Mobile home overload

March 16, 2018

While not strictly of interest to the readers of FOCUS, Gavin Myers was able to visit the 2018 Caravan, Motor, Touristik (CMT) show in Stuttgart, Germany, with Mercedes-Benz Vans.

I could never have imagined just how big the business of caravans and motor homes is in Europe.

I was utterly gobsmacked as we trawled through hall after hall, after hall, to see all manner of converted vans, trucks and bespoke mobile homes and caravans for the leisure market. One could, quite literally, live in some of these “vehicles” – some of the largest of which even offer a “garage” below deck for a town runabout (be it a Vespa or Mini Cooper)…

Even for a South African, it’s not difficult to tell that this segment is clearly booming in Europe. The German Caravanning Industry Association states that almost 38 000 new vehicles were registered across all classes of camper vans between January and October 2017; some 5 000 more than in the same period of 2016.

Over at the Mercedes-Benz stand, the new X-Class Camper Van concepts made their public debut. Created by bodybuilder Tischer, the demountable cabin offers a comfortable sleeping system in a 150-cm-wide alcove, headroom of almost two metres, a kitchen with a three-burner gas stove and three cosy seats.

The latter can be converted into a second bed in just a few simple steps. With its large, fold-away wash basin and swivelling toilet unit, the integrated bathroom offers enough space to take a shower. The sandwich design of the cabin sections ensures reliable stability and excellent insulation properties.

A different concept on the basis of the X-Class has been developed by VanEssa mobilcamping. It features a heavy-duty pull-out module with a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a second pull-out module.

VanEssa protects the load compartment with a cover made out of yacht-deck-look teak wood, while special pneumatic struts allow the cover to be propped up at an angle of 45°. What might make this package appealing to adventurous South Africans is the fitment of a roof tent with rear-facing entrance.

Of course, the new X-Class will arrive in South Africa during April, though probably without the option of a camper conversion…

A vehicle we can’t currently get in South Africa is the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. Based on the luxurious V-Class, the Marco Polo family offers luxurious mobile-home practicality.

Another notable Mercedes-Benz vehicle, which was not featured on the brand’s stand, was a pretty awesome Unimog camper-van conversion for true go-anywhere ability – though it does cost the equivalent of a cool
R3,5 million!

For those interested in the mobile home/caravan market, a trip to a future CMT expo will not disappoint!

My life has always revolved around anything with wheels and an engine. It doesn’t matter if its an old banger, the latest hot-hatch or a fancy 4×4 – any excuse is a good excuse to take it for a cruise, spank it at the track or go bundu-bashing (the mud-and-rocks-side-of-a-mountain type, not the exploring-Joburg’s-pavements type). Otherwise, chances are you’ll find me lying underneath one of my beloved toys or with my head buried in its engine bay, tinkering away.

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