The manufacturing industry in the UK has been much talked about in the press lately; many critics and economists uphold manufacturing as the UK’s way to economic recovery, while others believe that better trade links with Europe and elsewhere in the world is the best thing for economic growth. For the motorhome industry, UK brands and manufacturers have always had tough competition from Europe, but since the financial crisis it’s been even harder to keep UK manufacturing going.
Richard Holdsworth founder of the former Holdsworth motorhomes, was quoted yesterday in the Caravan Times saying that Britain is really going to have to “take the fight” to European motorhome manufacturers and keep the home-grown industry strong. One of the major difficulties for the British firms at the moment is attracting British buyers while European offerings are considered to be better value and better quality. The subsidiary market for products like motorhome insurance in the UK is also largely dependent on strong competition between the two markets.
On top of this, Britain is struggling to create an export market for their motorhomes while French, Germany and Italian firms all have good access to markets outside of their own regions. This means that even if demand starts faltering in one area, as we’ve seen here in the UK, there’s always a back-up plan with a group of consumers who may pick up that slack elsewhere.
Both of these problems really boil down to cash; without large reserves and big balance sheets – something that small, home-grown motorhome manufacturers struggle to put together – expansion isn’t easy. The upfront cost of developing and marketing new models to be sold on the continent is extortionate, and even if the move would ultimately be profitable lots of motorhome owners just aren’t able to access that funding.
Though things are tough for UK manufacturers at the moment, things look hopeful in terms of development, and it should be the case that we’re coming out of recession very soon. A solution to the Eurozone crisis is still some way off but once employment figures start looking a little better, demand for luxury products like motorhomes should start picking up and hopefully British firms as well as European firms will be able to remain competitive into the long-term future.