I’m at the Manchester Caravan and Motorhome show (17-20 January 2013), and something has caught my eye among the shiny vehicles and their glossy brochures: it’s a simple half-page press release declaring Lunar’s intention to re-launch into the motorhome market.
‘Built to the high standards of quality and luxury one would expect from Lunar, the innovative new model is an exciting proposition for the motorhome market,’ says the release. ‘The brand new Lunar vehicle – the first of its kind – will be unveiled at 10.15am on Tuesday 19 February 2013 at the Spring Caravan and Camping Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Visit Lunar on Stand 1200.’
We understand that it’s to be considered a ‘day van’ – perhaps more of a leisure vehicle than a motorhome in the mould of their much-loved Roadstars of yesteryear. Lunar is keen to appeal to those downsizing, or who want their everyday runaround to double as a camper for day and overnight use.
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Lunar’s Roadstars are still highly sought motorhomes in the pre-owned market
Lunar has a strong heritage in building motorhomes. The company was founded in 1969 by Brian Talbot and Ken Wilcock, and started building motorhomes in significant numbers in 1996.
In 2001, it was bought out by Dutch-based venture capitalist organisation H2, which also owned Kip and Chateau, large Dutch and Belgian touring caravan manufacturers respectively. In its heyday of 2004, Lunar was producing well over 4000 caravans, and motorhomes well into the hundreds.
Lunar imported a number of motorhome brands built at the Lommel factory in Belgium, which came to the UK as Home-Car and Champ. There was also the Ford Pinnacle, another motorhome from that stable, and Lunar built up a network of dealers in the UK offering these brands.
But Tirus suffered heavily in the run up to the credit crunch, and Lunar returned to British ownership at the end of 2007, when Brian Mellor’s management team undertook a management buyout. Lunar stopped building motorhomes soon afterward.
Nonetheless, Lunar motorhomes still have a strong following, and their products are sought-after on the pre-owned market. For example, Lunar received a gold award in our 2011 Owner Satisfaction survey. At the time we said “Lunar’s management may wish to question their decision to stop motorhome construction and concentrate solely on touring caravans – once again, they received a Gold Award.’
However, we did qualify that: ‘This is quite range-specific though: respondents nearly all had Roadstars and most of those were longer ones. Previously associated (imported) Home-Car and Champ brands didn’t do nearly as well.’
Lunar achieved the same Gold Award in our most recent 2013 Owner Satisfaction survey too. And there are still plenty of Lunar coachbuilt motorhomes for sale, including 16 on our ‘for sale’ site alone!
We look forward to seeing the new Lunar motorhome in the flesh, and will report on it here and in our magazine. So watch this space!
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by Rob Ganley, editor in chief, Practical Motorhome magazine