-in hybrid concept car at the Düsseldorf Caravan Show, at the end of August – a first, which announces the California T7 – almost all VDLs still run on diesel…

Read also :

Motorhomes and converted vans: why are they so popular?

Our advice for a successful purchase of a second-hand motorhome

Motorhome: the 5 essential accessories

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