Should consumers be offered more options?

Jul 18, 2017
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Excluding motor movers, sat dishes etc do you think that British consumers should be offered more options when purchasing a caravan. I am not talking about changing the layout i.e. no oven or hob and wash room etc. Caravan layout remains the same
I am thinking specifically of options like axle upgrade which will allow for MTPLM to be increased for more payload, tyres that are not bottom budget tyres, TPMS, radio, alarm, Tracker, ALKO wheel locks etc.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Excluding motor movers, sat dishes etc do you think that British consumers should be offered more options when purchasing a caravan. I am not talking about changing the layout i.e. no oven or hob and wash room etc. Caravan layout remains the same
I am thinking specifically of options like axle upgrade which will allow for MTPLM to be increased for more payload, tyres that are not bottom budget tyres, TPMS, radio, alarm, Tracker, ALKO wheel locks etc.
Yes undoubtedly and the bigggy for me would be payload upgrade to 200 kg above MIRO then I could dispense with roof box and once again carry training weights, Lafumas and dining chairs too.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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If I were a manufacturer I most definitely would. Big profits on fitted options. I'd offer alternative cupboard door colour schemes and worktop etc and soft finishing alternatives too.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I have brought this up on other forums and been lambasted by those that say it is not cost effective for manufacturers and would not work on a production line.

I disagree and see it as short sightedness. Car manufacturers manage to offer many options with a far more complex product.

Another objection is that the van model has been type approved in one form and it would not be cost effective to have variations. Sadly that may apply to upgrading an axle, but surely not to the type of radio that might be fitted.


John
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Handling options would require a "build-to-order" system at the manufacturer - I doubt that most manufacturers could cope with such variations, at least not without adding a big price premium.

Car makers are dealing with much bigger number and/or higher prices.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I think the options Buckman listed would be quite straightforward fir a manufacturer or could be dealer fit. Just look at what Knaus offer. But I think that cupboard doors, furnishings etc would be impracticable fir caravan makers as compared to cars the production runs and supply chains are totally different.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I think the options Buckman listed would be quite straightforward fir a manufacturer or could be dealer fit. Just look at what Knaus offer. But I think that cupboard doors, furnishings etc would be impracticable fir caravan makers as compared to cars the production runs and supply chains are totally different.
Exactly which is why I stressed that basic a build would remain the same. I can't really see it being a major issue withn the upgraded axle.

I am not sure, but I am sure that I read somewhere that it is possible to upgrade the axles at a cost as the chassis does not need to be changed. However I am wondering about certification and insurance issues. I have never been asked if our caravan has been modified althouhg when doing car insurance this is a standard question.
 
Nov 17, 2005
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Many years ago, when Sprite Caravans were based in Newmarket, the CEO was asked that same question during a press conference.

His response was that for every £100 the added to the build cost of the caravan it increased the end user price by £300 and it reduced their competitiveness in the market.

I don't see that much has changed other than there are now less actual manufacturers in the Uk.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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As Roger highlights offering "options" brings with it built to order, which of course is now the case but a dealer order not a client order.
Absolutely fine with us and exactly what every van and new car we have owned have been, but cultuarally I question it is the "Brit" thing, it seems to me it is more here a see it and want it now culture. Maybe totally missjudged but not in the circles we move in that can't understand we accept ordering 6 to 12 months pre delivery, to get specifically the build options we want. Change model specs/style every year rather than get it "right" and run for several years is another UK factor, if you wait you are not seen as "cool" and with it owning the very latest.
 
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May 7, 2012
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Possibly more options might work if tailored more carefully. Personally I suspect many people would drop the oven and settle for a microwave which would also take a fair bit of weight out. The oven could then be an option, although possibly by buying less the caravan builder might lose out on the discount from the oven manufacturers.
I doubt higher spec tyres would be a selling point. The cheap ones fitted do the job and normally need replacement due to age so the benefit of the expensive one is minimal. In most cases the tyres are up to any increase in MMTPLM offered which is the chassis limit. Upgrading further would need a higher spec chassis and the cost of fitting that as a one off would probably be prohibitive.
I doubt upgraded radios would be a selling point, as the ones fitted will normally be up to most peoples needs and many do not use them at all. Possibly the radio could be an extra in itself though, with a small choice for those who want them.
I do get the impression that the caravan builders prefer to keep things on the line standard and would rather dealers retrofit most extras. It may be they are not ready for the possibly complete rethink needed for more options. The more options you give, the more that can go wrong on the line.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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In most cases the tyres are up to any increase in MMTPLM offered which is the chassis limit. Upgrading further would need a higher spec chassis and the cost of fitting that as a one off would probably be prohibitive.
Though is exactly what can be on offer on the Continent with some of the brands, a chassis option. Great for those of us who feel many UK payloads are way too inadequate, verging on making the van in use illegal.
Costly yes, but not "prohibitive" as those of us that realise the need and buy them prove.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Possibly more options might work if tailored more carefully. Personally I suspect many people would drop the oven and settle for a microwave which would also take a fair bit of weight out. The oven could then be an option, although possibly by buying less the caravan builder might lose out on the discount from the oven manufacturers.
I doubt higher spec tyres would be a selling point. The cheap ones fitted do the job and normally need replacement due to age so the benefit of the expensive one is minimal. In most cases the tyres are up to any increase in MMTPLM offered which is the chassis limit. Upgrading further would need a higher spec chassis and the cost of fitting that as a one off would probably be prohibitive.
I doubt upgraded radios would be a selling point, as the ones fitted will normally be up to most peoples needs and many do not use them at all. Possibly the radio could be an extra in itself though, with a small choice for those who want them.
I do get the impression that the caravan builders prefer to keep things on the line standard and would rather dealers retrofit most extras. It may be they are not ready for the possibly complete rethink needed for more options. The more options you give, the more that can go wrong on the line.
Are you saying higher specification tyres or more upmarket brand. I’ve not really seen any replies to my “ survey” on tyres to really deduce that the OEM tyres are “ cheap” by that I mean budget. In fact the responses albeit limited tend to point the other way. Perhaps I could surmise that as long as the tyre meets specification most. owners aren’t that concerned.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Options would be nice, but in reality just look at how poorly the manufacturers manage product quality at the moment, just think about all the ways they will get it wrong with a far more complex multi option specification........

What might work is for caravan manufacturers to build the basic shell and universal items, and the its up to the dealers to sort out what details each customer wants and for them to fit out and finish the the van. So for example, the cut out might be there for the radio, but the customer has to specify which model they want and the dealer obtains and fits it.

But in reality I don't see this as a realistic option.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Possibly more options might work if tailored more carefully. Personally I suspect many people would drop the oven and settle for a microwave which would also take a fair bit of weight out. The oven could then be an option, although possibly by buying less the caravan builder might lose out on the discount from the oven manufacturers.
I doubt higher spec tyres would be a selling point. The cheap ones fitted do the job and normally need replacement due to age so the benefit of the expensive one is minimal. In most cases the tyres are up to any increase in MMTPLM offered which is the chassis limit. Upgrading further would need a higher spec chassis and the cost of fitting that as a one off would probably be prohibitive.
I doubt upgraded radios would be a selling point, as the ones fitted will normally be up to most peoples needs and many do not use them at all. Possibly the radio could be an extra in itself though, with a small choice for those who want them.
I do get the impression that the caravan builders prefer to keep things on the line standard and would rather dealers retrofit most extras. It may be they are not ready for the possibly complete rethink needed for more options. The more options you give, the more that can go wrong on the line.
I listed a couple of items as examples and agree radio would not be on our list of options however tyres would be if we were able to upgrade the chassis as the load index would change.
If they can offer axle options on the continent to many brands, why can't they do the same in the UK? Surely it cannot be that difficult especially if you can retrofit a high rated axle anyway.
IMHO payloads on many UK caravans are quite measly especially if you add a motor mover which is now almost a necessity.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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I think the options Buckman listed would be quite straightforward fir a manufacturer or could be dealer fit. Just look at what Knaus offer. But I think that cupboard doors, furnishings etc would be impracticable fir caravan makers as compared to cars the production runs and supply chains are totally different.
Most already offer choice of furnishing materials and sometime curtains.

Many years ago, when Sprite Caravans were based in Newmarket, the CEO was asked that same question during a press conference.

His response was that for every £100 the added to the build cost of the caravan it increased the end user price by £300 and it reduced their competitiveness in the market.

I don't see that much has changed other than there are now less actual manufacturers in the Uk.
I read that as a ‘give up’ attitude on the behalf of the CEO rather than a ‘can do’.

John
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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I’ve not really seen any replies to my “ survey” on tyres to really deduce that the OEM tyres are “ cheap” by that I mean budget. In fact the responses albeit limited tend to point the other way. Perhaps I could surmise that as long as the tyre meets specification most. owners aren’t that concerned.
Whilst I did not name the brand, I did point out I had a van that suffered two blow outs and the only intact remaining tyre the spare was deemed "substandard" by the importer.
And boy were they "cheap", the tyre importer offered me just £17 each, the trade price as way of compensation, albeit being 2005, not today.

However, I agree with your final comment, I doubt most buyer care or think about the "quality" of the tyres on a caravan, or little else about those vital substanial factors associated with the "engineering" of the van they are buying.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Are you saying higher specification tyres or more upmarket brand. I’ve not really seen any replies to my “ survey” on tyres to really deduce that the OEM tyres are “ cheap” by that I mean budget. In fact the responses albeit limited tend to point the other way. Perhaps I could surmise that as long as the tyre meets specification most. owners aren’t that concerned.
Apart from what JTQ says above, there is also the comment made by myself and Buckman to consider in your survey.

As JTQ, I agree with you that lots would think about the tyres on a new purchase, but if they were given the option of a premium tyre they might. But the other alternative is that better tyres are fitted new and the manufacturers use this as a safety/selling feature. That a win win situation.

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I listed a couple of items as examples and agree radio would not be on our list of options however tyres would be if we were able to upgrade the chassis as the load index would change.
If they can offer axle options on the continent to many brands, why can't they do the same in the UK? Surely it cannot be that difficult especially if you can retrofit a high rated axle anyway.
IMHO payloads on many UK caravans are quite measly especially if you add a motor mover which is now almost a necessity.
When my axle gave up the ghost I looked at a higher rated unit that had exactly the same dimensions and brakes etc. But I could not get Swift to confirm acceptability. They referred me to Alko who were not prepared to supply it without Swift agreement. I could have bought it from Western Towing but two Swift dealerships were not willing to fit it. It’s certainly not a ready DIY job.
I was quite content to retain the existing MTPLM which gives a not unreasonable payload. I was looking for greater margin against future failure. So retrofit isn’t that straightforward. However a dealer or maker official axle upgrade comes with higher payload.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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When my axle gave up the ghost I looked at a higher rated unit that had exactly the same dimensions and brakes etc. But I could not get Swift to confirm acceptability. They referred me to Alko who were not prepared to supply it without Swift agreement. I could have bought it from Western Towing but two Swift dealerships were not willing to fit it. It’s certainly not a ready DIY job.
I was quite content to retain the existing MTPLM which gives a not unreasonable payload. I was looking for greater margin against future failure. So retrofit isn’t that straightforward. However a dealer or maker official axle upgrade comes with higher payload.
I am guessing a bit here, but the refusal to uprate the axle may be to do with it taking the specs out of those that the van was type approved for and therefore making it illegal on the road.

However. A member on here reports that they have updated their axle on a couple of vans but I don’t think they explained how they covered the roadworthiness on paper.

Don‘t knock me down, I have no expertise in this area.

John
 
Oct 17, 2010
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I uprated/upgraded my weight plate. there were no modifications to the van, as the axle was already rated at the higher rate. The appropriate paperwork came with the new plate.
On my van the lower rating is done, I think, to cater for the new driving licence classifications. To make it easier to bring the train weight within the 3500kg range. To put the van within the range of more potential buyers.

The upgrade on my van was well above a 100kg. From 1235kg to 1350kg.
 
Last edited:
Nov 11, 2009
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I uprated/upgraded my weight plate. there were no modifications to the van, as the axle was already rated at the higher rate. The appropriate paperwork came with the new plate.
On my van the lower rating is done, I think, to cater for the new driving licence classifications. To make it easier to bring the train weight within the 3500kg range. To put the van within the range of more potential buyers.

The upgrade on my van was well above a 100kg. From 1235kg to 1350kg.
That’s what I would call a decent payload upgrade. This last couple of months since sites reopened we’ve been away as a couple. And quite fancy a nice two berth with rear bathroom. But some of those we quite like are 125 kg payload and with the vans only just over 6 m shipping length the front seats aren’t suitably long for an afternoon nap!
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I uprated/upgraded my weight plate. there were no modifications to the van, as the axle was already rated at the higher rate. The appropriate paperwork came with the new plate.
On my van the lower rating is done, I think, to cater for the new driving licence classifications. To make it easier to bring the train weight within the 3500kg range. To put the van within the range of more potential buyers.

The upgrade on my van was well above a 100kg. From 1235kg to 1350kg.
You are correct. I did the same but mine only gave me 35kg.

The example I gave in #19 referred to a person who changed the axle to a higher rated one.

John
 
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Oct 17, 2010
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Hi OC
My Challenger original pay load was 126kg upgrade doubled it. Ideal for me and the boss. How tall are you? near side bed 6'3" off side 5'11"
 
Oct 17, 2010
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You are correct. I did the same but mine only gave me 35kg.

The example I gave in #19 referred to a person who changed the axle to a higher rated one.

John
Hi John
I had a inkling I'd got it a little wrong whilst I was writing it . It was a good upgrade though.
 
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