Slide-out walls-equipped caravans and motorhomes are increasingly present in the 35 quintals campers and vans sector. Here our analysis of the European market.
Words Michel Vuillermoz
They are barely seen on the Old Continent roads, but in all likelihood this condition is going to dramatically change in a very near future: they are the vehicles with extensible or, better, slide-out walls. For decades absolute protagonists of the vast majority of the made in USA creations before, and made in Australia then, this type of product has always struggled to carve its own niche in the Old Continent, having to come to terms with more limited parking spaces and, above all, with the actual limit often represented by an overall mass kept below 3500 kg in accordance with the requirements of the road code concerning vehicles that can be driven with the normal license B. Overcabs, motorhome and low profiles following the evolution of the basic vehicles, grew significantly in size, thus redefining the home concepts with increasingly large and comfortable cockpits. In fact, if at the beginning of the Nineties a vehicle considered to be of normal size was characterized by about 6 meters length, today the same length is associated with the word “compact”, while “normal” exceeds the seven meters limit to reach even eight. A growing trend that curiously went hand in hand with the beds number and sleeping capacity reduction, which entails cabins increasingly designed to meet the needs of the couples (primarily) or, at most, of the classic three/four members family. Saying goodbye to the classical dinette, increasingly replaced by solutions integrated with the driver’s cab, manufacturers were able to deliver the necessary space to achieve real rear bedrooms, combining them with large garage compartments, toilet with shower and large kitchens. That means “less living, more services, more bedrooms, more garage”, which is well matched with average large cockpits intended to offer the maximum comfort only to two persons. Can we do more? Yes, we can. Technologies allow us to do so. Actually, they have always been used across the ocean as well as here in Europe. In the United States, a new-built vehicle with no extensible walls has been a rare thing for decades now; a solution involving any class of vehicles, from the mainstream to luxury.