LAST WEEK’S Manchester Central Caravan & Motorhome show saw a sharp increase in visitor numbers, up by a quarter year-on-year.


Organisers confirmed that 22,235 people visited the event, which took place between 20-23 January. Over 100 companies exhibited at the show, 40% more than in 2010.


Firm interest

But the increased footfall also brought firm interest in caravans and caravan accessories. Manufacturers and dealers at the show definitely had a spring in their step.

Lunar Caravans had much to celebrate. Sales were up 42% on last year for the Preston firm, being represented at the show by dealer Campbells Caravans. Ten models were showcased from the 2011 range, with the most popular being the four-berth Lexon 530 and six-berth Quasar 546.


Martin Henderson, Sales and Marketing Director for Lunar Caravans, said, “We are tremendously excited with the response from the Manchester show. It exceeded expectations on every level with a strong attendance and sales dramatically up on last year.”


Lunar wasn’t the only company pleased with its performance at the show. Bailey had an exciting four days, too, as its brand-new Pegasus II range was on display on the Campbells stand.


New Pegasus prices announced

Retail prices for the new range were also revealed: Genoa (two-berth) £15,395; Verona (four-berth) £16,335; Milan (four-berth) £16,335; Ancona (six-berth) £16,535; Bologna (four-berth twin-axle) £18,115.


Simon Howard, Bailey’s Marketing Director, said, “Results from the event were encouraging, with overall Bailey sales matching those of last year.


“The biggest plus for us was that the new Pegasus range, which was previewed to the public for the first time at this event, accounted for 80% of Bailey retail orders received.”


Following impressive sales figures at last  October’s NEC Show, Swift was out in force with the largest stand, which was used by a number of different dealers.


Encouraging start for Swift

Swift’s Commercial Director, Nick Page, commented, “The Manchester Show provided a very encouraging start to 2011. The number of people attending the show was well up on last year and provided a clear demonstration that people are still thinking about buying one of our products.


“With record sales in October, and with the threat of the VAT increase, we were concerned that this could have a significant impact on early season sales this year.


“With £1.5 million worth of touring caravan sales and £750,000 worth of motorhome sales, figures were very similar to last year, indicating that the market for this year will remain positive.”


Glossop Caravans was in charge of selling Coachman models, including their own dealer specials.


Strong demand for Coachman dealer specials

Jim Hibbs, Managing Director of Coachman Caravans, was pleased with their efforts: “Sales of the limited edition specials manufactured exclusively for Glossop – the Platinum Pastiche and the Amara Festival – were over 20% up on last year.


“Attendance levels for the four days of the Show were good and it was noticeable that there were a significant number of families thinking about buying a caravan for the first time so that they could holiday in the UK.


“Now we are rid of the snow blues, Coachman is predicting a pick up in retail sales back to the level of the 2010 season, which was a very good one for the whole industry.”


Xplore 304 generates interest

The 2010 season was certainly a good one for Elddis, whose new Xplore 302 shook up the lightweight tourer market and racked up impressive sales. Their new Xplore 304 was at Manchester and was generating further interest.


“Customers were out in force and the Glossop stand was very busy. Retail sales were extremely encouraging and were in-line with last year’s sales”, said Elddis Commercial Director Chris Whitham.


“Both our new models, the Aspire and Xplore 304, had terrific interest from customers and the sales that we had of these models were also very encouraging.”


NEC show coming up

Make sure you’re at February’s Boat and Caravan Show at the Birmingham NEC for all the latest models and accessories. The Practical Caravan team will be there as usual, dispensing advice and tips.


The show takes place from 22-27 February. For ticket information, click here.

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