Roam Magazine – Issue 24 2016 | 2017
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“In 2007 the online forum for camper trailer enthusiasts, CamperTrailers.org, suddenly found a third of its one million hits per month were coming from China.
Who goes camping in China? It seemed an inexplicable piece of data.Then came the first wave of Chinese-built campers. This explained the interest from China: they were taking our ideas to include in their products. The first examples landing here were diabolically bad. Welds were terrible, engineering questionable and component choice poor. They seemed to fall apart while you looked at them. The outback soon became littered with their bones. This was compounded by poor or non-existent after-sales service, often from importers who knew little of the product or its use. They were simply importing and selling “stuff”.
You can still see it today. I found an exhibitor at the 2015 Sydney Caravan and Camping Show who had all the wheel nuts on his campers back to front. In spite of the shocking start, Chinese-built campers soon found a market niche. Of course it’s all to do with price. A side-fold softfloor camper could be purchased from the factory for as little
as $2,000 and a rearfold hardfloor for about $2,500. Once landed here they sold for $5,000-$8,000, while the cheapest of the localbuilt campers back then started at $12,000. If you only had a few thousand or more to spend you had no choice, despite the fact that the canvas invariably leaked, the poles bent or corroded, the wiring was questionable and bits broke off with regularity.”