Motorhome buying advice: getting a good deal on new models
Judging by what we've seen within the motorhome industry over the last couple of months, there seems to be huge pent-up interest in motorhome and campervan holidays in the UK.
There are reports of a 250% increase in enquiries about VW's California campervan and motorhome dealers across the country seeing not just serious enquiries but also sales increasing.
Even under the recent lockdown, motorhomes were selling in a contactless way, with personalised video demonstrations and vehicles delivered to the buyer’s door.
If you’re looking for a pre-owned vehicle, especially at the more affordable end of the market, some dealers were already reporting strong sales – and limited stock – back in January. Combined with a reduction in new registrations and, therefore, fewer trade-ins, this is likely to mean that the best secondhand stock will sell quickly, and at strong prices. So, if you want a good secondhand motorhome or campervan model, don’t delay.
Equally, though, it’s important not to rush a purchase. A great motorhome deal will soon turn out to be an expensive mistake if you buy an unsuitable model and have to return it to the dealer to part-exchange it for something more in line with your requirements.
If you’re thinking of buying a new motorhome, then your choices will be limited largely by what dealers currently have in stock. Most manufacturers stopped production for more than a month during that lockdown period and those that have restarted will be focusing on building sold orders before they start making 2021-season models.
For some British brands, such as Bailey, where vehicles are mostly built to the same spec, that may not be an issue, as long as you can track down the model you’re after. But, if you want a luxury German model, then you’ll have to accept the spec that the dealer has chosen, rather than picking options. That might not be an issue if the upholstery isn’t your first choice, but it could be a deal-breaker if it’s not the heavy-duty chassis or it hasn’t got the automatic gearbox you need.
Of course, there could be advantages in compromising a little and accepting the specification of the model that’s already on the dealer’s premises. For a start, you could take delivery in days, not months. You can also see what you’re buying, rather than trying to conjure up an image in your head of what it might look like with darker woodwork or a different fabric. And, crucially, you could also be looking at a big saving.
The Bargain Hunter feature in each issue of MMM highlights great buys at dealers every month, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. There will always be vehicles that stick around on forecourts longer than the retailers would like and, typically, these will be last year’s model, so investigate carefully to see exactly what the difference is between a 2020 model and a 2019 – or even a 2018 (there are still a few around and they should be even cheaper).
The latest models will meet the stricter Euro 6d emissions standard, rather than Euro 6b, but a bigger change is the move from Fiat’s robotised Comfort-Matic gearbox to the new nine-speed automatic.
And where some models in a range (say, Auto-Trail’s Apache) have not seen major redesign, others from the same maker (like the Tribute coachbuilts) have seen wholesale redevelopment. So, know what you’re looking at, because the dealer will instantly spot an older model when the time comes to change again.
If you know exactly what you want and you can’t find it now, then you may be better waiting until later in the year when the 2021-season models start to appear. However, currently not even we know exactly what those will look like, or how much they’ll cost.
And, remember, there are over 4,000 new and used motorhomes from dealers or private sellers on outandaboutlive.co.uk/motorhomes/for-sale
For more buying advice head to our specific Buyers Guide section of the website with access to specifications, reviews, motorhomes for sale and loads more buying advice.