25 October, 2009

East Yorkshire Caravan Firms On Top

Jim Hibbs, managing director of east Hull firm Coachman Caravans, said despite last year's near collapse, the sector had experience a "massive turnaround" in recent months.  He said the recovery was being driven by young families choosing to buy caravans instead of holidaying abroad.  The weak pound is also making caravans built in East Yorkshire attractive to foreign holiday park owners, which is bolstering export sales.

Mr Hibbs was speaking after local firms reported record sales at the annual International Caravan and Motorhome Show, held in Birmingham last week.

Beverley manufacturer Swift Group achieved total sales of £28m at the show – £10m more than last year.  It sold about 600 caravans.  Coachman, based in Amsterdam Road, sold 410 caravans, beating its 2007 record of 354.  The firm almost doubled its sales on last year, from £3.5m to £6.8m.

Mr Hibbs said: "It is a massive turnaround.  "More people are taking British holidays because they can't afford to go abroad. Its having a huge effect on the market.

Swift commercial director Nick Page added the company's performance in Birmingham had "exceeded our wildest expectations".

He said: "The mixture of existing owners coming back into the market and a large number of younger couples and families spending their holiday money on our products for the first time is really positive news going forward."


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