German caravan market stays strong in face of adversity

The outlook for the caravan and motorhome market in Germany remains positive despite the building challenges of supply chain disruption, lack of skilled workers, and logistical bottlenecks according to the latest data from the German Caravanning Industry Association (CIVD). The association claims that more people are spending their free time in leisure vehicles, but the industry in Europe is undoubtedly under pressure from these ongoing stresses.

The mixed outlook is perhaps best seen when examining the figures for the first six months of 2023. There were a total of 54,299 new leisure vehicles registered in Germany in that time, which is down about 1.6 per cent compared to last year. Within that, 12,799 were from the caravan sector, which is 10 per cent below the previous year’s figure. For motorhomes, the 41,500 new units registered represents a small growth of 1.3 per cent. So, while the figures are down slightly, it must be remembered that 2022 was an exceptional record-breaking year and that there are many stresses on the industry at this moment in time – with those factors considered, there are many reasons to be optimistic about 2023.

Supply chain pain

Stagnating supply chains and staff shortages continue to affect the production of manufacturers and suppliers, which is why new vehicles can only be built under more difficult conditions. In the motorhome sector, the limited availability of vehicle chassis remains a key handicap in production. In principle, the availability of base vehicles has improved somewhat over the last few months - partly because motor caravan manufacturers are relying on a broader range of brands for vehicle chassis - but remains strained overall. In addition to the well-known challenges in production, there are also bottlenecks in logistics: due to a lack of capacity at transport service providers, in some cases important vehicle components are delivered late. In addition, many completed vehicles cannot be delivered to dealers and customers as planned.

‘Consider ourselves lucky’

Daniel Onggowinarso (pictured above), managing director of CIVD, said: “The last few years have presented the caravanning industry with extraordinary challenges. Factors such as inflation and high energy prices have further complicated the business environment. It will take some time before our industry can produce under relatively normal conditions again. Against this background, over 54,000 new registrations in the first half of the year are a more than remarkable result.

“The caravanning industry can consider itself lucky, because despite all the crises, interest in motor caravans and caravans remains high and the potential of our industry is far from exhausted. This is confirmed not only by market data and the well-attended caravanning trade fairs, but also by studies from market research.”