Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

See other News articles filed in ‘Motorhome’ written by Peter Baber
   
The Rapido Group expands its empire with the acquisition of Yorkshire-based van converter WildAx Motorhomes, the French firm's first British takeover

Well-respected British van converter WildAx Motorhomes has been bought by the Rapido Group – the latest in a series of takeovers in the UK motorhome industry this year.

The West Yorkshire-based company is the French group’s first acquisition in Britain, which it describes as “an essential country in the universe of recreational vehicles”.

It already owns Westfalia in Germany and Fleurette in its home country. Alongside Rapido itself, it also manufactures the Dreamer and Itineo brands.

Rapido Group says the WildAx acquisition allows it to strengthen its presence in key European markets.

The WildAx story

Duncan Wildman founded WildAx 12 years ago.

He has seen it grow every year since then, to the point where it now produces 150 ’vans a year

Wildman told Practical Motorhome he had been hoping to move to larger premises from its current rather hemmed-in site in Elland, just south of Halifax, and had been planning changes to the company’s way of working.

He adds that he’s impressed by the “nice feel to the management team” at family-run Rapido.

“I was reassured by this that we would have a good working relationship and be able to work together to grow the company,” he said.

Maintaining brand values

Rapido’s directors, Pierre and Nicolas Rousseau, said: “We are very proud to work with Duncan who has a high customer value and product knowledge.

“This co-operation will certainly help to create a strong network and enhance customer satisfaction.”

Although Rapido does own Westfalia, Wildman said the group runs each of its divisions as completely separate operations, so there would be no “co-operation” between the two brands.

He explained: “We will be altering the way we build, not in the specifics of how the ’vans are built, but more in the processes and manpower usage.”

The acquisition comes just weeks after Lunar acquired Wellhouse Leisure, although it seems to have taken the industry much more by surprise.

Most recent motorhome reviews

HemBil Drift

£46,250OTR

Hembil Drift - The Drift, launched under CMC's new Hembil brand (© Practical Motorhome)

Caravaggio Lo

£48,888OTR

Caravaggio Lo - The Caravaggio Lo, is a dealer special edition of a highly regarded Volkswagen camper conversion (© Practical Motorhome)
Bailey Advance 76-2T - The four-berth Bailey Advance 76-2T felt snug and cosy even in stormy conditions (© Practical Motorhome)

Rapido 880F

£65,600OTR

Rapido 880F - For 2019, Rapido's 880F has been stretched to fit in even more style (© Practical Motorhome)
Fleurette Discover 65LMC - At just 6.59m long, the Discover 65LMC is the baby of the seven-strong range from Fleurette (© Practical Motorhome)
Benimar Mileo 283 - The Mileo 283, a smart, compact 3-berth motorhome from Spanish manufacturer Benimar (© Practical Motorhome)