7 February 2022
7 February 2022, Comments Comments Off on Düsseldorf – Caravan Salon 2021
Düsseldorf - Caravan Salon 2021

The German market is euphoric and the Caravan Salon played its usual and important role in facilitating business, networking and spreading the culture of open air tourism. A beautiful event with a revised but very effective layout, and an exhibition full of different types of models

Words editorial staff

The Aboutcamp BtoB team did not want to miss the 60th edition of the Caravan Salon Düsseldorf in 2021. A year that was as rich as ever in both exhibitors and visitors, where the heavy absence of the Hymer Group was partially filled by larger-than-usual exhibition stands and a new layout.
Last year, the Caravan Salon Düsseldorf decided to leave Hall 17, the one historically dedicated to the Hymer brand, empty. This year, it definitely changed its strategy and placed the Frankia-Pilote group in hall 17 which, we understand, will now be its position for the future.
In the adjacent hall (16), the space left empty by the Laika brand was occupied by Rapido and Malibu, who had expanded their space at the exhibition. The same thing happened in halls 10 and 11, where the Bürstner and Dethleffs brands historically exhibited. These now featured the brands from the Trigano group. The Knaus group is now firmly positioned in halls 1 and 4, while, as always, hall 9 is dedicated to the Hobby-Fendt group. Hall number 5 is the pavilion for the premium class, maxi motorhomes, while halls 15 and 12 are entirely dedicated to camper vans.
A highly appreciated novelty was the new layout of halls 13 and 14, which have become a real technical area. Tents, aftermarket accessories and camping equipment have been moved to Hall 3 in the Equipment & Outdoor and Travel & Nature area, to allow the big component manufacturers to have larger and better stands, with a more efficient and professional link between the two pavilions.
With 653 exhibitors from 31 countries in 13 exhibition halls and 185,000 visitors, this year’s Caravan Salon exceeded expectations. Furthermore, the percentage of visitors who registered for the first time was very high (41%).
Exhibitors reported excellent business, useful and promising contacts made with caravanning enthusiasts and professional visitors. We monitored halls 13 and 14 closely, and the opinions were not all enthusiastic. Certainly, there were no product and technical area managers from the Hymer Group present as they did not even participate in the fair as visitors. And there were no buyers from outside Europe, such as Australians, Americans, South Koreans, or the Chinese. Nonetheless, most of the exhibitors in the world of OEM components said they were satisfied, because they still had numerous and fruitful B2B meetings.

Opinions that matter
Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director Operative Trade Fair Business at Messe Düsseldorf, said: “The participation of 185,000 visitors clearly exceeded our expectations. With this unique combination of business platform and caravanning festival, Caravan Salon confirms its leading position in the industry. The mood at the fair and inside the pavilions was very good. We are also very happy to note that visitors have approved and complied with our anti Covid security protocol again”.

Hermann Pfaff - CIVD President

“For its 60th anniversary CARAVAN SALON presented itself in top shape underpinning its status as the leading trade fair of the industry. At no other place can such a wide range of products, so many innovations and novelties be seen as in Düsseldorf. The ranges presented to visitors were not only versatile, informative and entertaining but also attractively staged. Gratifying here is not only the high turnout in total but also the fact that more and more newbies as well as many young families have visited the trade fair. Caravanning is the No. 1 form of holiday trending in 2021 and beyond. Individual, self-sufficient and flexible travelling has been very much “en vogue” not least since the COVID pandemic if not before. This means many exhibitors are returning home with order books filled as well as rarely before – and this across all product categories and vehicle classes. In brief: CARAVAN SALON 2021 was a huge success for all parties involved – trade fair company, exhibitors and visitors”.

Holger Schulz - Hobby CEO

“We travelled to CARAVAN SALON in Düsseldorf with great anticipation. This year, we have brought along an especially large number of exciting innovations meeting with an overwhelming response with our customers. In the caravan segment our top-of-the-range model Hobby Maxia is a real customer magnet like the Excellent Edition that targets modern families. In the motorhome segment demand for campervans continues unabated while the partially integrated Optima De Luxe with a new design is also enjoying very positive feedback. Our BEACHY displayed on beach sand is definitely a highlight of the trade fair and is also going down very well with visitors. Both in terms of business and the extensive media coverage, CARAVAN SALON 2021 is a resounding success for us”.

Holger Siebert - CEO of Eura Mobil GmbH and Trigano Deutschland KG

“Despite the fact that production in all plants is running at full capacity until next summer, many customers were still able to order their dream vehicle. Positive to note is that customers are informed about the international supply chain disruptions and therefore have understanding for the currently long delivery times”.

Wolfgang Speck - CEO at Knaus Tabbert

“Caravanning has become mainstream and is one of THE forms of holiday-making right now. CARAVAN SALON has shown once again that this industry is booming – and that Knaus Tabbert is booming. The many enthusiastic customers and our sales figures confirm the performance of our whole team and show us that we have taken the right path as innovation drivers”.

Gerd Adamietzki - CSO at Knaus Tabbert

“Messe Düsseldorf’s well thought-out Hygiene and Safety Concept has also proven its worth again in this special year and enabled us to present our products – and we are delighted about this. After all, there’s nothing like direct contact with customers and their personal feedback, and they are extremely important to us. We can look back on great and very successful days at the trade fair”.

Bernd Wuschack - Manager Sales, Marketing and Customer Care at the Carthago Group

“We rate this year’s CARAVAN SALON as extremely positive. The response especially to our novel products, Carthago chic c-line New Generation and Malibu Van diversity, was outstanding. Not only was the turnout high but visitors were also very disciplined again. As a result the mood at our stands was very pleasant for the entire duration of the fair and marked primarily by high-quality conversations. This is definitely also a consequence of increased online research activities that were rounded off by the personal visit to the trade fair: doing thorough research up front to then form that all-important personal impression to make a purchasing decision at the fair – this is the clear trend we identified”.

Mike Reuer - CEO of Westfalia Mobil GmbH

“Even in times of filled order books CARAVAN SALON in Düsseldorf is one of the most relevant marketing instruments for us as manufacturers. This is why it is important to us to showcase and offer our campervans to the interested audience here. Our presence here is received very well and the consistently high visitor figures allow us to register further growing interest in our new and existing products as well as the Westfalia brand. Only when you can see, touch and experience things physically, can you really convince yourself of the merits and benefits of a product. This holds particularly true for vehicles premiered here. We and our dealers are highly satisfied with both attendance figures and the sales deals concluded at CARAVAN SALON”.

Timo Schwickart - Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing AL-KO Vehicle Technology Group

“We have positioned ourselves as a high-performance company that lives and breathes customer focus with forward-looking technology and service leadership buzzing with energy,” said Dr. Timo Schwickart, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing AL-KO Vehicle Technology Group, summarising the trade fair successes: “We are delighted with the many projects and orders as well as the avid interest taken in the chassis and accessory innovations of our brands AL-KO, E&P, SAWIKO as well as Nordelettronica and CBE. As we had hoped, our exhibition stand proved an attractive communication centre for our customers and the sector as a whole. I would like to particularly thank my whole team – on site and back at the homebase – for their huge efforts and their performance, and also Messe Düsseldorf, that made this accomplished re-start possible under the given conditions”.

Alexander Wottrich - CEO of Truma Group

“CARAVAN SALON 2021 also proved extremely satisfactory for us and has clearly demonstrated that the caravanning world will be even more digital, global and fast-moving. Also and especially in pandemic times people are longing for more independence, freedom, nature, and time to disconnect. At Truma’s exhibition stand in Hall 14 the camping community convinced itself of the Truma iNet X System solution, which was among the highlights of this year’s fair. The feedback was overwhelming because users understood the visionary approach of connected travelling from the outset. Correspondingly positive were the constructive talks with vehicle manufacturers who found particular praise for the interactive presentation of the Truma Sales Team. I am so proud of how the complete trade fair team familiarised visitors with our highlight, the Truma iNet X System”.

Michael Haus - CEO Doréma Vorzelte GmbH

“We are very satisfied and have to say that visitor structure stands out in particular. The audience is very high-quality and ever so well prepared – customers contact us with concrete intentions to buy and we have well-filled order books. Hall 3 was perfectly integrated and registered very good footfall for the entire duration of the trade fair. Accessories always pull crowds. This CARAVAN SALON was a resounding success for us across the board”.

Ute Dicks -General Manager of the German Hiking Association “Deutscher Wanderverband” (DWV)

“The joy felt in creating encounters again at the trade fair location Düsseldorf was enormous and it was important to us to support this. Congratulations, it has worked. Hiking and caravanning complement each other very well which is why the idea of Messe Düsseldorf to give this trend more exposure through a 10-day exhibition concept, was right. It allows us to share the versatile, hikeable destinations and ideas of the DWV with a new target group. With even more outdoor ranges CARAVAN SALON can develop into an optimal platform for the future and reach out to wide target groups”.

In a market like the German one, which is reaching very high peaks, there is room for everyone, and there was a really wide range of models of all different types exhibited at the Caravan Salon. But the campervan is undoubtedly the type most in the spotlight today: the public are looking for them and the manufacturers compete to propose the best solutions at the right price. Let’s look at what are the dominant trends and focus on the most representative new models

Words Renato Antonini

Campervan, campervan and campervan again: it seems that the interest from the market is only for this type of vehicle. But is this really so? At the Caravan Salon, we saw many campervans, with all companies seeming to have a range of them in their catalogue, some manufacturers even have two or three. And the sub-type of compact campervans is also growing, with a low roof that can be lifted when the vehicle is parked.
But, at the Düsseldorf fair, we also saw many other models of different styles - a sign that there is still public interest from the public and manufacturers for motorhomes, semi-integrated and overcabs, in addition to caravans, which on the German market still sell in important numbers.
Most create vehicles on a common platform and differentiate the models of the various brands by working on the front, on the external graphics and on the interior furnishings. But there is still room for unique vehicles, which perhaps the public will like and set trends. Or maybe not… But there have always been times in industrial production when it is necessary to take risks.

Challenger 240 and Chausson 660

As always, within the Trigano Group, the task of proposing the most disruptive models is entrusted to the French division Trigano VDL and its two twin brands Challenger and Chausson. This year, they took up a theme that has already been dealt with in the past by some brands, that of the two access doors to the passenger compartment. But they did it in an original way by combining it with a new storage solution. The rear garage is as high as the cabin and also serves as a pre-entrance, as it is equipped with a real door. The pre-entry door becomes useful in winter and when it rains, to create a filter area between the exterior and the actual passenger compartment. The rear storage/service area is next to the large kitchen (separated by a unique glass wall) and the bathroom with a rotating wall. The front area is also unusual, with the drop-down bed (longitudinal) and a large and convivial living room equipped with an L-shaped sofa and two modular seating stools, in addition to the side cabinet with retractable TV.

Knaus E.Power Drive

Knaus experimented with electric propulsion to probe the possible paths of the future: E.Power Drive is made in collaboration with HWA AG and is based on a normal Knaus Van Ti 650 MEG Vansation model, but does without the traditional diesel engine. This vehicle is powered by a 180 kW electric motor, combined with a 35 kWh battery installed under the floor, near the rear axle. The cruising speed is over 110 Km/h. The range (according to WLTP test) is 90 km and the charging time is three hours. But with the range extender the charging time is reduced to 35 minutes: the range extender is based on a compact and efficient Wankel rotary engine that drives a generator. On the dashboard of the Knaus E. Power Drive there are two large screens that display various information regarding vehicle operation, driving configuration and infotainment. However, we are in the presence of a vehicle that is not only experimental, but also transitional: for the future, Knaus technicians aim to provide energy via a hydrogen-powered fuel cell.

Rapido 854 F

Rapido also tried to work on the theme of a camper for a couple with a large rear living area and only two front travel seats (plus two additional seats that can be obtained from the living room). The 854F model has shorter dimensions than average for the current European standard (670 cm in length). It is characterized by the bathroom with a rotating wall, but above all by the rear lounge with a drop-down bed above it, in addition to the front one.

Compact campervans with pop-up roof

To expand their offerings at a time when demand is high in the market, some manufacturers have decided to enhance their presence in the campervan segment with compact models with a low roof (about 2 meters high) that can be raised when parked. It is a type of vehicle that has always existed, but which in recent years was no longer of great interest. Now the situation has changed, also because the valid but expensive base vehicles from Volkswagen and Mercedes have been joined by the Renault Trafic, popular on the French market, flanked by the Ford Transit Connect vans and the various models of the Citroen Spacetourer, Peugeot Traveler, Toyota Proace and Opel Vivaro / Zafira family. The Trigano Group had foreseen the growing interest in compact campervans with low pop-up roofs, and therefore presented new products in this particular market segment at the Caravan Salon. They are made on the same platform, are very similar to each other and use the Ford Transit Custom base vehicle: the Duncan models are included in the Karmann Mobil range, but to be even more aggressive in the market, Trigano has also created a new brand, Panama (here on the left).

Variable bathroom

The bathroom with rotating wall is one of the popular introductions of the 2022 season. It is not a new solution and has been used for several years: the rotating wall in the bathroom allows you to move the sink to allow you to create a waterproof shower box separate from the other elements of the bathroom. But now this solution is adopted by many manufacturers in order to save space on board: it not only appears on semi-integrated and motorhomes, but also on many campervans.

More and more campervans

The offer of classic campervans is increasing, with a standard roof and a height of around 260 cm. There are emerging brands and there are alternative mechanics. Just think of Yucon, Frankia’s campervan line, a young brand that intensifies its offer with models based on Fiat and others based on Mercedes. But, obviously, there are more and more campervans with pop-up roofs: by now almost all European manufacturers offer a range with this solution that the public has liked and which has helped the market be more dynamic.

Mechanical bases

On the European market, the base vehicles in the 3500 kg class are expanding: the aggregation of Fiat, Peugeot and Citroën under a single group, Stellantis, has modified some structures. In addition to the well-known Fiat Ducato and Ford Transit, there is the Mercedes Sprinter, but the Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Jumper are also advancing, while Knaus is expanding its offer on a MAN TGE basis.

Hobby Beachy

A novelty in the caravan segment is the Hobby Beachy. This is not a sophisticated model equipped with the latest technological advances, but a caravan with the bare essentials and minimal furniture: the wall cabinets do not have closing doors, the kitchen is not equipped with a hob and the bathroom is practically absent (a portable toilet placed in a compartment that also serves as a walk-in closet). Much of the passenger compartment is occupied by a large living room, with opposing sofas which can be converted into a bed for 2-3 people. But the sinuous external shapes are immediately popular and trendy, the weight is reduced to the advantage of ease of towing and keeping the price low.

Top-of-the-range Trigano Campervan

The Trigano Group intensified its presence in the campervan segment with three new ranges placed at the high-end segment of the market. They are made on the same platform but offered under three different brands: Mobilvetta Admiral, Autostar Van Design Edition and Eura Mobil V series. These are campervan based on Fiat Ducato (599 and 636 cm) and are characterized by good thermal insulation and interior furnishings with a good design and particular solutions. Noteworthy is the bathroom with rotating wall (to make the shower compartment) and the kitchen with sliding shelves and pull-out baskets.

Knaus Boxdrive MAN

The already extensive range of Knaus campervans expands with the introduction of the new Boxdrive 600 XL, which is characterized by the unusual MAN mechanics and the high fiberglass roof. The length of 598 cm is standard, but the height reaches 309 cm: it is used inside to create a sliding bed above the living area. A solution that was already present on the Boxstar XL (on Fiat Ducato) and which is now proposed on this new base vehicle.

Knaus: ePower caravans

Knaus launched special versions of some Sport and Südwind models: the ePower range, characterized by the absence of gas on board. Everything works with electricity: the refrigerator is a compressor (more efficient than the absorption one), the hob is induction and the air conditioning is entrusted to an electrical appliance that works for cooling and heating. All this saves about 50 kg of weight. The Knaus ePower are aimed at users (about 80% of the total) who use the caravan in periods with a milder climate, usually between the Easter holidays and the month of October.

Compact motorhomes and semi-integrated

The topic of compact semi-integrated motorhomes is certainly not new, and the major manufacturing groups have been working on it for many years now. But something has changed, there is a renewed commitment on this topic due to the fact that if the market pushes towards campervans, it is equally true that many potential customers could be attracted to vehicles as large as a campervan but with greater internal habitability and better insulation. If the campervan could have been considered an alternative to the semi-integrated in the past, now it is the compact semi-integrated that becomes an alternative to the campervan. Recently, we have seen a great commitment from Challenger (X150 and S series) and Chausson (X550 and S series), but also Rapido (C series) and Knaus (Van TI). And there are no shortage of examples of compact, narrow-width motorhomes, such as the new Itineo Nomad and the renewed Knaus Van I.

They weren’t there

For the second consecutive time, the Erwin Hymer Group was not present at the Caravan Salon. The public and the experts were therefore unable to see the most interesting news of the many brands that belong to the German group (controlled, in turn, by the USA’s Thor group). Among the most impactful models, we want to note the Bürstner Lyseo Gallery concept which was presented in July: it is a mix between a semi-integrated and an overcab with a dome above the cabin that rises to form an attic housing a comfortable double bed. Laika, on the other hand, premiered the new Kreos in Dusseldorf at an off-show event. This semi-integrated model shows the state of the art of design and luxury from the Italian house: excellent construction technique (25 cm double floor, 40 mm aluminum/XPS/aluminum walls) and excellent interior design.

Refined design for furnishings

Some manufacturers proposed truly excellent design solutions for their interior furnishings. They completely abandoned classic styles and turned to a refined design made up of a few elements all of remarkable quality. It was a sort of very elegant minimalism, where, for example, you can notice the absence of handles for opening the roof lockers. For example, two manufacturers who have worked in this direction by offering excellent examples both in the motorhome and caravan segments were Adria (Sonic motorhome and Alpina caravan) and Hobby (semi-integrated Optima De Luxe and Maxia caravan).