YOU VOTED IN RECORD NUMBERS for the dealers and manufacturers who gave you excellent service, for our Practical Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Awards 2013. So how did you rate the manufacturers who sell motorhomes directly to the public?
Very highly, it turns out! Here’s our interview with the winner – followed by the overall results, so you know which companies your fellow readers rated the highest.
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Horizons Leisure, L to R: David, Maggie and John Pegg, Gary, Stephanie and Jack Cross
MEET THE WINNER: DIRECT SALES FROM MANUFACTURER OF NEW MOTORHOMES
We interviewed Dave Pegg of Horizons Leisure Vehicles Ltd
What sets your company apart?
Everything we do at Horizons is hand-made. If a customer wants something different, we try to accommodate it, and if two motorhomes went out looking the same, I’d be very surprised!
What’s your company history?
We set up in 1992 doing caravan servicing, but found it quite seasonal, so we went into motorhomes. We’re a family business and have grown bigger every year. We started in our garden and now have about 3000 square feet. There are six of us working here, including our apprentice who’s 17. We build about 20 motorhomes a year. Horizons has a good mix of customers, the majority of whom are over 55. However, we do have younger customers: we also build ‘race stations’, which are ’vans for motorbikers, with living space and lots of room in the garage.
What feedback do you get?
We have a great relationship with our customers; they come back to us because we can do the little alterations they want, and our ’vans will stand the test of time. We hold an open day for all our customers every year with a hog roast and a drink or two, and lots of customers have become friends. They send us Christmas cards, biscuits and holiday photos. One chap went to Cairo in his Horizons ’van and spotted another Horizons ’van in the desert! He sent us a photo of both ’vans side by side.
Describe your service to buyers
We take the time to find out what each customer wants. We then take a small deposit and order a ’van. When it is delivered, they pay for it, and it’s registered in their name. We do the work, and they pay the balance on collection. A build takes about 350 hours.
Any developments this year?
We’ve started building three models on Peugeot bases:
a medium-wheelbase Camaro, a long-wheelbase Ikon, and by Summer 2013 we’ll have an extra-long wheelbase version.
We treat our customers as we’d like to be treated, dealing with any problems straight away. We’ve done jobs free of charge on ’vans that are out of warranty, over six years old. I’d like to continue working until I retire, and see the family carry the business on.
Horizons Leisure Vehicles Ltd
Tel 01827 313 736
In second place was Vantage Motorohomes, last year’s winner.
Scot Naylor of Vantage Motorhomes collects his award from our Rob Ganley
THE BEST DEALERS FOR 2013
We turned your votes into a percentage score to show overall customer satisfaction. Here are the results for all dealers selling new motorhomes, starting with Direct Sales manufacturers.
Gold Award Winners: Direct Sales from manufacturer
Horizons Unlimited 99%
Shire Conversions 97%
Roy Wood Transits 81%
Silver Awards Winners (Franchised dealers)
Gold Award Winners: Franchised dealers
Richard Baldwin 95%
Heart of England 94%
Tyne Valley 86%
Don Amott Leisure Kingdom 84%
Webbs Motor Caravans 81%
Roll of honour
The following received exceptionally high scores but an insufficient number of responses: Cotswold, East Neuk, Geoff Cox, Hayes Leisure, P & P Cars & Campers, Peak Leisure, Pullingers, Simpsons
2011 Gold Award: Direct sales:
2011 Gold Award: Franchised dealers
Heart of England
2011 SILVER AWARD WINNERS (franchised dealers)
NEW MOTORHOME SUPPLYING DEALERS
How the results show the state of the market in 2013
Generally, purchasers of new motorhomes were fairly evenly spread over the UK with frequency matching population density. Interestingly, ‘Middle England’ (geographical location, not social class) has more residents buying new motorcaravans than any other area of the UK. Other interesting anomalies showed the North East to be very under-represented, and Scotland to be home to a bumper crop of new motorhomes.
Last time, we reported on a suggestion that those living in urban areas had been hit hardest by the recession and had decided to keep their current ’van for a year or two longer. Anecdotally, it appeared to be true, so throughout 2012 we’ve been asking dealers to comment on this.
Gentleman Jack has teased out that it is those of working age who have been hit hardest, rather than just those in urban areas. Those of working age have suffered loss of overtime, lower and later remuneration, reduced margins and in the worst cases, redundancy. At its simplest, it has meant that those who regularly buy a new ’van every three years are keeping their present one for four or five years then, when they do change, the replacement ’van is frequently from a less exclusive range.