In the first part of our look at who owns what in the motorhome world, we looked at the German-centred, but eventually American-owned, Erwin Hymer Group. Now we turn our attention to what is potentially its biggest rival, headquartered in France.
France’s Trigano started out as a textile supplier before the Second World War, but diversified into camping equipment immediately afterwards to cash in on the boom in camping holidays in France, particularly in the early days of Club Med. Caravans followed in 1971, but three years later financial difficulties led to the whole group being taken over by French bank Credit Lyonnais. It was while it was still under bank control in 1984 that the first motorhomes were produced. Privatised again in 1987, the company floated on the stock market in 1998, and since then has been on an aggressive acquisition trail, particularly in the motorhome sector.
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Adria, the market leader in many European countries, is probably Trigano’s most ambitious acquisition in recent years. It acquired Adria in 2017, not long after the Slovenian company had rejected a takeover bid from Sweden’s KABE. Founded in 1965, Adria makes caravans and holiday homes as well, although the latter are currently only sold on the Continent. Notable past glories have included the Twin, the first van conversion to have a fixed bed. Many other manufacturers have copied the idea since. The acquisition included Sun Living, Adria’s budget brand. www.adria.co.uk
Based at Willersey in the Cotswolds, Auto-Sleepers feels quintessentially British, but since 2017, it has been part of Trigano. Auto-Sleepers, which makes low-profiles and van conversions, was founded in 1961 by the Trevelyan family. Since then it has built a strong reputation for producing stylish motorhomes.. www.auto-sleepers.com
Grimsby-based Auto-Trail has a strong British following like Auto-Sleepers, but it has actually been part of Trigano for even longer – since 1999. The company was already making caravans when it decided to branch into motorhomes in 1982, and motorhomes have now completely taken over. It hasn’t stopped innovating, however: in 2019 it launched its first raising roof van conversion, and this season it launched the Grand Frontier, the first British-produced A-class for well over a decade. The company also distributes Roller-Team in the UK, while the Grimsby factory produces Chausson and Roller-Team van conversions, in addition to its own. www.auto-trail.co.uk
Spanish brand Benimar was sold in the UK up until the financial crash of 2008, and has only been reintroduced (with considerable success) in the past few years by fellow Trigano subsidiary Marquis Leisure. There are three different ranges of low-profiles and overcabs – the Fiat-based Mileo and Primero, and the Ford-based Tessoro – as well as Benivan van conversions. www.marquisleisure.co.uk
French brand Chausson was launched in 1980, and has quickly become one of the Trigano Group’s mass-market brands. On the Continent it sells a full range of vehicles, and also produces identical vehicles under the Challenger brand. In the UK it is limited to only low-profiles and a couple of overcabs and van conversions (the latter produced by Auto-Trail), although they are well known for having highly innovative layouts. Take, for example, the Travel Line with habitation doors on both sides and cab seats in the back. Thanks to the pandemic Chuasson has stripped down production to just ten models, but is sure to bounce back in the future. www.chaussson-motorhomes.com
German brand Eura Mobil is only really sold through a couple of dealers in the UK. The company, based in the Rhineland, dates back to 1959, although motorhome production didn’t start until 1983. It was taken over by Trigano in 2005. It is known for innovative (even distinctive) layouts, often including UK-friendly rear lounges. www.euramobil.de/en
Marquis, with a network of 13 branches, is sole UK dealer for Benimar and Mobilvetta. Wholly owned by Trigano, it also produces the hugely popular Majestic dealer special range. Majestic is based on Elddis’s Autoquest, Accordo and Encore, but these models come with all sorts of exclusive goodies, including a more powerful engine. www.marquisleisure.co.uk
Despite the name, McLouis is an Italian brand that was acquired by Trigano in 2012 when it bought the financially troubled SEA Group. The brand has been reintroduced to this country most recently by Auto-Sleepers. The two Trigano brands worked together on producing the low-profile Fusion range, which is designed as a kind of entry level range for those who might consider moving on to Auto-Sleepers at a later stage in life. Six models are currently included, most recently the 330 with a UK-friendly rear lounge. www.mclouisfusion.co.uk
Italian brand Mobilvetta was developed out of a company that specialised in making boats, and you can see the heritage in the nautically-inspired designs of its motorhomes. Like Benimar, it is currently distributed exclusively in the UK by Marquis Leisure, only Marquis imports just two of the seven ranges Mobilvetta rolls out back in Italy: K.Yacht Tekno Line A-classes, and the low-profile Kea P range. Mobilvetta was another of the brands Trigano acquired when it took over SEA Group in 2012. www.marquisleisure.co.uk
Italian brand Roller-Team is distributed in the UK by its Trigano stablemate Auto-Trail. Unlike its Italian Trigano-owned stablemates, it offers a full range of vehicles in this country, including a wide selection of low-profiles and Pegaso A-classes that unusually have doors on the right side for UK drivers. Its van conversions are produced by Auto-Trail and badged up separately. The focus is mainly on family vans that offer good value: Pegasos are some of the cheapest A-classes on the market. www.rollerteammotorhomes.co.uk
One of Trigano’s more recent additions (it was only acquired in 2015), Italian brand Rimor was founded in 1978. Currently it is only sold through one dealer in this country, but still has a strong reputation for providing multiple-berth low-profiles and overcabs at reasonable prices. The established Fiat-based Seal and Super Brig ranges have more recently been joined by the Ford-based Evo range. www.motorhomesltd.com
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The company floated on the stock market in 1998, and since then has been on an aggressive acquisition trail, particularly in the motorhome sector