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Special report: Beeld Holiday Show

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By Francois Huysamen.

The Beeld Holiday Show is marketed as “the Annual National Launchpad for leading manufacturers of caravans and the camping industry”. Hosted at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, this year’s show saw people queuing for hours to take a peek at some of the latest products on the market… and, of course, to shop till they dropped with all the specials!

Of course, Caravan & Outdoor Life were also in attendance to ensure that we bring you the latest news from the industry. Here’s what caught our eye…

The new Jurgens CI Range:

Many of us have been waiting for months to get a good look at the new range of caravans from Jurgens Ci. All four of the models – Exclusive, Penta, Fleetline, Classique – were on display at the Beeld show.

Before I headed over to the display area, I was treated to a lovely media breakfast with Jurgens and Campworld, as well as a short presentation on the new units. One of Jurgens Ci’s new directors, Jurgen Adler, told the crowd that the new caravans are a result of the company realising that the industry had “become flat”, and that change and innovation was needed.

Jurgen says, ‘We [the new owner and directors]have essentially been at the factory for only a few weeks, and we are trying to make changes and trying to implement new ideas, new cultures, new ways of doing things… drive passion for the product.

‘We felt the industry was getting a bit flat, and to go forward we have to innovate, change, bring out more range, bring out more product; drive the sales. As you can see, there’s a new Jurgens range that we are very proud of. It’s in the European style. It’s very beautiful to me… it’s taken a while, trying to get it right, and to make it completely different.’

Next to speak was Clive Cox, the man who essentially built the new caravans. Clive talked the crowd through the finer details of the units. Our regular readers will already know all the specs of the new range, as Caravan & Outdoor Life covered these in our December 2016 and January 2017 editions. However, what Clive revealed was that they were working on adjusting the Fleetline to enable the bed to be in a day- or a night mode, to provide more space when it is not in use.

Some other changes he pointed out were the introduction of new plug points, the installation of USB ports, providing the touch-lights inside with dual settings, the new finishings, and the showers that are made from one-piece fibreglass tub.

On the outside, the design changes are well known, including the new “Euro” look, the addition of the high-level brake light, and the addition of a highpressure water inlet.

We’ve heard many comments about the outside kitchens, which do not have gas, but come with a Snappy Chef induction stove. If you were also wondering, the stove is removable, and can easily be taken out and used inside the van, or anywhere you can plug it in. I did find that putting the stove back was a little difficult, because of the tight fit of the protective rubber.

I spent a fair amount of time in and around the caravans, not only to inspect ins ide scoop The changes at Jurgens Ci are not just in owners, managers and in the factory – apparently, the new caravans are also going to see more changes. Interested caravanners will be happy to hear that Jurgens are looking into putting gas connections back. The interior of the bigger models is being looked at, in an attempt to increase the area around the bed. There are also rumours that Jurgens is reflecting on the old Gypsey and Wilko models. Will we see these popular caravans making a come-back? We hope so! I’ve also heard talk that Jurgens is contemplating a gravel-road caravan, and even a small teardrop! every nook and cranny, but also to keep an ear open for what the public had to say. It sounded to me as if half the show-goers loved the vans, and the other half hated them. Comments ranged between a dislike of the new European design and complaints about the price, to awe at the extra space and modern finishings.

What everybody loved, including me, were the bathrooms. Because of the square design of the back of the caravan, the bathrooms have loads of space – all the comfort you want, with a toilet, a full shower and cupboard space.

Inside Scoop:

The changes at Jurgens Ci are not just in owners, managers and in the factory – apparently, the new caravans are also going to see more changes. Interested caravanners will be happy to hear that Jurgens are looking into putting gas connections back.

The interior of the bigger models is being looked at, in an attempt to increase the area around the bed.

There are also rumours that Jurgens is reflecting on the old Gypsey and Wilk models. Will we see these popular caravans making a come-back? We hope so!

I’ve also heard talk that Jurgens is contemplating a gravel-road caravan, and even a small teardrop!


Jurgens CI Range Images


Sensation’s little brother:

Sensation’s new model was definitely a big sensation at the show.

The guys that have wowed us for years with the Maia, Vee and Anee, have now introduced a smaller pop-top unit. Everywhere I walked at the show, I heard visitors talking about this new concept.

One of the team members who worked on building the new caravan, Jaco du Toit, was all smiles when we spoke to him about his latest project.

What he said was, ‘This is our baby! We worked incredibly hard to get it ready for the show. Really, all the guys came together to make it happen. ‘We are very proud of it.’

When you take a closer look at the caravan, you find there’s one thing that stands out: the workmanship. Despite the deadline pressure under which this unit was built, the famous Sensation quality was clear to see.

The manufacturers made it clear that “…no inferior products were used… we did not skimp on this caravan”. The pop-up Sensation comes standard with a double Snappy Chef (fitted on slideout kitchen outside, to the right of the door), as well as an LED strip across the entire top outside.

Under the unit, Sensation has installed a self-levelling system on the axle. This centre-jack system is fully electronic, and is operated from switches in the nose cone. This allows you to level your caravan (left and right), before you put down your corner steadies.

I asked one of the Sensation guys at the show stand whether the electronic jacks could lift the wheels high enough to change the tyre… and the answer was ‘yes’. A pretty nifty addition for those who struggle to jack up a van manually.

Looking at the pop-up roof, what’s interesting is that it has six vents. The Sensation team explains that this is because the cupboards inside the caravan are mostly in the middle; so if you have a single vent, you struggle to zip the middle section. With the separate, smaller vents, opening and closing them is never a difficult task.

The dinette in the back seats four people comfortably, and the table (900mm x 900mm) can be removed to create another sleeping area.

Because the back of the caravan cannot be used for packing space, the nose has been made much deeper. At the show, the spare wheel was stored in the nose, but this will apparently be fitted under the caravan later. The jockey wheel is heavy-duty, and can be completely removed.

And lastly, what will this new caravan cost? It has a surprisingly low (for a Sensation) price-tag of R339 990.

Inside Scoop:

The Sensation pop-top concept caravan is heading back to the factory, where a couple of changes will be made. One of these changes is moving the inside cupboards a little forward to allow for a bigger fridge/freezer – the current 190L unit is being replaced by a 280L unit.

This will also increase packing space in the cupboards; a good move, as the current packing space is pretty limited on the inside.

The outside kitchen will be adjusted to include a washing up basin.


Sensation Images


Massive Motorhome-World:

The latest custom creation from Motorhome-World (MHW) was one of the biggest crowd-pullers at the show.

The sheer size, its unique “rusted” wrap, and a name like Halsema (one of the most dangerous roads in the world, situated in the Philippines), made this motorhome unmissable.

Built on the latest Iveco chassis, the massive van held the gathered crowds spellbound during demonstrations, as the entire body and roof was electronically lifted to create almost double the inside space.

The technology used in this motorhome is incredible, with everything being controlled from an iPad; from pressure readings, to lights and the aircon, it’s all topnotch.

Unfortunately, nobody at the show was allowed inside the unit… and with a pricetag of well over R2 million, you can understand why! But MHW managing director, Dennis Bauer, did wow the crowd by displaying the inside on a screen outside, with a presentation done on camera − showing off their excellent work.

To see Caravan & Outdoor Life’s exclusive look at the Halsema (before and after the show). Follow this link: http://www.caravansa.co.za/April-2017/motorhome-halsema-by-motorhome-world

Conqueror goes platinum:

Conqueror

The latest creation from Conqueror Off-Road Caravans entered the exhibition hall covered from top to bottom. Nobody got a glimpse of the caravan until it was unveiled on show day, appearing in a haze of smoke from below a red cover. (Check out our website and Facebook page for the video).

What stood before a dazzled crowd was the Conqueror Platinum Edition – built on the Companion model.

Sales and Marketing Manager Andre Coetzee told us, ‘We just thought, “Let’s see what a new colour does to the look”; there was a demand for it. We got a couple of branch owners together, and we decided to test something new in the market.

‘We came up with the concept of the charcoal and grey. We tested it out on the guys at the factory. We also got comment from the women and our own wives… the wives have a big say in what van you buy!

‘We saw a big demand in the market for insta-awns, which have now replaced the regular L-shape. But the caravan is available with either option.

‘The Platinum edition still has the shower and other standard features, but we equipped it a bit more with a TV, two 12V Scirocco fans, and LED tail lights.’

The optional extras for the Platinum Edition is a list as long as my arm, and includes antennas, speakers, spare wheel braai grid and cover, cutlery, fridge/ freezer, ground-sheets, off-road stabilisers, and more.

Howling Moon Lunar:

Howling Moon

Another innovation from Campworld is the Howling Moon Lunar hard-top tent.

With a sleek, aerodynamic design, and weighing only 60kg, this unit will definitely draw some attention. And the pricing, at around R25k, is not too bad.

I was given a hands-on demonstration of the opening and closing of the roof-top tent, and have to say that it couldn’t be easier to operate.

On the inside, there’s netted storage space on the roof, very useful for storing loose items; and they’ll be easily reachable, too.

A potential snag with the design is in the iron struts keeping the top part up. There are four big legs, one in each corner, and they are right next to your head. A wrong turn at night is going to leave you with a painful bump.

Abba Campers roof-top addition:

Abba Campers

Jos Joubert from Abba campers knows about building quality products. And he has now expanded his range with a hard-top rooftop tent.

With double gas strut arms on each side, the tent literally pops up in just seconds. A unique feature of the tent are the small “awnings” that can be extended on the corners, to provide some extra shade.

Inside the fibreglass shell, you’ll find a queen-size bed… ‘big enough for a young family,’ as Jos says. On the outside, the unit measures 2.1m x 1.6m.

The unit at the show is about 102kg, but Jos is already working on cutting some of the weight.

Inside Scoop:

Need some more space in your Land Rover? Jos from Abba Campers has a plan. His newly-designed fibreglass cabin-fitting provides additional storage space up front in the vehicle. Available in black or white, the unit is easily fitted to the inside of the cabin.

Jos is also working on more designs that will allow the incorporation of a radio system.

Mobi Lodge:

In the past couple of months, we’ve had a good look at the amazing Mobi Lodge. And the fact that the stand at the show was buzzing made it clear that these off-road caravans are becoming a firm favourite with South African campers.

We caught up with owner, Leon Ras, who told us that they have their eye not just on the local market, but are also looking at Arizona and North Carolina (USA). The factory is working hard to deliver more than one unit PER DAY!

There are also some new products in the pipeline for Mobi Lodge. Although Leon would not give us any details about what’s coming, he did say, ‘It is fantastic stuff… we have two world-beaters. Very, very, very exciting products. One is high volume, designed to allow us to go seriously high volume; the other is something that when [a caravan manufacturer in Italy]saw it, they flew me to Turin. There I had a one-onone with engineers and they asked me, “What do you need? We believe in this product.” This is the sort of stuff they’d only dreamt of.

“What we have coming is a groundbreaker. It’s a new era. In America they had the RV, the recreational vehicle. Then came the RUV, the recreational utility vehicle. But we are taking it one step further…”

Hoefer Group:

For months, you’ve been hearing about the new American caravans from Hoefer Group (produced in Swaziland) coming to South Africa. I arranged to meet Charles Hoefer at our stand at the show, to chat about what to expect, and when to expect it.

While Charles preferred to keep the details off the record (until his units are ready), he did give us some information about what they are doing with their caravan. And, let me tell you, it’s like nothing South Africa has ever seen. From the designs, to the products and parts used, these caravans sound as if they are in a league of their own. Charles says that the caravan he is building is designed according to what he and his wife enjoy when they go camping.

As far as looks go, he says that the body will not be white, cream or khaki outside, as is so prevalent in South Africa – it’ll apparently have more of an American look with silver/chrome finishings and metallic blue body.

Charles says that he is using only the best products on the market, from the chassis and axle, to the wheels and the fridge… which might justify the bigger caravan’s costing almost over R400 000.

Most of the models will have the option of being with or without a bathroom.

Echo 4×4:

DOUBLE CAB MOTORHOME FROM ECHO 4×4

Echo describes this RV as “the ultimate in off-road luxury… a house on four wheels”.

In the back is a double bed, and the full bathroom inside features a shower, toilet, wash basin and gas geyser system. A convenient addition to the RV is the access door from the cab to the camper.

The motorhome has two fuel tanks, totalling about 300L. There’s a big KVA generator built in, a 240L water tank, an aircon, an electric Dometic awning, and THREE fridges – one in front, one in the back kitchen, and a “hidden” unit below the bed.

ECHO’S TEC UPGRADE:

Echo 4×4 has boosted their top-of-therange Kavango model to Tec specs, which has distinct grey styling, redesigned taillights and wheel arches, and independent suspension. The Kavango Tec has all the features of the Xtreme, but the interior has been given a modern makeover.The outside kitchen also has some changes; the stove has moved next to the slideout fridge/freezer compartment, with the washing basin next to that. Also on show was the Chobe edition, launched at the end of last year.This versatile model is built on the Echo 6 chassis, and can be customised as either a two- or four-sleeper. The rear support legs are now removable, and the new 270+ awning reduces set-up time. The Chobe is also available in the Tec edition: grey, independent suspension.

Echo 4x4

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