Spotlight on… Concept Multi-Car (CMC)
A family-run company that’s been building campervans for over 30 years, we caught up with Director, Sam Shortland, for the full lowdown…
When did CMC start out?
Concept Multi-Car (CMC) has been creating campervans for over 30 years. As a family-run business, we’ve been trading from our factory, based in Hythe, Kent, since 1988. My parents, Alf and Hilary Shortland, got their first taste of motorcaravanning in the late 1960s and fell in love with the concept and the freedom it offered.
Their passion continued with a succession of self-build campers until a visit to the Reimo stand, at the Essen exhibition in 1987, prompted them to give up a successful building business in order to concentrate on creating a style of campervan not previously available in the UK. A new company was formed and the CMC concept of innovation, combined with safety and craftsmanship, was born.
Alf and Hilary are still part of the CMC team, but the everyday running of the company has been passed on to me and my brother, Toby. With the next generation of campervan enthusiasts in charge, new ideas and concepts have been added to the already well-established range of campervans, ensuring the CMC team stays at the forefront of innovation.
What sets you apart from the crowd?
Concept Multi-Car has been a pioneer in the UK campervan market. With our introduction of European furniture designs and Reimo’s ground-breaking products to the UK market, it has helped shape the modern-day campervan.
Our experienced team of craftsmen, our reliable quality, dedication to functionality, and trust in the confidence of our 30 years’ trading is what sets us apart from others. Today, the desire to offer something different still drives innovation. CMC is also Reimo’s original authorised UK agent.
With a business relationship spanning four decades, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge of Reimo’s full range of campervan conversion parts and installation techniques, which we offer to trade as well as individual customers. We are also very proud to have achieved the ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing business standard and all of our new vehicles meet VCA Type Approval standards.
How would you sum up the company’s ethos and values?
We take pride in our workmanship and customer care. CMC is about creating exceptional campervans, combining high-quality materials and products with expert craftsmanship.
We are extremely lucky to have an excellent team on board that is able to deliver this. For us, it’s not only about selling the motorhomes, but equally as important are our customer relationships and providing the required support and service for the lifetime of the vehicle.
What do you think makes a great campervan conversion?
It goes without saying the finished vehicle should look fantastic but, more importantly, safety and functionality are key. Different people require different designs but the conversion should be able to work well in each of its configurations. For example, the seats should be comfortable but so should the bed. And can you make a cup of tea with the bed set up? The answer should be, yes.
What kinds of bespoke options do you offer your customers?
We offer multiple conversion layouts across VW, Renault and Ford base vehicles, which are all customisable. We offer a choice of flooring, upholstery, furniture finishes, and additional options such as lighting, heating, and shower and barbecue points, which allow our campervans to be tailored to our customers’ individual style and requirements.
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What’s your best selling campervan?
The HemBil Drift – it’s the perfect combination of simplistic style and ingenious functionality. The kitchen unit effortlessly swings from inside the vehicle to outside, to enable al fresco cooking and maximise space inside the vehicle.
With space to sleep four adults and five travelling seats with three-point belts, this campervan offers room for all of the family. The optional multi-position rear seating gives the Drift the extra flexibility to make it the perfect multipurpose, everyday vehicle.
Have you got any exciting new developments in the pipeline?
Since the successful launch of our unique HemBil (Swedish for home car) range, we are continuing to refine its style and available options.
We have options to fulfil all new campervan trends – the HemBil Urban with a removable kitchen pod, the HemBil Drift with twin sliding doors and swing-out kitchen unit, and we have just finished creating our first HemBil Urban SL, with ultra-slimline units to allow maximum seating and lounge space.
Watch this space for new designs and finishes coming later in 2021…
What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying a campervan?
Don’t just think about your long adventures, think about how you use your campervan as an everyday vehicle, for the day trips and short weekend breaks. We like to keep our designs simple and functional to allow you to use your campervan as an everyday vehicle as well as a touring vehicle.
It’s a small space, so every decision when designing a campervan is a compromise, so think about what is really essential. For example, is it the full-width bed, the kitchen with a grill and oven, or maybe the need to carry five passengers? One important rule we like to use is ‘less is more’.
What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked by a customer?
It may seem normal now but, 20 years ago, we were regularly asked if we could fit a fixed flushing cassette toilet (in a SWB Volkwagen Transporter-sized vehicle), it was unheard of at the time, but lead us to develop our award-winning Multi-Style model, which was previously named ‘Ci-Elle’.
What’s the best campervan trip you’ve personally undertaken?
The first trip with my wife-to-be at the time. We travelled down the west coast of France to the north of Spain. Highlights were camping at the foot of the Pyrenees, as well as the pintxos in San Sebastian, and driving along the Emerald Coast to Santiago was spectacular. We had a rough route we wanted to drive, but found campsites as we travelled, and we found some excellent hidden gems.
The Concept Multi-Car range…
Concept Multi-Car is the original UK conversion agent for Reimo Reisemobil-Center GmbH. The partnership was founded in 1988 and CMC is authorised to manufacture Reimo’s full range of campervans, which it sells directly from its premises, along with its latest HemBil range.
The Reimo range consists of the VW Caddy Camp Maxi, the VW T6.1-based Trio-Style, Multi-Style and City Van, and the Renault Trafic-based Trio Camper. The Camp Maxi is a compact camper that retains its five original VW seats, so it’s as much a car as it is a camper, and features all the essentials like a kitchen, bed and toilet.
The Trio-Style and the City Van both have the ever-popular side kitchen layout while also offering five belted travel seats, so they are ideal for families. The Renault Trio has the same layout but is more budget friendly, thanks to the cheaper base vehicle. Meanwhile, the Multi-Style features two rear single passenger seats that convert to single beds, and a kitchen and washroom cubicle at the back of the campervan.
Born out of a desire to create something different, the exclusive HemBil range is inspired by the principles of Scandinavian design and its philosophy characterised by functionality, simplicity and clean lines, resulting in a campervan range that’s practical and stylish. All models of HemBil campers feature five belted travel seats, so they are perfect for anyone who uses their campervan as a daily driver.
In fact, the HemBil Dune will accommodate a further two passenger seats, making it a seven-seater. The HemBil Escape has a side kitchen layout and is available on the VW T6.1, Ford Transit Custom or Renault Escape, to suit a range of budgets.
Meanwhile, the VW T6.1 Urban and Drift offer something a little different, as the Urban features a removable kitchen unit which can also be used outside, while the Drift has a second sliding door and a swing-out kitchen unit.
CMC Reimo Unit 1, Pennypot Industrial Estate, Hythe, Kent CT21 6PE
Telephone: 01303 261062
Email: [email protected]