Motorhome manufacturers make a wide variety of RVs so your choice of manufacturer and model is important for cross-border, poor-road travel. Once you have departed your country of origin, you’ll be needing an extensive, global service network for the motorhome, base vehicle and all their components. Especially if your travel is expected to take you away from motorways and spotless mechanical workshops.
Motorhome manufacturers are found everywhere there are people who like motorhomes and recreational vehicles. This means there are three major markets
One of the first considerations for a cross-border, poor-road traveller is buy-and-ship or fly-and-buy. A complicating factor is the “driver location”. This describes which side of the vehicle the driver sits, left or right. As shown here most of the world has the driver sitting on the left. There are just a few of us who grow up learning to drive with our right elbow hanging out the window…
Most motor home manufacturers export their vehicles though this does not necessarily mean they are doing so for the purposes of cross-border travel. In other words, it may be possible to purchase a vehicle made elsewhere than your country of residence but it doesn’t mean that there is an extensive dealer network beyond that.
Characteristics of Motorhome Manufacturers
RV manufacturers based in the US and Canada tend to build their motorhomes for the domestic market. After all, the countries stretch from about 25 degrees above the equator to the seventies, Florida to Alaska in the US, to Nunavut in Canada so there is plenty to see without ever leaving your home country.
Some US-based manufacturers export right-hand-drive versions of their vehicles to the UK and Australia though the markets are not large. You are more likely to find US-built vehicles on continental Europe where the native left-hand-drive vehicles can be used without conversion.
Manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand naturally build their vehicles on a right-hand-drive chassis and tend to build for poor-road travel – the corrugations of Australian outback roads are legendary and guaranteed to shake loose anything that has not been properly installed and fastened. You can learn more about the individual Australian and New Zealand manufacturers here.
Motor home manufacturers in the UK and Europe have a large and growing market as “les camping cars” become more popular and people start moving around the continent in their own vehicles. The Schengen Agreement has definitely contributed to this and the manufacturers have seized an opportunity. European manufacturers have a certain appeal for us as they tend to build motorhome bodies with an extraordinary sense of internal space while still being able to navigate the narrow roads that are such a characteristic of European cities and towns. Rather like the Tardis, in fact.
From all this, you can see that the choice of manufacturer is important as you consider your cross-border, poor-road travel.
You’ll need to ensure a worldwide network of dealers and service agents for the base vehicle, the motorhome body and any components.
You’ll also need to ensure that your motorhome can handle different grades of fuel, diesel is not of the same standard worldwide and some of the Euro5 classified vehicles may not run on the diesel you’ll find in Africa, for example.
For that, you may need to purchase an older vehicle that satisfies the Euro3 criteria but bear in mind that you will not be able to import it into Europe. Some manufacturers make base vehicles for export to Africa and Asia and you may find the right mix there.
On other pages, we’ll address the distribution networks we’ve been able to uncover and show you which motorhomes and campervans are available in each country. It’s reasonable to expect, though, that not all manufacturers are available in all countries and not dealers handle all manufacturers.
As mentioned above, one consideration is to fly to your first destination and purchase your motorhome there. At first glance, there seem to be some advantages to this strategy: no shipping costs, established network of owners and service centres. But to do so, you need to know who builds what, where. So we’ve started this section of the site, which is simply an overview of the manufacturers we’ve found. It is by no means exhaustive…