Watched the screening about the Swift Eccles Sport 524 January 2015 .Presenter said It was Swifts idea of an entry level caravan.£18000 entry level! Times have changed a lot in my day. Must be some wealthy new caravaner's starting to give caravaning a try or maybe I'm poor and jealous,yeah ! that's it.
The trouble is presenters assume all new Caravanners automatically buy new. Perhaps if they where back to the real world they would realise that most newcomers by second hand even if it is just to see if they like it. It would be a very expensive mistake if they bought new and didn't like it.
Presumably by "entry level" the presenters mean "basic equipment" caravans where the manufacturers have realised that they are not selling as many caravans as they used to because the prices are too high. Cutting down on the level of equipment such as omitting the microwave cooker, only having three gas rings instead of four and cutting down on the standard of finish and soft furnishings reduces the overall price. By the way, on the subject of very heavy microwave cookers, if, as we are entreated, we should load heavy gear low down over the wheels, why do the caravan manufacturers put the microwave at roof locker level?
The fair Gillian and yours truly are officials for British Eventing so we use the caravan as accommodation at Horse trials. It is not unusual to be parked up in the middle of a 100 acre field with no EHU and, if we are lucky, a water tap on a horse trough. Emptying the loo is a case of getting to the portaloos at the end of the last day of the Trial before the honeypot wagon disappears off with the loos on a trailer. Our current caravan has all the bells, lights and whistles but we used to cope with our other caravans and only changed it last April because the old one was getting very tired. It is an attitude of mind. To be fair, we are not in the "our caravan has more gear than yours" brigade. We use the caravan as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. We cannot understand why some caravanners park up on site then sit around on the pitch for the weekend. One can do that at home. We use the caravan as a means to explore new areas.
There is also the fact that one never hears a presenter saying things like "This is an expensive caravan" or "This caravan is not very well equipped for the price". Let's face it, the layout of a caravan, whatever make, is limited by the size of the box when comparing, say, two berth caravans. Most modern caravans have the same equipment on a like for like basis. The only difference that justifies the difference in price is the quality of the furnishings, the standard of finish and the equipment. Modern 3-way fridges, for instance are electronically controlled and, from experience, not very reliable. The electronic type are more expensive than the old fashioned, but infinitely more reliable, common or garden manual switch controlled fridges. Microwave cookers are very useful but do we really need them? If, as stated earlier, one does not have access to an EHU, items of this nature are otiose and mere dead weight. The cooker has 3 gas rings and an electric hob so the same argument applies if we have not got an EHU. The shower in my Sterling Eccles Diamond 2 berth is enormous (almost full size domestic) and uses a lot of space which could be put to better use. Do I really need an onboard 40 litre fresh water tank which has to be emptied each time we move sites? There is also the point that the weight of the caravan goes up necessitating a bigger car to tow it and all the extra costs that entails. Our current caravan weighs the same empty as the previous one did full. The only basic difference is the inclusion of a microwave cooker. Fortunately our car can cope with the extra weight.
It is my considered opinion that the manufacturers have an elf who sits in a cupboard dreaming up ways of adding to the spec. of caravans in order to put one over the opposition with a corresponding hike in the final price. A modern 2 berth caravan costs 3 times what we paid for our house. So the price keeps going up until the market levels out then the manufacturers have to think of ways of getting the price down to increase the number of units shifted with the corresponding lowering of standards and equipment levels until the market levels out again. In the meantime, the buyers, having got used to having to pay the high prices, think the lower prices are a bargain and the market picks up again. The last time I was at the NEC (about two years ago with Chris Gosling as it happens), there was a 2 berth caravan on a stand with the hair raising price tag of £27,000! (No, that isn't a typing error). It was nice, it had all the usual equipment but the price could not be justified by any stretch of imagination.
Have I stirred a hornets' nest? Is the caravanning public being taken for a ride?