The largest caravan show “down under
“With more than 400 exhibitors and about 1200 caravans and RVs on display, the Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow is the largest event of this type in Australia.
Words and photo Antonio Mazzucchelli
We enjoyed a visit to the 65th Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, organised by the Caravan Industry Victoria, at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds from 20 to 25 February. Let’s just say that this event is completely different from any other caravan or RV show we’ve attended. The Melbourne Showgrounds are an immense exhibition space of about 60,000m² and this event occupies almost all of them. There are stands on the lawns, under the trees, in the arena, in the heritage-listed brick pavilion, and in the metal pavilions. A new feature was the ‘AL-KO Innovation Hub’ that showcased cutting edge recreational vehicle technology. The show featured a huge range of products to suit the outdoor lifestyle, including caravans, motorhome, tents, camper trailers, 4×4 off road and camping products, accessories and much more. It was particularly rich with products, events and activities for everyone, from the young people who camp with friends on weekends, families who take short breaks and the senior adventurers who spend their time on the road in their caravan making memories. In particular, we noticed a lot of off-road caravans, often double-axle, reinforced, with an aggressive look, dedicated to an audience that loves adventure. There were also some European brands such as Knaus, Adria and Bailey, which have commercial partnerships in Australia with important players in the sector. Truma, which has an agreement with the distributor Leisure-Tec, is the main sponsor of the show and will be for the next three years. Other sponsors include AL-KO, Dometic, G+S Chassis (purchased last year by AL-KO) and Matthews Steer. We attended the opening of the show where we met Rob Lucas, Chief Executive of the Caravan Industry Victoria. “We are really excited for this year’s Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, as not only are we celebrating 65 years, but we rolled out new branding and many new improvements to make the event easier for visitors to navigate and more engaging for them”, said Rob Lucas. “This event showcased more caravans, pop-tops, tents, camping trailers, motorhomes, campervans, 5th wheelers and touring accessories than ever. In addition to all the products and services, the Supershow had plenty of interactive demonstrations, free entertainment, industry experts located at the camp ground and information on tourism destinations to help plan more outdoor adventures,” said Rob Lucas. We were also pleased to meet Stuart Lamont, Chief Executive Officer of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. He told us a wealth of details about the market and the Australian RV industry, which you can read in our interview with him in this issue. We were particularly struck by his statement that there are a saturated number of manufacturers in Australia supplying unsustainable volumes of new product into the market. There are 160 RV producers in Australia, and walking around for the show, we saw many companies with only one or two products. This is a bit too much for a market of 23,000 units a year, of which about 50 percent are sold by Jayco, and another large share divided between three or four larger companies.
Jayco’s new 2019 range features first production RV with smart technology
Jayco built its first camper trailer in 1975 establishing a reputation for offering competitive quality and pricing. It was this combination that set Jayco apart and has underpinned its growth to become the leading player in the Australian RV market. But it hasn’t always been easy. Still early in its development, Jayco had to survive the economic downturn of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike many competitors, it did so through sound business management and a timely expansion of an innovative product range and nationwide dealer network. Since its humble beginnings, Jayco has built over 200,000 RVs for Australian’s to enjoy. Today Jayco has the 47% of the Australian RV market producing caravan (80%) and motorhome (20%).
Jayco’s 2019 range and two of Jayco’s premium products (Jayco Silverline and Jayco Optimum) come complete with a collection of technology referred to as RVConnect which includes a personal assistant – Amazon Alexa – a world-first smart technology in a production RV. These two premium ranges also showcase another new tech feature for Jayco’s RVConnect platform, the Wi-Fi extender. This system captures Wi-Fi signals within a significantly increased range and provides maximum security and mobile internet speed with 4G capability.
Additional NEW technology highlights for Jayco’s 2019 ranges include a 12V electric awning operated by a phone app which is available in Jayco Silverline and Jayco Optimum ranges, and all 2019 models will be fitted with the exclusive JHub phone app technology by BMPRO. “The JHub power management system has been a popular feature in a number of Jayco’s caravans and this year’s innovation is the introduction of new phone app technology to give Jayco owners a new degree of freedom” – Jayco Australia CEO, Garry Moore – “This means they will be able to monitor water usage and see the battery’s estimated time to discharge, all from their smartphone when within Bluetooth range”.
For over 20 years, Avan has revolutionised the RV industry, Along the way many thousands of holiday makers, travellers and adventure seekers have happily experienced new heights in style, comfort and value. Avan Caravans & Campers continues to set new benchmarks in RV design and innovation. Avan built approx. 25,000 RV and remains remains one of Australia’s ‘top 3’ RV manufacturers. A major expansion phase came in late 2012 after acquiring the camper and caravan manufacturer Golf and adding the brand Knaus to the portfolio.
Established in 1985, Apollo Tourism & Leisure Ltd employs a build/buy, rent and sell model to conduct business. While Apollo’s RV rental operations remain the cornerstone of its business, equal importance is placed on its production, import and RV sales operations. In the rental market, Apollo hires out RVs under multiple brands in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Apollo is also a shareholder in peer-topeerRV operator Camplify, which connects private RV owners with holidaymakers. Apollo produces vehicles for its rental operations in Australia and New Zealand through its manufacturing division TALVOR. The Australian facilities opened in Brisbane in 2005 and New Zealand followed in 2010 with a factory in Auckland. In 2014 Apollo became the exclusive importer and distributor of Adria Mobil, a leading European caravan manufacturer. Apollo also secured a landmark licencing agreement with Winnebago Industries to operate the world-renowned brand in Australia.