Foreign vehicles better than British made?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Khizzie, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    Just a little query to get things interesting,why do so many motorhome owners keep stating how much better German motorhomes are than our homegrown ones .most are based on the same chassis / engine etc. So what is the big difference..? We already know that a certain German manufacturer has to cheat to enable their vehicles to conform to the emission regulations .so are they cheating on the quality of bodywork build of motorhomes....just a thought
     
  2. mariner

    mariner Funster Life Member

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    As I don't have a Motorhome anymore, I can only answer as a Tugger and a Brit. caravan such as my Bailey is better than most of the Foreigners. Build quality is good and you get more facilities such as electric heating of water and space and an Oven as standard.

    I owned four Motorhomes of which one was British built. One Adria, two Hymers and an Autocruise. The build quality of the Autocruise was truly awful.

    British builders can choose to build quality Motorhomes but they just seem not to want to.

    Based on my knowledge of caravans and Bailey in particular, in theory, Bailey Motorhomes should be pretty good.

    Also in my experience, anything built by the Swift Group, is best avoided, be that a Caravan or a Motorhome!


    :cooler:
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
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  3. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    I think there is more choice with foreign vans and many are built to withstand more extremes of temperature than many UK vans.
    As to them being better built? That's a difficult one. Many foreign van owners will tell you they are, there is good and bad on both sides of the channel, but there are more very high spec and very expensive foreign vans available.
    Just do your research and you will find which vans get more than their fair share of faults. They are not all British by any means.....
     
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  4. Derbyshire wanderer

    Derbyshire wanderer Funster Life Member

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    I think there is a lot of snobbery about who and where they are made. UK vans seem to have lots of extras but comparatively lots of snags as well.
    If compared with cars, Skoda are well made and have a higher rating than many more expensive brands whether foreign or Uk but is that because the VFM factor makes a difference?
    Personally I like the door on the 'correct' side, the layouts, the payload and the dealer back up. Saying that the only continental van that has really appealed to accept the door on the wrong side is the Pilote.
    We are all different and expect different things.
    What is worth noting is that the majority of base vehicles are Italian! Generally opinion would often say they make crap cars? I see no reason to ever consider the German or French alternatives but plenty would.
     
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  5. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    Lol. Having owned a recent British van with several faults, some of which were never fixed properly under warranty, like the useless hab door! The only fault I have found so far on my German van is a misaligned kitchen blind, which was a 10 minute job to unscrew the cover and re align. Oh and this van has a proper door that actually seals! The other thing I noted straight away is the German van does not rattle when driving, the British one had a symphony conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
    The German vehicle oozes quality and simple functionality.
    I think once you have had German you can't go back. :);)(y)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
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  6. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Having had a British caravan that had more water in the wall than the garden pond & knowing several people who had Swift caravans that had to go back to the factory in the first year to stop water pissing I wouldn't touch anthing British made. Last caravan we had was German, only a couple of minor problems in 6 years of ownership.
    German vans much better built, warranty problems much easier to deal with as you can take them to any dealer in Europe as they have a Pan European warranty.
     
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  7. mickyc

    mickyc Read Only Funster

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    Having owned foreign (Rapido) and British (IH) both of which promote themselves as "premium vans" I would say that my British van wins hands down with regards to the design (for our needs the IH's layout is perfect) and the Rapido wins hands down on build quality/aftercare.

    We had a few minor defects with the Rapido that were sorted within weeks - the van then gave 10 years faultless service.

    The IH's defect list is rather longer
     
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  8. jonegood

    jonegood Funster

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    yes the Germans and the French have their cheaper end MHs but it is also easy to buy a premium MH from them, this is what people are mostly referring to.

    IMO the difference between the premium british and the premium german MHs is in the construction methods and the finishing.

    Yes many of them do wear the same chassis manufacturers badge but then when you dig deeper you find much of it upgraded, Alko heavy chassis with better brakes, suspension etc.

    Then turn to the body manufacture, The germans have been using the alluminium sandwich for many years - stronger, doesnt leak, cant rot. Baileys alutech is not what it seems, its a traditional framed construction albeit with plastic instead of wood and loose filled with polystyrene. Many of the others are worse. It seems that the incidence of construction related problems is far higher with a British MH.

    Then just go inside and look at the finish. Enough said!

    yes the layouts dont suit everyone and some people are uncomfortable paying the price but personally I think its a shame when a newbie in all innocence pays for a brand new Eldiss/Autotrail/Swift/Bailey etc when they could have had a much nicer secondhand Hymer for the same money.
     
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  9. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    The reason I started this thread was to see if the quality of British built vans were of a merchantable quality as considering a foreign built one next year ,but my non SWIFT built autocruise 2005 has been a star with only one fault and that was down to age .it seems to me that its mainly swift built vans that come in for criticism,however that said ,there are more swift built vans than any other make available and on the Road...it would bw interesting to do a percentage comparison of number of British built vans with faults compared to the same number of foreign vans with faults...i still feel that British quality and design is still up there with the best.
     
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  10. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Swift took over Autocruise in 2007(y) and personally I think Autocruise made better vans.
    I did find water leaking through the window frames and when I removed the sliding one I found it actually never had any sealant on it at all and bodged with clear silicone around the outside. I imagine the rest were the same.
     
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  11. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    The question asked is not specific as both British and European vans have deminished in build quality since about 2000. This is probably due to several factors such as cost, profit, payloads, more modern needs etc. In my view, having worked in a dealership is British vans have suffered worse, which is sad as the euro exchange rate has been in their favour for the last few years which shold hAve been to their advantage.
     
  12. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Maybe a better question to ask is if a British van is more likely to suffer a major leak than a European Van
    Other faults are simpler to resolve than water ingress, which is expensive and difficult to repair
    A search of this site would uncover a an alarming number of 'horror stories' relating to damp British vans, their poor design, construction and poor after sales service.
     
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  13. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    Thanks for input,maybe I should be asking the question as a like for like such as price ,such as is a £40,000 British built van as good or as bad as a foreign van of the similar value..i think that's what I am really getting at .are the lower end markets comparable on new vans.
     
  14. Phillybarbour

    Phillybarbour Read Only Funster

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    Had both. There is no comparison when you start digging into the detail of the construction. That said the price is different to.

    If you have an engineering background or knowledge and go on a factory visit all yours questions will be answered in one few hour tour. Don't be fooled by clean factory's and clean machines but look at and study the methods of construction and materials used.

    Hymer (I don't have one) encourage customer visits and run tours every day during the summer months and once a week I think during the winter months, I wonder why they want customers to see how they are made?
     
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  15. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    I don't think it's only a question of leaking vans, sure, there are many Swift and Autotrail vans that suffer leaks, but recently, I have been reading more and more on here about leaky Hymers. As to interior finish, we looked at lots of vans before we bought ours, and weren't impressed with the build quality of most of the foreign ones. Maybe ours is over engineered, but it's the only one we saw with a bathroom door that wouldn't look out of place in a house and a feeling that it's all going to be here long after we are gone.
    But, FJmikes comment about diminished build quality in later vans is relevant. To keep vans under 3500kg and offer lots of goodies, materials have to be lighter, and often this means that a lot of vans rattle like a cheap soap set because build materials are not as sturdy as they used to be.
    So, we have a British built van, it doesn't leak, it doesn't rattle, the Hab door fits perfectly ( they are nearly all the same make anyway on newer vans, here and abroad) it has a good payload and is extremely comfortable to live in.
    We have considered swapping it for a LHD foreign model because we will be moving to France soon. After looking, again, at lots of foreign vans, we haven't found anything that we like more or is built better than ours.
     
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  16. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    We have just done the Niesmann+Bischoff factory tour (hopefully you followed my thread) the first thing you see is them pressing the sides, alluminuim on both the inside and out pressed onto blue styrofoam not soft/cheap polystyrene, there is no wood in the shell construction at all, the foam even has grooves in it so if there was a water leak it would just run straight down the panel and out.

    Shameless plug for my factory tour thread. http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/tour-of-germany-and-mh-dealers.118779/

    Yes the British vans are nice and cosy looking with a proper oven, my wife still drools over an Autotrail Mohawk with a garage (but she's not getting one). Our Niesmann has big sold lumps of timber in the furniture and Corian Kitchen and bathroom work tops.

    But we are not comparing prices like for like here either.

    Martin
     
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  17. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    Nah, been on 3 visits to merc, beemer and VW in Germany. The VW plant at Dresden epitomised the Germans show off culture, unecessarily built in the middle of the city in a glass house......look how clever ve are....but ve are running out of the most inefficiently generated and expensive leccy in Europe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
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  18. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    perhaps you are referring to my recent post about a leaking Hymer rooflight ?

    All vans can suffer leaks.. Hymers no exception.. but that was after almost 15 years .. mastics dry out and need replacing on all vans.. difference on Hymers they don't use a timber construction, so nothing to rot... so a leak is an inconvenience.. not a drama..

    British built seem to come out of the factory with leaks.. there is a thread about Autotrail woe's.. leaking body panel seams ..

    Swift have been shouting about there new 'PURe' system of construction.. it's a step forward with no timber but it's just polystyrene sheets laid up between an outer ally skin and inner décor panel..

    Hymer use PUAL .. the polyurethane with aluminium frame.. bonded into a panel.. almost indestructible..

    Would I buy British.. no.. wouldn't have one in a gift.. the OPs theoretical £40k would better spent on a second-hand Hymer as a new Brit van..

    Swift PURe

     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  19. Khizzie

    Khizzie Funster

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    To be honest that's my take in it as well,I read in our forum just how wonderful foreign built motorhomes are compared to our homegrown brand ,but like you I haven't seen anything which I think is worth paying out all that extra money for ...takes me back to when I was an apprentice in the motor trade. And the first foreign vehicles started to creep into the country .they were mainly 2CVs and Renault dauphins.and were owned by mainly teachers and such like..the snobbery involved used make me have a quiet grin as the quality was total rubbish.we were told not to lean on the bodywork when doing repairs to engine(frequent) in case the body got dented..haha..not like that anymore ,,,are they???
     
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  20. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    there is a lot more than meets the eye.. do Brit vans have full winterisation.. all pipes and tanks inside a double floor.. ?
    is all the furniture made of real wood.. or do they have chipboard or MDF hiding under cheap veneer..

    are the worktops high quality with solid wood edging.. or does it use domestic worktop and plastic trim..
    as mentioned previously, how is it constructed.. look beneath the shiny exterior.. I could go on but don't want to labour the point.

    Hymer / Eriba have a heritage of building motorhomes for almost 50 years.. many old ones are still on the road.. Classic Hymers are now highly sought after.. .. a testament to the construction materials and methedoligy Hymer employ .. and still do to this day..
     
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