Is the show calendar becoming a little crowded?

By: Malcolm Street


Malcom has visited the annual motorhome and caravan show in Christchurch, New Zealand and wonders if the show calendar is getting busier here in Australia?

I’m aware that I have used these words before in this column but, as I write this, I am not long back from New Zealand. I was over there for the annual motorhome and caravan show in Christchurch, something I try to get to in order to catch up with not only the local dealers and manufacturers but also the latest trends from New Zealand, Britain and Europe. There is a considerable number of importers operating across the ditch, including some familiar names from Australia – Avida, Sunliner, Winnebago and Jayco.

However, my plan didn’t quite work out as expected. Somewhat surprisingly, the show was not particularly well attended by showgoers. There was a big All Blacks rugby match happening which may have affected things on the day I attended, so the only bonus for me was that it was easy to get around and talk to the exhibitors – those that were there, that is. A couple of regular attendees had decided not to book a stand at all, instead just putting on a special ‘show day’ at their own yards. That made things more difficult for me to get around and see them but, fortunately, Christchurch is not a big place. It also made life a bit difficult for the specialist exhibitors which rely on the major exhibitors as a show drawcard.

I suspect that the lack of attendance was caused by a similar problem we have here in Australia – too many shows. Yes, having regional shows all over the place is great for local people but it’s a very expensive, not to mention time-consuming, exercise for dealers and manufacturers. Indeed, some of them are starting to vote with their feet. Recently, I was at an event expecting to see two of our motorhome manufacturers but neither of them showed up.

I think it’s time for a little industry discussion on this matter because the people who end up paying in the end will be the likes of you and I.

KAIKOURA

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I was fortunate to miss the earthquake that happened in Kaikoura on November 14. It was certainly something that New Zealand and, particularly, Kaikoura did not need. One of the odd consequences of the event was that 100-plus rental motorhomes were left stranded. The drivers and passengers were all air-lifted out but the motorhomes remain until the roads are open. That has created a problem for all the motorhome rental operators – how do they get their motorhomes back when the roads open? I was interested to read that the NZ Motor Caravanners Association (NZMCA), the equivalent of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA), has answered the call. A considerable number of club members are on a standby list to assist with that interesting logistical exercise when the roads are open again.

While I was in a Christchurch caravan park, I happened to read the new emergency evacuation notice, which included a paragraph under the heading ‘Earthquake’ – a follow on from the Christchurch earthquake of 2011, I would imagine. I wondered what it would be like to be in a motorhome during an earthquake and had I
been in town for a week longer, I may just have found out...

I know that the coastline of Kaikoura has probably changed since I took this photo (below left) but would imagine it’s still a stunning place. Plan on a visit next time you are in NZ!

NEW FIAT ENGINE

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Here’s some interesting news for Fiat owners – from next year, the much loved 3L 132kW/400Nm Ducato turbodiesel engine is no more. Instead, Fiat has beefed up the 2.3L engine, called the Multijet2 180, to give the same output as the larger engine but with a better fuel consumption and one that meets Euro 6 standards for emissions.

There’s also been some changes to the Multijet 150. Although the maximum power output remains the same at 109kW, the maximum torque has been increased from 350Nm to 380Nm, something useful for motorhomers.

I find myself a bit fascinated by the approach of various countries to engine sizes, particularly with the Fiat Ducatos. Here in Australia, we have becomes used to always having the largest of the Ducato turbodiesels, the 3L power plant. In Europe, though, the standard seems to be the smallest (2.3L) and least powerful (96kW) which, I have to say, I find a bit wanting, particularly on steep hills. Then there’s the Americans, who call their Ducatos a Ram Promaster and threw out the perfectly good turbodiesel engine, instead fitting a 3.6L V6 petrol engine.

The full feature appears in Caravan World #559 2017. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!