2018 Caravan market review

Updated: Mar 22, 2019 | Brian Sullivan | 3 min

23,070 vans were built in Australia in 2018, the highest level of production in 27 years.

On top of this imports are at the highest level ever at roughly 10,000 units for 2018, making a total market size of roughly 33,000 new units available for sale on 2019.


AS far as Australian production goes, production in the towable market was up 2.5% (524 vans) in 2018 to end the year on 21,428 units.


The motorhome market continued to grow ending 2018 up 16% with 1,388 units produced.


Caravan production increased 11.6% in 2018 to end the year on 13,818 caravans produced (+1,434 YOY).


There was a strong final quarter to the year with almost 700 units more produced Q4 2018 Vs Q4 2017


Caravan production continues to grow its share over the overall locally produced towable market and now account for almost 60% of all local production.


It is predominantly the larger heaver vans being produced in Australia. Vans 6 – 7m, 2-3 tonne grew 15% YOY to 7,909 units or 57% of all vans produced in Australia.


The cheaper products (campers and pop tops) are losing their share – to cheaper imported product.

Pop Tops

Pop Top production continued to slide in 2018 but at a slower rate that 2017.

4,137 units were produced in 2018 (8% down / 362 units less than 2017).


2012 -2014 Production of motorhomes averaged 811 units per year. Since then production has grown every year and 2018 was no exception with 1,388 Motorhomes produced, a 16% YOY increase on 2017 (and 70% growth since 2014).


2018 was a tough year for locally produced camper market with several established Australian brands closing or changing hands.


3,095 campertrailers were produced in 2018, a 16% decrease on 2017 production figures.

The Import Market

The volume of imports is steadily increasing. May 2018 was the first time more than 1,000 trailers were imported in a single month and by the end of the year 3 months had recorded over 1,000 vans.


Roughly 1,000 additional vans were imported in 2018 Vs 2017.


A large portion of the imports will be campertrailers. Almost half of the imports go into QLD where MDC are based.


The market is tightening up and with access to finance harder, an election coming up, which always slows the market, and the value property dropping 2019 will be a challenging year.


While production increased in 2018 anecdotal reports are sales were down YOY . This surplus stock in eats into margins as holding costs increase.


According to Autoteam Australia, on average the cost of having for a car on the yard is $45 per day. Many yards are holding stock 180 and even 365 days.


Obviously car dealers have a lot more expenses than a caravan dealer but even if its half that amount, that is still $8,000 in holding costs ever time a bit of stock has a birthday.


There are buyers out there and dealers need to get better at lead generation and management.

Lead management

Too many dealers have gone for a website as a box ticking exercise and not focused on outcomes – i.e. they have not got sites built to generate leads.


In Auto Deloitte benchmarks dealers and below is the 2019 data around lead origin.

Lead Origin. Source: Deloitte Dealership Benchmarks 2019

AS you can see from the above the dealer website contributes to 77% of leads on new vehicles and 22% of used leads.

A dealer or for that matter and OEMs marketing has done a great job in getting users to visit the site but too many are missing out on potential leads due to poor sites that haven’t been built to covert browsers into leads.

Unfortunately, this is only part of the issue I have seen. Once a dealer gets a lead, they need to respond to it quickly.

Again, in auto the best staff / dealers are responding to leads within 10 minutes:

Speed of Response impacts conversions. Source: Inside Sales

The quicker the lead is responded to the higher likelihood of a conversion.


If there is only one take out from the above it would be this – follow up leads quickly.


This market review is based on Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) production data produced by NEM and the ABS import data (compiled by the CIAA).

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