Motorhome and campervan dealers reopen on Monday 1 June
England’s motorhome and campervan dealers are reopening their showrooms after closing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many dealers will reopen this Monday (1 June), while others will open their showrooms over the coming two weeks.
It remains unclear when dealerships in the rest of the UK will reopen.
The majority of English dealers have introduced extra systems and safety equipment to ensure customers and staff are protected.
Early indications are that there will be significant demand in the coming weeks for new and used motorhomes and campervans.
Some campervan converters who sell direct to the public were able to continue to produce campervans and take orders on new models during the lockdown. Some of these are reporting growing interest from new customers, which ties in with industry predictions that demand for motorhomes and campervans will peak in the coming weeks.
Significant pent-up demand from motorhome buyers
This growth in demand is put down to the fact that a large number of existing motorhome buyers will, from Monday, be able to return to dealerships after they delayed their purchase because of the lockdown.
There is also predicted to be thousands of potential new buyers who have traditionally holidayed abroad but have now decided vacations in the UK are safer and more appealing, especially in a self-contained vehicle like a motorhome or a campervan.
It is too early to say how large this demand from newcomers to the hobby will be, but early indications are dealers are already seeing a marked increase in serious enquiries from prospective buyers, as well as already taking orders on new models online and over the phone.
Davan Caravans and Motorhomes in Somerset has introduced a reopening sale to tempt buyers in, but warns these deals will not last long.
“We now need to clear all of the new 2020 model caravans and motorhomes to make room for the new models, which will be coming through for September,” it said. “As in previous years this event is a great way to save on the purchase of your new model. There is a catch though, wait too long and your desired model will be gone and you will not be saving anything.”
Motorhome dealer, Lowdhams Leisureworld, which has branches in Nottinghamshire and Huddersfield, had a phased reopening on 1 June and introduced its ‘Novas’ scheme that means customers who want to purchase a new motorhome, accessories or visit its service department can do so with no, or minimal, contact.
It has also introduced ‘spring into summer’ deals with savings of over £8,000 on some new campervans and over £10,000 on a new motorhome.
Safety first for motorhome and campervan buyers
Lowdhams’ new scheme called Novas – No-contact Online Virtual Appointment System – means customers can book an online motorhome or campervan virtual viewing, as well as order some accessories and awnings via a call-and-collect service and proceed all the way through to completing the purchase. The new system means customers can reduce the time they spend at the dealer to the minimum and, in some cases, have no physical contact with Lowdhams at all.
Meanwhile, Camper UK in Lincoln, said it hopes to open on 1 June after it has undertaken the necessary precautions and safety measures and implemented safe distancing policies. However, it remains ‘virtually open’ and is able to take service enquiries and bookings, as well as take sales enquiries and deposits over the phone for delivery once it is safe to do so. It is also running a 'Manager's Sale' which has up to £10,000 off some new motorhomes.
Campervan manufacturer, WildAx Motorhomes, which introduced a phased reopening of its factory at the start of June, also confirmed that all its dealers reopened from 1 June, as did European motorhome and campervan manufacturer, Adria, which confirmed all its dealers will open on Monday.
Chelston Motorhomes will also open its showroom on 1 June and is operating under strict safety conditions to minimise risks, including offering video tours of new motorhomes for those who request one. “Many of our customers are already contacting us with questions about our motorhomes in readiness for summer and the end of lock-down,” it said.
Peter Roberts Caravans & Motorhomes, based in Honley in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, will also open at the start of June for appointment-only viewings. “We are operating a by-appointment-only system for our customers to ensure social distancing rules can be adhered to on site,” said a spokesperson.
“Our team have been disinfecting and deep cleaning all motorhomes and caravans as well as our offices and workshop areas. PPE such as face masks and gloves are available for our team to allow for a high level of safety for both our team and our customers whilst on our premises. Hand sanitising stations have been implemented throughout to ensure regular cleaning of hands. Signage is now displayed to ensure social distancing in all areas.”
Customers are also being offered walk-round video tours of any vehicles over the internet prior to booking an appointment.
Meanwhile Oaktree Motorhomes in Nottinghamshire will also open its doors again on 1 June after it installed screens on all desks and reception, plus added stations around the site with gloves, masks and hand sanitiser, which are available free to all customers. It is also sterilising all keys, handles and controls on vehicles, and are observing the two-metre distance to ensure everyone's safety. It is also using an ozone machine in the offices, reception and main area every night to fully disinfect the area.
Davan, which also plans to open again on Monday, has placed social distancing markers throughout our showroom and accessory store and is limiting the number of customers in both areas. In addition, clear protective screens are in place at its reception and till areas and sanitising stations have been placed around the building. It has also introduced a click-and-collect service for all accessory, parts and awning sales.
The dealer is also offering personalised video tours where one of its sales team will create a walk-around video of a motorhome and for those customers on the premises, it will operate an outside-the-door policy where sales staff will stand outside while customers view a vehicle. In addition, handover instructions will be done via video links. Motorhomes being booked in for a service will be carefully scheduled to minimise personal contact and protective gloves will be worn by technicians when performing servicing and repairs. Afterwards, all grab handles, keys and door locks will be disinfected.
SMC Motorhomes in Newark, which offers a range of British and Continental campervans and motorhomes, is also now open and trading under similar conditions to many dealers, with strict social distancing rules in place and enhanced cleaning and disinfection regimes in place. It is also offering a collection and delivery service to customers’ homes for pre-booked servicing, online video tours, an out-of-hours meet and greet service for anyone concerned about social contact with other visitors and remote transaction services for purchases of most vehicles, servicing, repairs and accessory items.
Finally, the Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld dealership in Stafford, which sells only German campervans and motorhomes made by Hymer, Niesmann+Bischoff, Carado and Dethleffs, confirmed it has introduced appropriate social distancing policies and is making safety equipment such as face masks and gloves available to all staff and customers.
It will open for appointment-only viewings from 1 June while also offering virtual tours of all models it has in stock. The dealership is also expanding the use of ozone generators to help sterilise all of the interiors of its vehicles and all 'vans being collected from sales and service.
Other measures include deep-cleaning the premises before customers can return as well as more regular cleaning throughout the day, particularly on high-contact points. Social distancing measures to be employed include a one-way walking system and Perspex screens in face-to-face areas.
Images are copyright Lowdhams Leisureworld