A personal recommendation goes a long way when deciding which caravan to buy.
How much better would it be if you had more than 2000 friends happy to give you the low down on their tourer – and the service they had received from the dealer?
In effect, that’s what our annual Owner Satisfaction Awards represent – the collected wisdom of hundreds of caravanners, all looking to share the warts-and-all experience of living with their caravan.
Run in partnership with The Camping and Caravanning Club, we ask you, the readers of Practical Caravan, together with the Club’s members to tell us about your vans and the dealers you bought them from, giving us an honest view of the new and used caravans for sale in the UK today, to help you buy better.
We’re going to dig into 2018’s results. But what if you don’t agree and you want to have your say?
Voting for our 2019 awards is open now! Just click here – and you’ll be entered into our amazing prize draw.
2018’s best new caravans for sale
As we’ve already revealed, you voted Slovenian brand Adria to the top spot in our new vans category, with a satisfaction rating of 89.2%.
In fact, all three of this year’s Gold Award winners in the new caravans for sale category were non-British brands, second place going to Eriba (88.8%) and third to Knaus (88.2%).
However, our survey also showed that respondents purchasing new tourers prefer to buy British, 27.9% choosing Swift Group vans, 22.7% going for Bailey caravans and 20.5% opting for a Lunar or Venus (see the chart in the gallery at the top for more).
And it was these British brands and more that starred in the Silver Awards, top being Coachman (80.5%), then last year’s winner Sprite (78.6%), Bailey (75.8%), Swift (74.2%), Compass (73.2%), Lunar (72.8%) and Elddis (70.4%).
Our top dealers of new caravans
Over in the dealers section, you voted Blackmore Vale Leisure as your number one supplying dealer of new caravans, the company, located just west of Shaftesbury, earning itself an impressive satisfaction rating of 97.2%.
Two other dealers of new vans also scooped Gold Awards. Sussex Caravan Centre (91.5%) has turned 2017’s Silver into a Gold, plus Ropers Leisure (88.3%) just off the A1(M) near Catterick also secured one of our top prizes.
In addition, a grand total of 10 dealers won Silver Awards this year, Winchester Caravans topping the list thanks to a score of 84.6%.
Also taking Silver Awards were last year’s overall winner Salop Leisure (83.5%), Knowepark Caravans (81.8%) and Broad Lane Leisure (77.1%) – for the full list, check out our gallery above.
What about pre-owned vans?
Over in the used caravans section, again it was the Continental brands on top, Eriba taking top honours with 90.5%, with Adria second scoring 86.5%, Swift’s Sterling brand third (86.1%).
In fact, it was a second year on the trot that you rated Eriba your top manufacturer in the pre-owned tourers section.
It is clear that the growing number of Continental vans in the survey and their strong satisfaction scores shows the big-name homegrown brands can’t afford to be complacent.
And, as in the new caravans results, Coachman was the top-rated Silver Award winner in the used vans section, this time with a score of 84.9%, ahead of Bailey (83.0%), Swift (82.3%), Lunar (81.8%), Elddis (81.2%) and Sprite (77.8%).
Where to buy used caravans?
When it comes to companies with used caravans for sale, you rated Winchester Caravans your number one with a very strong score of 99.4%, evidence that the very best dealers are setting extremely high benchmarks.
The winner of the new caravan dealer category, Blackmore Vale Leisure, finished a close second with a score of 97.3% and, as with Winchester Caravans, every one of Blackmore’s customers would happily purchase another caravan from them.
Two other dealers impressed you enough to deserve Gold Awards in the used tourers category and they were Ropers Leisure (95.4%) and Salop Leisure (93.8%).
However, only one dealer earns a Silver Award: the Swindon Caravans Group (75.9%). For most dealers that would be a cause for celebration but Swindon Caravans won this section of the survey last year so it’s not the result the company would have hoped for.
Digging into the data
More respondents to this year’s Owner Satisfaction Survey bought new than used – 75.1% purchased new and 24.9% pre-owned. That’s a big shift towards new from 2017’s ratio of 59% to 41%.
Our survey suggests used caravans have fewer faults, perhaps because the previous owner fixed them.
Almost every brand in this year’s survey has more fault-free pre-owned tourers than new ones. And it is pleasing to see that most brands have a higher proportion of fault-free pre-owned caravans than was reported in our 2017 survey.
To delve even deeper into our results, scroll through the gallery at the top of this page or check out our March 2018 issue.
And remember to have your say in next year’s survey. Just click here to get started – it really does make a difference! And you’ll be entered into our brilliant prize draw.
Big-name homegrown brands can't afford to be complacent