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What’s new in Europe


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    The world’s biggest caravan show, the Caravan Salon held in Düsseldorf last month, certainly lived up to its reputation for showcasing the latest in caravan design and technology.

    The annual show is now in its 56th year, and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year, visitors could stroll through 13 halls packed with the biggest ranges available for mobile holiday-making. And then there was still the massive outdoor exhibition area.

    The fair showcases models and designs from over 130 caravan and motorhome brands, as well as 600 exhibitions of accessories, technical equipment, fittings, awnings, campsites and travel destinations.

    If you wanted to see all of the 2 100 vehicles on show, you’d have to cover 214 000 square metres.

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    As usual, the innovations drew the biggest crowds. The dominating trend looked to be “comfort” and “connectivity”, with progressive networking making it possible to have digital fi ll-level indicators for water tanks and such, as well as to have the ability to control the heating, air-conditioning and hot water supply centrally – even by smart phone.

    Of course, there was also hall after hall of dazzling motorhomes such as Volkswagen’s iconic Kombi, as well as of tents, caravans and accessories.

    Daniel Onggowinarso, CEO of the Caravaning Industrie Verband e.V. (CIVD), said: “Van conversions and partially-integrated motorhomes are particularly popular as entry-level models because they are also good for everyday use.”

    He added that, as more and more people choose to holiday in a leisure vehicle, optimal comfort and an uncomplicated holiday experience are paramount.

    “Today’s leisure vehicles are outfitted with extremely helpful electronic amenities such as rear-view cameras and caravan manoeuvring systems, which save a great deal of physical effort and can be operated via remote control. Customers are looking for leisure vehicles that feature better than ever and highquality equipment, and are ready and willing to pay more for greater comfort and safety.”

    SMARTPHONES

    Imagine arriving at a campsite and setting up camp using virtually nothing more than a smartphone and your thumb!

    After unhitching, you can position your caravan via a mover onto the stand you have chosen, can then also put down the corner steadies, raise the roof (if it’s a pop-top), unwind the side awning, dim the windows, dim or brighten the interior lights, and set the temperature – all while meeting your new neighbours.

    WINDOWS

    Dim the windows? That’s right, windows that turn from clear to blackout with a whole range of shading in between − all at the touch of a button! No curtaindrawing, or gaps to try and seal off!

    Knaus Caravans showcased two of these dimmable panoramic windows on their stand. This new trend was also on show by Lippert Components, one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of caravanning components.

    These windows can be controlled directly through a centralised control panel, or automatically with integrated light sensors, to turn dark for total privacy when the power is turned off.

    The dimmable workings are integrated into the glazing and allow the glass to tune the tint of the window from clear to dark, in order to regulate daylight, glare, and heat entering in, while preserving the view. These also enhance visual, thermal and acoustic interior comfort for a greater wellness atmosphere, say Vision Systems, the manufacturers.

    Lastly, they are suitable for large flat or curved surfaces, glass or thermoplastic, with different zones to be dimmed independently.

    RAISE THE ROOF

    For pop-top caravan and trailer manufacturers, Lippert are now supplying the mechanism to motorise the rooflifting mechanism!

    Yes, please − what a pleasure it would be to lift the roof at the touch of a button!

    BOLD DESIGNS

    This year, the Caravan Salon again proves caravanning and camping to be alive and vibrant in Europe, with products that are colourful, stylish, imaginative and very, very desirable!

    Boring, plain white exteriors are out. The variety on the international market is mind-boggling.

    Living spaces are also more comfortable, thanks to modern materials and comprehensive features.

    MASSIVE PRODUCT RANGE

    At the fair, there is something to show off every conceivable means of going camping − from inflating ground tents to colourful rooftop tents; from small Volkswagen Caddy campers to massive bus-chassis motorhomes with built-in garages for sports cars; and from small teardrop-style camping trailers to the most beautiful, jaw-dropping, luxurious caravans. Even the portable toilet has seen a makeover that is modern and stylish with rounded edges.

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    If you are into this lifestyle, there is one thing that you have to do and that is to visit Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf next year in August/September. You will need to set aside a week if you plan to see all the halls and enjoy the night life of the old parts of Düsseldorf.

    As a footnote: In the first seven months of this year, 48 384 leisure vehicles were newly registered in Germany, a strong increase of 13,7 percent, and the best result of all times for this period of the year. Some 200 000 people attended the show this year!

    – Godfrey Castle

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