The automobile crisis hinders the rise of motorhomes and campers

The motorhome and campervan market has not escaped the semiconductor crisis, and as has happened with the rest of the automotive sector, the number of registrations has plummeted this 2022. The peculiarity of the collapse in the purchase of this type of vehicle, but it has reached the peak of its history in Spain. That's right, there has never been so much demand, which today is not matched by supply.

To get an idea of ​​the rise in interest in motorhomes and campers in recent years, just compare the number of registrations for 2013 with that of 2019. From 1,293 to 9,014, which represents an increase of almost 600% in six years. The number of purchases fell, in 2020 and despite the three months of inactivity due to covid, to only 8,124. In fact, after the pandemic, the inclination for these vehicles picked up, as it was the perfect way to travel when there could be no contact between people beyond the bubble groups. At the state level, registrations grew slightly in 2021, to 8,575, a fact that also demonstrates the current significant demand for motorhomes and campers, since the market managed to grow despite the fact that the microchip crisis began in the spring.

The trend is similar in the case of Catalonia, although here registrations failed to increase in 2021, as they fell by 4% compared to the previous year. Between 2017 and 2019, the purchase of these vehicles grew by 77%. In the province of Tarragona, registrations went from 146 in 2018 to 207 in 2019, with a similar figure the following year and with a decrease to 176 in 2021.

Although the final figures for 2022 are not yet available, the sector is aware that the year will be worse than the previous one. Ramón Terradellas, vice president of the Spanish Association of Caravanning Industry and Commerce (ASEICAR) and Barcelona businessman, assures that there have been decreases in registrations, compared to the same months of 2021, of 40% in July, of 30% in September and 10% in October, for example, and predicts a drop of 25% at the end of the year.

After confinement, people saw in these vehicles the possibility of traveling safely

“We have experienced significant growth since 2014, which brought us closer to European levels, although we are still far away, in terms of knowledge of the sector and infrastructure, but then, in 2020, the covid arrived,” recalls Terradellas, who points out that, despite Due to the confinement and the closure of all activity for three months, “many people saw in our sector the possibility of going out and moving with their family bubble and with a certain security.” But then 2021 arrived, and in the midst of a return to normal health conditions, the automobile sector was plunged into the semiconductor crisis, with the production and sales problems that it entailed and continues to entail. "The big problem we currently have is that we cannot deliver the vehicles that have been sold for a long time," laments the vice president of ASEICAR.

As has also happened with the rest of the automotive sector, the problems with the delivery of motorhomes and campers has caused many people to go to the second-hand market. A demand that practically no longer finds an offer here in Spain, and that goes abroad to look for it. "This worries us because what is often found in other countries are very old and very expensive vehicles," says Terradellas, of which he says that "they do not have environmental labels and in four days they will lose their value." On this, the representative of the sector throws data such as that 80% of imported vehicles that are registered here are over 15 years old, and 50% are over 20 years old.

The demand for the rental of motorhomes has grown due to not being able to buy new ones

However, the second-hand market has suffered as much as that of new motorhomes and campers, so companies dedicated to camperizing vans –mainly working with already used vehicles– have continued to work. In any case, they also make camperizations in new vans and, in this sense, they have noticed "a lot of interest from clients who want some type of work on their vehicle that, due to the crisis in the sector, they have not yet received", according to Adriana, owner of Camper Travel, a specialized workshop in Santa Oliva. On the other hand, these companies have also been affected by the increase in the price of materials. Albert Mañé, from Top Camper, in La Canonja, explains that "this has pushed back many jobs, because an increase of 20%, in this world, is 5,000 euros."

Another consequence that the lack of new vehicles has caused is that many people, unable to buy, have decided to travel by renting. Terradellas warns, about this, that rental companies have also had difficulties when it comes to renewing their fleet, something confirmed by Nieves Vasallo, from Maluni Caravan, who has bought a new motorhome with no delivery commitment and hopes to receive it in May. In relation to the boom in the sector, Vasallo says that "this summer we have had all the vehicles occupied, we also work on weekends and long weekends and we already have reservations for August 2023."

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