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Record jump in motorhome and campervan sales

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Following news that sales of new motorhomes and campervans in Europe are at record levels, the latest UK figures confirm that sales here are also smashing records. And the appetite for buying appears to be highest among people who have never bought a motorhome or campervan before.

Data on new motorhome and campervan registrations from the industry body, the National Caravan Council, show that registrations in July were 71% higher than in July last year and in August they were 40.9% higher than the same month in 2019.

Why a record jump in motorhome sales?

Explaining the record jump in sales, John Lally the NCC Director General, said: “This was initially thought to be pent-up demand, but it has become apparent that the industry is welcoming new entrants to the market. They are more decisive in their purchase; we believe they are not just here for the short-term but see leisure vehicles as a safer ‘socially distanced by design’ option.”

The huge jump in sales followed four months that saw a massive slump in sales as dealerships locked down over the late-spring/early-summer months. In April, sales were down 93.4%, while in May it was even worse with a 95.9% drop compared to May 2019.

In June the situation began to improve quickly as dealerships were allowed to reopen and buyers flocked to showrooms to purchase both new and secondhand motorhomes and campervans that were in stock.

However, the official figures took some time to catch up and actually showed a 34.3% fall in registrations in June compared to June 2019. This is because the DVLA, which registers new vehicles (the figures are new registrations not sales figures) was still not working at capacity, which caused a backlog.

But the figures for July reveal just how dramatic the record jump in sales has been. In July, the increase in new registrations of 71% was an “amazing result” according to the NCC, as the DVLA caught up with the backlog of registrations and families and new-to-market buyers headed to dealer forecourts in their droves.

The significant jump in new motorhome and campervan registrations continued into August, which saw a 40.9% rise compared to August 2019.

In addition, while new motorhomes and campervans proved to be extremely popular, so were used models. For August, used registrations were up 64.4% – an even greater rise than for new, according to data from the DVLA and NCC.

Upward trend in motorhome sales set to continue

According to the NCC, indications are that the upward trend in sales is continuing and is being held back only by limited new stock, the effects of some local lockdowns and the lack of pre-owned vehicles that dealers would normally have to sell on thanks to part-exchange deals. However, with so many buyers new to the hobby, the number of part-exchange deals is far lower than usual meaning there are fewer used models for dealers to sell on.

Overall sales for the year to date are still below those of 2019 but the gap is reducing every month. At the end of May, just as the lockdown was ending, new motorhome and campervan registrations for the year were just 2,644 – just under 5,000 fewer than were sold during the same period last year.

However, by the end of August, that gap had reduced by 1,000 with 7,580 new motorhomes and campervans sold compared to 11,520 during the same period in 2019. It is expected that, by the year end, the gap will have significantly reduced further.

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