Despite the significant consolidation the motorhome industry has seen in recent years, there are still quite a few single operators out there, even among coachbuilt manufacturers – and you might be thrilled to discover a couple of famous British names among them. Here is our list of solo operator motorhome brands available in the UK.
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Famous for making touring caravans, Bristol-based Bailey surprised the market by moving into motorhomes in 2011, just as most other brands were still reeling from the effects of the 2008 financial crash. The company initially ran two separate low-profile ranges, both based on the Peugeot Boxer and often with very UK-friendly layouts. These two ranges, now known as the Alliance Silver Edition and Autograph, were joined last year by the Adamo, a three-model low-profile range with a much more Continental feel. It’s partly designed to tempt those loyal customers who might be thinking of looking overseas for their next model. www.baileyofbristol.co.uk
CARTHAGO (including Malibu)
Best known for its very upmarket A-classes and liners, Carthago is one of the few German brands that is still privately owned. It actually started life in 1979 as a VW converter – a base vehicle it only dropped in 2001. It also grew relatively slowly: by 1982 it still only had three employees. Things are much changed now with the opening of the new state of the art Carthago City factory and visitor centre at Aulendorf in 2012 (which is currently being expanded) and the opening of a second production facility in Slovenia around the same time. Its budget Malibu brand initially started off just with van conversions but has since expanded to include low-profiles and A-classes. www.carthago.com
Concorde is now known as a niche supplier of ultra high end A-classes and liners, costing well into six figures. Its latest models are over 10m long and sit on a Mercedes Atego chassis. The German company started off in 1981 making folding caravans, however, and didn’t actually move into A-classes until 1997. It currently only has one UK dealer. www.concorde.eu
Hobby is the largest caravan manufacturer in the world, with six different ranges. Its motorhome offering is more limited – it doesn’t, for example, produce any A-classes, preferring to stick with van conversions, low-profiles and overcabs. Many of these are strongly geared towards families. Located in the far north of Germany, some distance from most other brands that are now in the Rhineland and south of the country, the company has a distinctly separate dealer network in the UK too. Many of its dealers only stock Hobby. www.hobby-caravans.co.uk
Touring caravan giant Swift, founded in 1964, moved into motorhome production in 1985 with the Kon-tiki, a model which, in updated form, it still sells today. Within a decade it had become the UK’s largest motorhome manufacturer, moving into van conversions in 1994 and having a brief flirtation with A-classes with its Bel Air model around the turn of the century. Having acquired Bessacarr in 1998, it also acquired Autocruise in 2007 when that company ran into trouble. Although Autocruise’s Mexborough factory then became the focus for van conversions, it has since closed down. Today Swift offers seven motorhome ranges, all based on Fiat Ducatos except for the top of the range Kon-tiki Dynamic, which runs on an Iveco Daily. All are made in Hull. www.swiftgroup.co.uk
Italian brand Wingamm, just about the only Italian brand that isn’t owned by a conglomerate, is famous for its monocoque designs. Such a design is less likely to leak, and more likely to retain heat and keep out extraneous noise. The brand’s availability in the UK was threatened a couple of years ago when its then UK agent went into administration. But since the start of this year it has a new Scottish based dealer and distributor which is looking to expand its network. https://www.wingamm.com/en/uk
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There are still quite a few single operators out there, even among coachbuilt manufacturers - and you might be thrilled to discover a couple of famous British names among them