Should consumers be offered more options?

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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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And again I can't see the reason to specify or change a caravan tyre to a more expensive model. Provided the tyres are in good condition and with the possible exception to winter tyres, I do not see any reason to think that a more expensive caravan tyre will provide any real difference to caravan grip or handling. Anyway tyres can be easily changed by the caravan dealer.
Your "qualification" has identified the very reason.
Nor is my goal better grip or handling, it is integrity.

Re my failures: In the two cases where the carcasses could be sectioned, it was found they had outwardly invisible though serious and accepted lapses in the production processes.

Even the day they were made they never were in "good condition" and doomed in use to fail.

I put a huge value on our safety, far more than I do saving a few £s, I see trying to provide that as a very sound "reason".
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I can never get my head around people who insist on having tyre bands on caravans but don't have them on their cars, and the same argument would apply to run flats.

And again I can't see the reason to specify or change a caravan tyre to a more expensive model. Provided the tyres are in good condition and with the possible exception to winter tyres, I do not see any reason to think that a more expensive caravan tyre will provide any real difference to caravan grip or handling. Anyway tyres can be easily changed by the caravan dealer.
In recent posts two of us have stated that our Lunars we’re supplied new with sub standard tyres. Also another person said they were, but did not say the make. This tiny sample may of course not be indicative of the industry as a whole. But, having tyres that were condemned after just two years came as a bit of a shock to me. The extra expense incurred is one aspect but more concerning is the possible safety aspect.

Tyres are supposed to be made to minimum standards to be sold in Europe. I think they get categorised as, load, speed, noise, road holding. Don’t think that longevity is on the list.

John
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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In Germany, a speed limit of 80km/h applies if tyres are older than 6 years.
Really odd that where reportedly the county's BRV deems 5 year old stock "new tyres", so these okay at 100km/h for their first year only in use.
LINK
 
Nov 11, 2009
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In recent posts two of us have stated that our Lunars we’re supplied new with sub standard tyres. Also another person said they were, but did not say the make. This tiny sample may of course not be indicative of the industry as a whole. But, having tyres that were condemned after just two years came as a bit of a shock to me. The extra expense incurred is one aspect but more concerning is the possible safety aspect.

Tyres are supposed to be made to minimum standards to be sold in Europe. I think they get categorised as, load, speed, noise, road holding. Don’t think that longevity is on the list.

John
There are tyre supply companies out there that are little more than agents and a marketing outlet. They procure their design of tyre from any number of small makers who will have been the lowest bidder and probably have a barely recognisable approach to quality. Yes some tyres marketed by the front company will have been tested in order for the design to be marked with the relevant ECE marks but these sort of companies don’t compare to established recognised brands.

Some years ago (2003) my wife bought a Mondeo from our sons friend. It came with tyres I’d never heard of; Wanli. When I looked them up on the Interneti was concerned at the flack they got on some websites. Phrases like “ Ditch dwellers” are recalled. But I then saw that they were quite popular in Germany with taxis and that they had been produced in China from an established company. So we kept them on until wear required them to be replaced. Now when you look on the Wanli website you see the scale of their operations and their markets. TUV Rhineland do their testing. Would I have Wanli on a caravan? Yes.
I guess even Chinese drivers prefer their tyres to work safely.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Really odd that where reportedly the county's BRV deems 5 year old stock "new tyres", so these okay at 100km/h for their first year only in use.
LINK
Strange indeed, considering the 6 year limit is a legal limit for a 100km/h concession although in their flyer regarding tyre age, they do concede that the legal limit does apply for trailers. In fairness, however, they do distinguish between new and brand new.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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In recent posts two of us have stated that our Lunars we’re supplied new with sub standard tyres. Also another person said they were, but did not say the make. This tiny sample may of course not be indicative of the industry as a whole. But, having tyres that were condemned after just two years came as a bit of a shock to me. The extra expense incurred is one aspect but more concerning is the possible safety aspect.

Tyres are supposed to be made to minimum standards to be sold in Europe. I think they get categorised as, load, speed, noise, road holding. Don’t think that longevity is on the list.

John
Your experience is unusual, and probably exceptional as most caravanners only need to change tyres due to puncture damage or age related deterioration rather than running out of tread. If a tyre has a life expectancy of 40K miles and it is run for 20k each year then yes it will need replacing in about two years, but most caravanners do will rarely do more than about towing miles 1500miles, (Yes I know there will be exceptions to this) which means they tyres will age expire before it is worn down.

All tyres sold lawfully in the UK must meet a number of specific standards.

Note that where a standard is required it actually only represents the minimum technical capability a product should have, not an average or maximum. Consequently a word in this context like "Substandard" has a specific meaning that the item did not meet the required standard, and therefore should not have been sold.

If that is genuinely the case then you should have dealt with your seller under the CRA.
 
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There are tyre supply companies out there that are little more than agents and a marketing outlet. They procure their design of tyre from any number of small makers who will have been the lowest bidder and probably have a barely recognisable approach to quality. Yes some tyres marketed by the front company will have been tested in order for the design to be marked with the relevant ECE marks but these sort of companies don’t compare to established recognised brands.
Which is, in fact the point I was making.

Your experience is unusual, and probably exceptional as most caravanners only need to change tyres due to puncture damage or age related deterioration rather than running out of tread. If a tyre has a life expectancy of 40K miles and it is run for 20k each year then yes it will need replacing in about two years, but most caravanners do will rarely do more than about towing miles 1500miles, (Yes I know there will be exceptions to this) which means they tyres will age expire before it is worn down.

All tyres sold lawfully in the UK must meet a number of specific standards.

Note that where a standard is required it actually only represents the minimum technical capability a product should have, not an average or maximum. Consequently a word in this context like "Substandard" has a specific meaning that the item did not meet the required standard, and therefore should not have been sold.

If that is genuinely the case then you should have dealt with your seller under the CRA.
Not so sure it is unusual, or exceptional. The CMHC say tyres of minimum standard are often fitted. Perhaps a survey is called for. Also, Googling something like ‘quality of tyres fitted as new to caravans‘ brings up other examples.

While I take on board what you say about ‘substandard’. These tyres did not reach my expectations so I feel the description is valid in the real world.

“If that is genuinely the case” what on earth can you be hinting at?

I did consider trying to get compensation, but the cost, plus the opportunity to purchase better quality tyres, did not merritt the agro involved.

John
 
Jun 16, 2020
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To be able to specify the make of tyre when ordering a caravan is, to my mind, unrealistic. The car industry doesn't (options are normally related only to wheel size and design) so why should one expect the caravan industry to do so?
Agree, but in general the car industry make a safety and selling point of the choice of tyre fitted as new and recommended for their vehicle.

Caravaners get Hobson's choice more often than not.


John
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Tyres are supposed to be made to minimum standards to be sold in Europe. I think they get categorised as, load, speed, noise, road holding. Don’t think that longevity is on the list.
Longevity is normally measured by tread life - tyres (or tires) sold in North America include treadwear rating as part of the Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) standards - some tyres sold in Europe retain these markings but many are omitted - for most caravanners, treadwear life is irrelevant if the tyres are changed based on time.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Agree, but in general the car industry make a safety and selling point of the choice of tyre fitted as new and recommended for their vehicle.

Caravaners get Hobson's choice more often than not.


John
Really? I was never under the impression that the car industry ever made such claims.

It is true, however, that due to the high volumes involved, car manufacturers are able to negotiate with the tyre industry development of tyres specifically for a particular application. The flip side of the coin is that for the customer, the choice of tyre may be drastically reduced. There are, for example, only two brands of tyre available for my car, Dunlop or Pirelli. No other tyre manufacturer makes a tyre to fit my car.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Longevity is normally measured by tread life - tyres (or tires) sold in North America include treadwear rating as part of the Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) standards - some tyres sold in Europe retain these markings but many are omitted - for most caravanners, treadwear life is irrelevant if the tyres are changed based on time.
Absolutely, and why car tyres fail on tread depth before anything else. And all the more reason that build quality is so important on caravans.


John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I think that for the purpose of this thread we should leave the tyre brand question aside now because it's not the big issue. I think that axle ratings and equipment issues are really what the OP was primarily what he was getting at when he asked whether caravan manufacturers should offer more factory fitted options and we should concentrate on that.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I think that for the purpose of this thread we should leave the tyre brand question aside now because it's not the big issue. I think that axle ratings and equipment issues are really what the OP was primarily what he was getting at when he asked whether caravan manufacturers should offer more factory fitted options and we should concentrate on that.
I totally agree, thought it was asking about radios, microwaves, curtains, carpets, furnishings, ovens etc. But it does seem to have got bogged down with tyres and axels.
John
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Agreed.
I see no reason why the manufacturer cannot offer a range of weights on each model. Many as we know will issue upgraded plates for a small cost.
ATC should be a standard fit not option.
Extra hot water supply as supplied by Alde.
Prewired for roof mounted satellite dish.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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It seems that a number of people agree that consumers should be given the option of paying the extra for an axle with a higher load rating in order to increase the payload.
No idea why the thread turned into debate on tyres however if you buy a brand new car that has Dunlop fitted, you cna pay the difference and request that Firestones are fitted instead and retain the Dunlop tyres.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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The use of "should" sits very oddly here in my mind, it by definition brings some degree of "obligation" being forced on caravan builders.
Fine having obligations in respect to all things legally required, health and hazard related, but as said odd in making options such as extra wiring for an after market satellite dome being forced on caravan makers.
 
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The use of "should" sits very oddly here in my mind, it by definition brings some degree of "obligation" being forced on caravan builders.
Fine having obligations in respect to all things legally required, health and hazard related, but as said odd in making options such as extra wiring for an after market satellite dome being forced on caravan makers.
Maybe I should have said offered more options as it is the consumer that is paying the extra. Big difference between extra wiring for something that is going to be obsolete in the coming years and fitting an axle with a larger payload.
With the wiring all consumers buying that model pay for something that they may never use, but with an axle only the one consumer pays the difference.
 
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As I understand it, Swift Group offer 6 different versions of their caravans - with varying styles and equipment levels - that caters for the most numerous variations that customers want, or at least Swift perceive they want - the facility to custom-built a unique caravan is likely to give a hefty price penalty as few would want that level of variation.

Bentley and Rolls-Royce will incorporate any variations that customers want, but that's with an expensive car getting even more expensive - I guess caravanners should be looking at Vanmaster and Airstream for equivalent flexibility, and price.
 
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In this day and age of just-in-time delivery to the point of assembly, the ability to offer options does not increase production costs in any way. Components can be supplied to the manufacturer in line sequence so there is no need increase warehouse area for extra stock. It is a win-win situation really. The customer gets what he wants and factory-fitted options are known to be best possible source for high profit margins.
 
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In this day and age of just-in-time delivery to the point of assembly, the ability to offer options does not increase production costs in any way. Components can be supplied to the manufacturer in line sequence so there is no need increase warehouse area for extra stock. It is a win-win situation really. The customer gets what he wants and factory-fitted options are known to be best possible source for high profit margins.
I disagree, having several options for a given feature means the quantities for any one option will be less than the total caravans made, this can impact the economies of scale and thus push up the parts cost. Also given the quantities the quantities of caravans manufactured is not really large scale compared to the car industry, it unlikely the caravan manufacturers are exploring the lowest price for optional components already so the differences will be more significant.

But my biggest concern relates to the capability of the caravan manufacturers we have, to manage a system where virtually each caravan produced would have detailed differences.

I used to be employed by a manufacturer of gas appliances that had caravan companies amongst its customers. The gas appliance construction regulations required us to keep detailed records that would enable us to identify the source and dates/ batch numbers of certain critical components or operations and to link it to our production dates and customers.

We had to put that system to the test when one of our suppliers made an unapproved material change to an internal non visible part inside a gas valve assembly without checking with us. The valves when new functioned correctly , but problem came to light after a few months when just one appliance failed in the field - it did not shut off correctly. After and investigation it was shown the sliding component had started to corrode and jam becasue the wrong material had been substituted. We were not the only appliance manufacturer affected, and in total several thousand products used the affected valves.

We were told by the valve manufacturer the batches of valves that were affected. Form our QA records we could tell when those batches hit our production lines, and thus the serial numbers of our appliance's that had the suspect valves fitted.

Our records also recorded the which customers received which products and their serial numbers. We could tell to the minute when those products reached the customer. But that where the trail broke down, as the caravan manufacturers did not record the serial numbers of appliance's fitted to their caravans. Some couldn't even tell us the day or week they were fitted. Evidence from dealing with caravan dealers and end users clearly pointed to the fact the manufacturers were not even date rotating stock, as we can across some of our appliances that were three years or more older than the manufacturing date of the caravan.!

Admittedly this was over twenty years ago, but I have not seen any conclusive evidence that the UK caravan manufacturers have improved their stock management systems to the point they could reliably cope with dealing with detailed mechanical options for specific customers. I could well see the wrong axle mounts being used for an uprated axle., or the just wrong axle being fitted.

I totally agree it shouldn't be that way, but the reality is the UK caravan industry is still run more like a cottage industry than a fully up to date world class product plant.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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IMHO both Lutz and the Prof have made good points. But it needn't be either or. The industry could improve but they are for too content with the status quo. Dealers too. But if we, the poor old buying public keep applying pressure perhaps they might mature and join the 20th century.

Thinking about options. Clearly some things would not be practical or economically viable. But others are. My van is wired for a recirculating cooker hood as an option. Not something I want but I bet dealers managed to sell the upgrade enough to make this viable.

How hard would it be to provide wiring for speakers and a location for a radio. then give the customer a choice of radio or non at all.

Solar could so easily be optional.

I don't think an oven or cupboard option would be that difficult if it was done at the design stage.

It just needs the vision and the will.

John
 
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I disagree, having several options for a given feature means the quantities for any one option will be less than the total caravans made, this can impact the economies of scale and thus push up the parts cost. Also given the quantities the quantities of caravans manufactured is not really large scale compared to the car industry, it unlikely the caravan manufacturers are exploring the lowest price for optional components already so the differences will be more significant.

But my biggest concern relates to the capability of the caravan manufacturers we have, to manage a system where virtually each caravan produced would have detailed differences.
I was referring primarily to production costs, which should be unaffected by a greater choice of factory fitted options, not to component cost which admittedly could increase slightly due to lower volumes.

Proper quality management according to ISO 9001 requires documentation of the complete bill of material for each caravan built, so maintaining control of factory fitted options should not be an issue.
 
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I was referring primarily to production costs, which should be unaffected by a greater choice of factory fitted options, not to component cost which admittedly could increase slightly due to lower volumes.

Proper quality management according to ISO 9001 requires documentation of the complete bill of material for each caravan built, so maintaining control of factory fitted options should not be an issue.
When I required a new axle Swift were unable to confirm the specification and part number and asked me to contact Alko. I got under the caravan and photographed the Alko label with bar code and serial number. Alko would not supply a replacement against that information. They sent me a part drawing and asked me to check the actual fitted axle’s dimensions against the supplied drawing. This required the van to be lifted by a hydraulic workshop lift to measure the required interface dimensions.
So on something as critical as the axle neither Swift nor Alko were effectively able to demonstrate the required level of configuration control as required by ISO.
 

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