Why am I still waiting for my new Motorhome or Campervan?
Our friend Tim Lemon MD of Derby Motorhomes has provided Engineer Aftercare with a detailed overview of the manufacturing, logistics and government policy that is impacting your ability to buy and collect your new vehicle.
Engineer Aftercare Says: Ordering and collecting a brand new van is a joyous thing to do, and we all need those new motorhomes coming in at the top of the circle of vehicle sales, so that further along the chain there are lots of quality late-model vehicles that become ‘Pre-owned’. There are thousands of other owners who dont want or cannot afford the premium of a new van. But. Dealers around the country have a stock of quality vehicles in excellent condition sometimes only 1-year-old and still under manufacturer warranty, the dealers with whom we work also add a 1 to 3-year comprehensive AWS covered warranty too. To look at alternatives to buying new, there is a list of dealers we recommend at Engineer Recommended Dealers . If your planned order was for a new Campervan? We have a selection of quality bespoke campervan conversion companies we work with, that can completely tailor something to your needs and budget on the page above.
From a recent Twitter feed from Tim Lemon Derby Motorhomes
If you have a new motorhome on order from Derby Motorhomes, please take a little time to read this update which (hopefully) will provide all with a very valuable insight into the issues currently affecting the motorhome market in the UK, Europe and more widely, globally too.
Derby Motorhomes would really like to take this opportunity to thank each of our customers who have a new motorhome on order and apologise for any delays that some may be experiencing at present.
As you may already know, there is a severe shortage of new model motorhomes; this is in part caused by a global component supply issue affecting all new vehicle production – cars, vans and chassis cab production, which means that new vehicle and chassis manufacturers are currently unable to build in their pre-pandemic volumes.
There are other factors affecting new vehicle production too; we live in world which has become a global marketplace.
For example, simply shipping components (globally) has become eye-wateringly expensive and a logistical nightmare; the global pressure on manufacturers to become carbon neutral is also affecting vehicle and chassis production.
Components and parts
You may not know this, but as well as a severe shortage of components (needed to actually build vehicles and chassis), vehicle manufacturers, due to globally and locally imposed “carbon neutral or net zero” emission target regulation and commitments, now also have to keep a very close watch on all aspects of production and quotas, sometimes being forced to perform a very tight balancing act between production of zero emission vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles, whilst also building and selling enough of each to remain viable as a business!
Net zero targeting
A consequence of this (almost impossible) balancing act is that should a vehicle manufacturer produce too much carbon or be in danger of producing too many internal combustion engine vehicles and chassis’ and not enough zero emission vehicles, for example, causing a targeting imbalance and thus missing their march towards “net zero”, the EU and other global governments will impose punitive and substantial financial penalties on them, penalties that run into multi millions of Euros, Dollars or Pounds sterling!
So, the ultimate consequence of these severe component shortages, logistics issues, production schedules and net zero balancing issues (with potential financial penalties), is that there is a massive disruption to manufacturing globally, with new vehicle and chassis production being very severely impacted on an unprecedented scale.
Dealers and customers
The knock-on effect of the sum of these issues is that motorhome manufacturers for example, can’t build their models without a chassis arriving from a vehicle manufacturer first! And they can’t even rely on their ordered and confirmed chassis actually arriving on time or as ordered and promised from the chassis manufacturer due to their particular and unique issues and circumstances too.
Information and updates
Buyers are becoming increasingly frustrated, turning to their dealers for more and more information or updates; for my part (and I would imagine every other dealer too), I would love to be able to provide more frequent, general or specific updates, but this is impossible; I’ll explain why.
The information update chain
Each party associated in the vehicle supply chain, from the initial dealer-to-customer order, through various manufacturing stages, finished vehicle-to-supplying dealer and ultimately supply to the end-user (customer), understands the importance of accurate information and their customers desire for that information.
So, an update request may seem like a relatively minor, simple matter, but to put this into perspective in these very challenging times, any demand for information means that each time even a single customer makes a request, their dealer must contact their motorhome manufacturer for an update.
The motorhome manufacturer then must consult their own production schedules, check when they are expecting the chassis enquired about to arrive with them (from the vehicle manufacturer); then check that each of the raw materials and components they need (to build that motorhome) are also going to arrive on time with them.
Finally, the motorhome manufacturer then must speak directly with the base chassis manufacturer (Mercedes, Fiat, Peugeot, Ford etc.), in whatever country each head office may be situated in, to confirm that the (particular) chassis enquired about is going to be built on time! They, the base chassis manufacturer, in turn may or may not require time to consult their own schedules and supply chains before replying to the motorhome manufacturer.
This (seemingly) simple request, actually, is a huge and time-consuming task which is made even more complicated because although a chassis manufacturer such as Fiat, Peugeot or Mercedes will have computerised access to their own production information, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that their own raw materials will arrive on time or if they do, will they actually be in a commercial position to build the chassis they have scheduled and want to, due to other issues previously outlined.
Then multiply this one seemingly simple request by several hundred (customers from every dealer, all asking for more information) and it’s very easy to see that manufacturers (and dealers) simply become overwhelmed and overloaded and are (anyway), just unable to provide information instantly and unfortunately, without the previous link in this production-information chain being able to provide their own information or respond to an information request, dealers simply can’t pass on accurate information, instantly, to their customers.
So, one can see that a seemingly simple request is, (in reality), quite a complicated and very time-consuming chain of action for each party involved and whilst all parties concerned understand this desire for information, patience, a great deal of it, is also required whilst the requested information is gathered; sometimes it can take a couple of weeks to get (seemingly) simple information back to customers.
Another factor that is coming into play now is the actual cost of manufacture; I’m sure everyone will have noticed that prices for all goods have increased significantly over the last 12 months or so. This, unfortunately, is unavoidable due to each of the previously discussed pressures, and it applies to every sector of manufacturing and life in general too.
Each of the previously discussed issues are further compounded due to the Russia – Ukraine conflict that is ongoing; it is a fact that global manufacturing has relied on cheap energy and a diverse array of products, some of which are, or were manufactured and supplied by both Russia and Ukraine.
The conflict in this region has halted the manufacture of vital components, blocked the export of others and seen the cost of energy surge dramatically globally, all of which have a direct and huge impact on manufacturing costs, costs which are ultimately always going to be passed on along the supply and retail chain, ending finally with consumers as the end users, that is of course, if a business is to survive.
Once (very) reliable supply chains are or have already fragmented and this means that manufacturers can no longer rely on either their published production schedules or pricing.
Put simply, vehicle manufacturers such as Fiat, Peugeot, and Mercedes for example (and to list just a few), have (and I generalise here), previously worked to a well-proven business model which was largely based on high volume production with relatively low (per unit produced) margins – stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap, to coin a phrase!
With lower production volumes and higher manufacturing costs, all manufacturers, no matter what goods they produce, have been forced to revise their established business models to account for reduced production volumes and higher production costs; this, inevitably, has meant higher retail pricing to counter manufacturer’s reduced volumes and increased overheads including raw material and component costs; unfortunately, it’s either this or ultimately, they go out of business!
I would like to reassure everyone reading this that no dealer or manufacturer, us included, wants to disrupt a customer’s plans, delay a vehicle that may be on order, upset (in any way) their customers or finally, increase their prices – there is simply no benefit to any of us in this. However, the pressures faced by all businesses at present are immense and diverse and dealers, in particular, are stuck in the middle, having no control over any of these issues until their finished motorhome is released to them by the motorhome manufacturer.
Even then, there is one final hurdle to overcome and that is the DVLA, who are currently taking in excess of 4 weeks to complete vehicle registrations – again, yet another necessary process that dealers have absolutely no control over!
Here to help
One final observation though; as a main dealer, our role is to help and support our customers to the very best of our abilities and whilst it may be personally satisfying to vent anger and frustration at your dealer, my hope is that with this extra insight and information, everyone now has a far better understanding of what’s really behind any issue or delay that they may be experiencing, either with an ordered vehicle or if awaiting parts; none of these issues are your dealer’s fault and your dealer cannot control or manage them, so please, spare a thought for our staff too.
Please feel free to contact us any time, but please also understand that we may not be able to give you the answers requested immediately, however we are doing everything that we can, within our power and control, to manage the current situation for all concerned.
Tim Lemon – Managing Director
Want more news and advice? Visit our friends at www.motorhomecampervans.net for all the advice, tips and more on buying a new and pre-owned motorhome or campervan.