Nick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.
It’s been a quiet week for both me and leisure vehicle news generally this week. That’s not to say there aren’t rumblings of big news on various horizons, however. The formal tie-up between Ford and Hymer is a major boost not just for both companies, but the whole leisure vehicle industry.
And I’m glad to see next month’s Camping, Caravan and Motorhome Show looks like it’s still going ahead, despite its most significant exhibitor, the Swift Group, pulling out. Indeed, the leisure vehicle show sector seems to be emerging from a prolonged period of hibernation.
In the news
Hymer goes Ford
Hymer, which vies with the Trigano Group for the position of Europe’s largest leisure vehicle manufacturer, has announced a formal tie-up with Ford. Called a strategic partnership, it will see the Erwin Hymer Group, which also includes the likes of Bürstner, Carado, Etrusco, Dethleffs and Laika; not forgetting Elddis, of course, building motorhomes and van conversions using Ford’s Transit and Transit Custom models.
Hymer already has a similar arrangement with Mercedes, dating back to 1971.
It’s good to see Ford coming to the fore in the motorhome sector. Along with Europe’s two mega-conglomerates, UK companies such as Auto-Sleeper and Swift have announced Transit-based campers for this season, while independent manufacturers Autohaus and Wellhouse Leisure have long dealt with Ford, to the point of having Qualified Vehicle Modifier status.
Add in the Westfalia-built Nugget that Ford sells itself here across Europe and the UK and Ford is back on the map.
Simon says.. it’s a total surprise
How’s this for a small company that makes big waves? North Berwick-based Jerba’s founder and current managing director has just picked up a Director of the Year Award for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s run by the Institute of Directors in Scotland. He also scooped the Top Director prize for the Edinburgh and Lothians region.
Jerba is different to all other campervan manufacturers I know in the UK, because it’s employee-owned. And I say current because Simon is about to take up the role of company chairman, leaving a position vacant for a new managing director. Think you’ve got what it takes? Get applying.
Adria Alpina Colorado – reaching the style heights
Like beauty, style is in the eye of the beholder. And I fully accept the extrovert nature of this 2.46m wide flagship Adria won’t appeal to those of a more conservative outlook, even if you do have a vehicle hefty enough to tow its 2,000kg maximum weight.
Those factors considered; it will be the twin single beds floorplan that will be the main reason to purchase. That still leaves plenty of space for a full-width end washroom and a more than generous kitchen, all in the most contemporary styling.
If there’s any compromise, it’s the front lounge, where the settees aren’t quite long enough for single beds. Instead, they make a transverse double, should it be required.
Three good: Great style, practicality and quality blend; super-spacious, and a generous end washroom
Two bad: £40,000? Phew! And slightly short lounge
Perfect for… Swanky families
Also consider: Coachman VIP 565 and Swift Elegance 565
Getting a bit more sustainable
There’s a plethora of kit out there to help you with the leisure vehicle lifestyle. It’s even better when it can boast environmentally-friendly credentials, like this week’s trio.
You want the right footwear at this time of the year, right. Timberland’s latest walking boots include the £125 Premium 6 Inch Luxe for men and £135 women’s Euro Hiker. The former using leather produced using regenerative practices (giving the land a chance), the latter with a Better Leather upper. Again, this is from a sustainable source, this time a tannery rated silver for its environmental-friendliness. Just don’t wear them when you’re driving.
Next, the Got Bag company is claiming it has the world’s first rucksacks made from ocean plastic it’s gathered up itself from Indonesia. This is on top of an organic polyurethane waterproof coating and straps from recycled PET. Prices start at £79 for the Daypack, £114 for the No!Rolltop Backpack.
Even world-renowned leisure hat maker Tilley is getting involved. It’s added the Modern Airflo and 5 Panel Recycled Cap to its considerable all-headwear portfolio, both using sustainable recycled nylon fabrics. Each carry the Bluesign logo, indicating they’re independently recognised by the world’s leading authority on environmentally-friendly clothing materials. Find out more at www.bluesign.com.