SWIFT’S CHALLENGER 570SR is our Tourer of the Year for 2011. The stylish four-berth van wowed the market at its launch last September, and it has clearly impressed the judges of our annual awards.


“Only one caravan this year has genuinely pushed the boundaries of what a customer can expect when buying their next tourer,” said Nigel Donnelly, editor of Practical Caravan. “The Swift Challenger 570SR balances the stunning looks of the new Swift ranges with a sensible weight and levels of equipment that puts this cutting edge technology in the reach of many caravanners.”


Richard White of the Swift Group was delighted with the firm’s win. “This is a great recognition of the effort that’s been put into creating what we believe is a new range of touring caravans that will influence the design of tourers in Europe for years to come.


“Yesterday we achieved the highest first-day sales in the history of the company, selling nearly 40 per cent more than last year. This translated into £3.5 million of sales, of which three quarters were from our four new ranges.”


Elsewhere, Lunar of Preston won two gongs: the Lunar Quasar 556 was voted Best Caravan for Large Families, and the Lunar Delta TI got the prize for Best Seasonal Caravan.


“It’s a fantastic accolade to win in two out of four categories, for two recently developed models, and to be a shortlisted in the Best Caravan for Couples category with the brand new Clubman SB,” said Lunar Sales and Marketing Director, Martin Henderson.


“These awards emphasise Lunar’s progressive attitude to design and we’re extremely excited about the season ahead.”


Elddis won Best Caravan for Small Families for its Avante 554, which was developed after a company-wide challenge to design the best family layout.


“It’s very gratifying to win this prestigious award,” said Chris Whitham of Elddis. “Developing this van was a real team effort and the fact it’s been recognised is great for everyone at the company.”


Bailey’s Unicorn Valencia collected the Best Caravan for Couples trophy, bestowing industry recognition on one of the company’s most popular models.


“Thanks to Practical Caravan for this award,” said Simon Howard, Bailey’s Marketing Director. “The recognition for the Unicorn Valencia reflects the current market demand, and it’s easily the best seller in our portfolio. We designed the Unicorn range in response to customer, dealer and media feedback, addressing some perceived issues with other models, and we’ve developed the range accordingly.”


The awards were presented by Practical Caravan‘s editor, Nigel Donnelly, at the end of the first day of International Caravan & Motorhome 2011 with P&O Ferries.


Prizes were also awarded for Best Awning (won by the Bradcot Concept) as well as regional dealers of the Year. The overall Dealer of the Year prize was won by Catterick Caravans of North Yorkshire.


The show runs until 17 October at the NEC in Birmingham, and you can find Practical Caravan in Hall 19, Stand 46. You can read about the awards in full in the Awards issue of Practical Caravan, which is out today (13 October).