Andy Jenkinson

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Marvellous motorhome shows old and new kick-start the 2016 season, reports Andy Jenkinson, with a wide range of 'vans and accessories on display

If you thought this month's Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC Birmingham was the first show of the year for motorcaravanners, think again! And if you find the scale of the NEC extravaganza too much, perhaps these more bite-sized shows would appeal.

A first-timer in Liverpool  

Camperex, which ran from 8-10 January, is a brand new indoor show held in Liverpool’s newly built exhibition centre near Liverpool One. Any new venue getting off the ground takes time so visitor numbers perhaps weren’t as strong as the organisers would have liked, but talking to several exhibitors, sales had taken place and strong interest was also reported. The show included caravans and motorhomes with the latter being the predominant leisure vehicle. No new models were launched, but a good display of ’vans included some well-known names. 

Most displays represented dealerships, although some manufacturers – such as Leisuredrive, I H Motorhomes, Wellhouse Leisure and Jöbl – were present on their own stands. Dealers showcased Hobby, Rimor, Auto-Trail, Elddis, Trigano and Lunar motorhomes. German brand Hobby had the largest stand with a display comprising panel van conversions and coachbuilt motorhomes. Long-established Leisuredrive had the top-selling Vivante, while I H Motorhomes had three models from its 600 and 630 ranges, with one being sold on the second day. 

Although only taking up one hall, the Camperex show did have a mixed display of motorhomes and the choice for visitors was good, considering the size of the venue. There was plenty of space between exhibitors’ stands and amongst the motorhomes were accessories, including Slide Pods for extending conversions on the VW T5/T6 and Ford Transit Custom. 

Awnings were also widely available, as well as from the Glossop stand, plus items including reversing camera kits and motorhome satellite navigation systems. 

The Camperex show may not have had a big list of motorhome manufacturers, but those who did visit the show at least had a good enough choice considering the size of the event. Several exhibitors told us they would be back next year – and revealed that the show’s display area will be expanded.

Camperex South West will also be at The Bath & West Showground this April.

Drawing in the crowds in Manchester 

At least 35 miles away, along the Manchester Ship Canal, Manchester’s Caravan & Motorhome Show is now in its 30th year, and has seen motorhome sales rise from just a few units displayed in 1986 to a market where motorhomes have now captured a massive slice of the show’s floor space. This year’s event, held between 21 and 24 January, was no exception, with Manchester putting on a good spread from all the major manufacturers. Hymer’s star turn was the ML-T 580 4x4, which launched at October’s NEC show, and was getting a good audience in Manchester. 

Most of the major dealerships in the north of England were present, with motorhomes from Bürstner, Hymer, Swift, Bailey, Elddis and Auto-Trail. For the first time at the show were several new exhibitors showing a selection of models from their portfolios. These included Carado, Carthago, Coachbuilt GB, Globecar, Morelo, Rimor, Weinsberg and Jöbl. 

Several dealer specials based on Elddis and Swift motorhomes were also on display. Dealers such as Lowdham Leisureworld, Spinney, Vehicles 4 Leisure and Preston Motorhomes had dealer specials on large stands, offering potential buyers a good choice of layouts and model specifications. 

Motorhome sales were reported to be good across most ranges, with Elddis and Swift having very little left to sell for the 2016 model year. Many dealers told of strong demand, with product availability likely to be an issue for popular models. 

Despite no new model launches taking place, the show still had a feelgood factor and visitors couldn’t go wrong with such a choice from the main UK manufacturers and importers. For those wanting accessories, the show continued to provide a good selection, from motorhome awnings to electric bikes – a useful accessory for motorcaravanners. All in all, the Caravan & Motorhome Show at EventCity provided potential buyers with a great shop window of what’s on offer for the 2016 season. 

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