Third best-ever results in German caravan sector despite difficult conditions

Despite continuing problems with the supply chain and shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing sector, Germany recorded its third best result for new leisure vehicle registrations from January to September, 2022. A total of 78,011 new leisure vehicles were registered in Germany during that time, which despite being a decrease of about 13.6 per cent on 2021, is still trending far ahead of figures from before the pandemic in 2020. In a further breakdown, towable caravans recorded a decline of 2.7 per cent to 21,110 units, while motorhomes dropped 17 per cent to a figure of 56,901 units.

Daniel Onggowinarso, managing director of the Caravaning Industrie Verband (CIVD), said: “Motor caravans and caravans continue to be in high demand and manufacturers' order books are filled to the brim. The pandemic has given this long-term trend a further boost.” This boost, however, is being hindered by several ongoing challenges that are facing the industry at the moment, according to CIVD. One of those challenges is the much maligned faltering supply chains – a shortage of materials across all sectors, which is stopping vehicles being delivered to customers due to missing components. Specific to the leisure vehicle industry within this problem is the lack of vehicle chassis, which CIVD claims is evident by the decreasing motorhome registration figures. In order to have more vehicle chassis available, more and more companies are entering into new cooperative ventures with base vehicle manufacturers, so the diversity of brands in this sector is increasing.

One of the other main problems now emerging in the leisure vehicle industry is an acute shortage of skilled workers. Not only is there staffing problems due to absences caused by the pandemic, but there is a fundamental shortage of young workers entering the leisure vehicle manufacturing sector. In order to counteract this, the CIVD has developed a new specialization called ‘caravan and motor caravan technology’ for the discipline of ‘bodywork and vehicle manufacturing mechanic’, which is specially tailored to the demands of the industry. The planned start of specialization is August 2023.

Daniel Onggowinarso concluded: “It's a frustrating situation for everyone involved. Under normal conditions, the industry could build and deliver significantly more vehicles. But in view of the problems in production, dealers and customers unfortunately have to wait longer than usual for their motor caravans and caravans.”