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Redundancies at Swift and a Factory closed.

May 24, 2014
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Thought I would post a link to the article. Swift had made some redundancies and closed the Mexborough Facility. Hopefully its just a minor costcutting exercise or reshaping of the business model. I would hate to see yet another manufacturer go the wall. I thought the caravan business was booming, so a bit of a surprise this one. Apologies if it has been posted elsewhere, i did have a quick look and couldnt see it.

 
Jul 18, 2017
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This is my view.For every"boom" there's a bust/downturn,this I think is where the caravan industry is now.This is not a cheap hobby,over the last few years people have found that it seems a nice cheap lifestyle,in reality ,by the time you've factored in insurance and storage costs alone you could rent a cottage in peak season,let alone getting awning,rest of stuff,even license upgrades,then the actual cost of the van.But I think people are really miffed off with the quality of the vans,people generally are spending half or more of a years salary for things that become unusable because of warranty stuff.
The caravaning industry seems to run on mostly people such as most on here,65 yr olds plus(sorry 😳😂) where you've caravan'd for years from when it WAS a cheap way to holiday.Now as you're getting to the point of giving up due to health issues,not many are coming through.
Personally,I'm 44 with 2 teenagers,we've caravan'd for the last 6yrs and love it and FOR ME its cost effective,but I've had to repair front and rear panels,damp in a wheel arch and all this on a less than 4yr old van as Elddis didn't want to know as someone else had stamped the service book,correct time etc..just not recognised by them.I love to tinker but most I know can't,so give up cos it's hassle.
As I said this is my view,and until manufacturers sort themselves out,people won't part with hard earned cash.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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The problem with caravan manufacturers is their cottage industry mentality - period. That, and their terrible sense of colours (inside) and their inability to understand what people really want, not what <they> think they want. It doesn't help either that they will not (for the most part) talk to their customers pushing them of to the dealer all the time.
But still we stick at it!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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It is always sad to hear of people being laid off or made redundant and I hope they get a good deal and if necessary find suitable alternative employment.

I am not surprised that one or more caravan manufacturers are having to down size. Over the last 15 years, the industry has seen the demise of several smaller manufacturers who have either closed or been swallowed up by the big boys. The marques have been continued largely through badge engineering (British Leyland again?)

Compared to the boom in caravanning in the 1980's with over 40K caravans being sold, present day sales have shrunk to about 22K, and whilst the industry has not published very recent sales figures, but insiders whom I know, have told me sales are difficult. There are many possible factors for this but Brexit is certainly one with the continuing uncertainty about our future relationships with the rest of the world and the effect it will have on our earnings and savings. This has reduced the amount of disposable income people are prepared to spend on high value leisure items like caravans.

The shrinking market for caravans has led to over capacity in the industry. and sadly business owners will be looking to survive by shedding costs.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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The Mexborough site was originally the home of Autocruise Motorhome. It went bust in 2007 . The bits were bought by Swift from the Receiver. It seems the major job losses and the closure is more motor home related than tourers. Somewhat irrelevant if you have just lost your job. The Prof raises an interesting sales comparison , sales now virtually 50% of earlier years.
I am partly responsible I fear:rolleyes:
My Wyoming is ten years old. It has been well maintained . A lot of running repairs I have done myself . It still has an annual service by a mobile engineer. It still ticks all the boxes and does everything a 2020 caravan does. So we haven’t traded it in. Prior to that we changed every three or four years.
I know all the weak points, keep a close eye on water ingress and do most repairs myself.
Do I want a new one ? Not yet . Maybe there are hundreds out there like me who are keeping their caravans longer?
 
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May 7, 2012
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It is sad to see job losses but I do wonder if Swift had lost its way a bit. They have consolidated the ranges to the point where I feel they may be losing some customers and the caravans with a couple of exceptions are no longer any use to people limited to a GTW of under 3,500 kg. This is an area where their main rival Bailey have excelled, as has Eldiss, and weight reduction may be vital for the future as cars get lighter and more people learn to live with the more restrictive licence.
The loss, while temporary of Lunar has reduced the numbers of models on the market so they should have picked up some sales there, but again I suspect the more weight concious Bailey and Eldiss got most.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It is sad to see job losses but I do wonder if Swift had lost its way a bit. They have consolidated the ranges to the point where I feel they may be losing some customers and the caravans with a couple of exceptions are no longer any use to people limited to a GTW of under 3,500 kg. This is an area where their main rival Bailey have excelled, as has Eldiss, and weight reduction may be vital for the future as cars get lighter and more people learn to live with the more restrictive licence.
The loss, while temporary of Lunar has reduced the numbers of models on the market so they should have picked up some sales there, but again I suspect the more weight concious Bailey and Eldiss got most.
There’s also the effect of changes to younger folks lifestyles. I’ve noticed a large increase in campervans on sites. Whilst not cheap they offer young, and old, the flexibility of being able to stay in the outdoors plus having a flexible vehicle for daily use.
 
May 24, 2014
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An interesting point that Brexit may have affected sales as my expectations were that the caravan industry may have gained strength with some being reticent to travel abroad during the uncertainty.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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An interesting point that Brexit may have affected sales as my expectations were that the caravan industry may have gained strength with some being reticent to travel abroad during the uncertainty.
I think that may be true about people's concerns about traveling abroad, but I also think people are more concerned about conserving their savings, becasue of the as yet unknown effects of the post brexit effect on the value of their money, and income potential.

I am 100% confident and sad because there will be more brexit related job losses and business failures, simply because the UK will not have the trade deals in place on the 31st January 2020.
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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From what I can gather the job losses are mainly from Swifts motorhome division.
Government plans to increase VED on motorhomes has led to a significant downturn in sales
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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I also wonder how the anti diesel legislation is impacting. Bristol propose a no private diesel vehicle area during, effectively, office hours from 2021 (? I think). This area includes the campsite at Baltic Wharf. Anyone new to our hobby and contemplating a diesel Moho or tow car may well have pause for thought. Probably not the biggest factor but all these pressures add up.
Mel
 
Nov 16, 2015
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From what I can gather the job losses are mainly from Swifts motorhome division.
Government plans to increase VED on motorhomes has led to a significant downturn in sales
I looked this up. Frightening.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I also wonder how the anti diesel legislation is impacting. Bristol propose a no private diesel vehicle area during, effectively, office hours from 2021 (? I think). This area includes the campsite at Baltic Wharf. Anyone new to our hobby and contemplating a diesel Moho or tow car may well have pause for thought. Probably not the biggest factor but all these pressures add up.
Mel
If Baltic Wharf is in the inner zone all private diesel vehicles will be excluded between 0700-1500. This would make arrival and departure an interesting period with schools and commuting time around then. I suspect Baltic Wharf would become unviable as users would not be able to take their vehicle in or out within the restricted hours.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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My 36 year old son is preparing for his towing driving test. You guessed it , my car and caravan will get more use than ever this year. Not sure if it is Brexit related but he and his family love caravanning holidays in the U.K, with his In Laws. It is worth mentioning that post the election with Brexit looming ever closer my pension pot investments have increased significantly in value. Not all doom and gloom.
 
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May 7, 2012
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I agree there has been a move towards motor homes but Swift build them as well. The recent tax hikes on them is supposed to have meant sales are now down on new ones and we will have to see what happens there.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Strange that buyers considering an 80k motorhome aren't buying because of a bit more tax. Mind i know how they feel; I loved my mini f56 cooper for its £30 a year road tax when i had it!
 
May 7, 2012
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I would think it is probably the people lower down the scale who are the ones holding off, but I have not seen a breakdown of where the missing sales are. Bearing in mind that there is a lobby for the anomaly to be corrected, it may simply be a number of people are just holding off to see what happens.
 

Hobbyt600

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Sep 20, 2011
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Strange that buyers considering an 80k motorhome aren't buying because of a bit more tax. Mind i know how they feel; I loved my mini f56 cooper for its £30 a year road tax when i had it!


How new motor caravans sold in the UK will be treated in future regarding Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) has been discussed at length on motorhome forums and the NCC has even created a website about this

http://www.fairmotorhometax.org/

It was recently mentioned on a motorhome forum that a TV programme put out by BBC1 “Look North” had suggested that there was a causal link between the VED issue and Swift Group redundancies. A well-informed forum-member then commented as follows:

The consultation with staff commenced last November and was quoted at the time as a necessity to reduce its production of touring caravans, so whilst taxation changes on motorhomes may now be having an effect, wider issues including people's reluctance to spend on big ticket items in the current economic climate of uncertainty are likely to be just as big, if not a bigger part of the picture.

The motor industry as a whole is also suffering declines in vehicle sales, and although subject to the same excise duty regime as now affects new motorhome registrations, the tax on all but the most expensive or polluting cars has not been subject to increases other than in line with inflation.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks. The post only reinforces what is happening in the wider market. Retails sales down, food down, flights down, electrical down etc and as you say cars are down. When consumer confidence dips people naturally start to forgo big ticket items. Despite Brexit now having some form of direction no one knows what 2020 will mean for the economy and their personal circumstances so money doesn’t get spent so readily. I suspect we may see more cut backs in the leisure vehicle industry.
 
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Mar 8, 2007
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If Baltic Wharf is in the inner zone all private diesel vehicles will be excluded between 0700-1500. This would make arrival and departure an interesting period with schools and commuting time around then. I suspect Baltic Wharf would become unviable as users would not be able to take their vehicle in or out within the restricted hours.
Once on the Baltic Wharf site, you can walk through the back of the site and straight on to the Harbourside. This is also linked to the Industrial Museum and is close to the centre too.
I need to commute through this congestion zone, but as my hours are either side of 07:00 and 15:00 hopefully will not cause too much trouble.
Regards,
 
May 24, 2014
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The whole low emission and congestion zone could well become ridiculous if every city and town runs their own scheme. Surely it would be better to add levels of VED to compensate for it................oh, wait a minute, they already have done.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I'm not quite sure why this thread has developed into a discussion about LEZ's. That is a big enough topic to deserve its own thread.

Back to the headline - I can fully appreciate the feelings of some of the Swift work force, having been through a redundancy when the business I was working in was sold to another company who despite promises to contrary decided to close down the division only months after taking it on. It was not pleasant situation, and finding alternative work was difficult.

I wish them good luck
 
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May 24, 2014
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I'm not quite sure why this thread has developed into a discussion about LEZ's. That is a big enough topic to deserve its own thread.
Probably because one of the reasons given is the taxation issue on motorhomes. From there its a short hop to VED rates and emissions.
 

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