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Dusseldorf Motorhome show 2007 Review

Carol Weaver

Dusseldorf Motorhome show review

This review is from our personal viewpoint and a little information on what you will find at this enormous show.  The Dusseldorf show is the largest in Europe and where many manufacturers launch their new models to the public.

We planned our visit back about April, and I signed up and joined the club on the Caravan Salon’s web site which is accessed from the Messe one http://www.messe-dusseldorf.de   (You can only join this from the German side NOT from the English Language side).

Why did I join? Well it was to give us benefits as members not least of which was reduced entry fees to the show, and also reductions on lots of accessories and sites to stay at.

Initially we were going to the Dusseldorf show in the motorhome, but we had sold this and had to change our plans and so we went by car and stayed in a hotel. We found one via www.travel-res.de, which turned out to be very close and convenient – the Hotel Zur Luftbruke… which was adequate at €51 a night bed and breakfast with ensuite.  The Hotel (Hotel Zur Luftbruke) it is about 400 yards from the tram station which we caught in the mornings and in  2 stops you were in the Messe itself. 

We had four whole days at the show and our priority was to look at the smaller conversions 6m in length and in particular we also wished to see the Knaus C Liner and the newly launched V Liner (Hall 16) launched this year and the Knaus Van TDi 550. 

Having ascertained, that upon joining the Club, all you needed, after receiving your cards, was to present them at the show and gain your reduced entry fees. We purchased 2 x 2-day tickets each, the cost for us was only €28 per day for both....this represents really good value, why, well with this ticket it also gives you free transport within the city of Düsseldorf on the trains/trams, and I think buses, but we personally didn't use any buses.

Now to the show

It is open from 1000-1800 every day, it has I think a total of 17 halls, of which 11 were in use for the motorhome show, it is VERY LARGE, covering some 200,000 square metres.  On display were some 2,000 recreational vehicles from small 2-person to huge luxury vans together with a range of accessories and new technology.  It should also be noted that if you have a motorhome, you can turn up and stay on their camping site, and there are a few hook-ups, but only a few.  There are buses available to take you to the Messe., and I believe into Düsseldorf.

Also at the show in different Halls again was a Hiking and Trekking Fair by TourNatural, but we didn't do this as we were on a mission to look for our new motorhome....

The motorhomes are displayed in a better format that at the NEC for instance, probably as they have more space in total to utilise, and there is ample room for you to get right around the vehicles, so you can easily see into garages, outside lockers etc., but you are definitely spoilt for choice.

I have one comment I would like to make, and this was based on our own search.  I believe that since the take over of many of the original manufacturers started about 5 or 6 years ago, motorhomes have become so similar it is difficult to decide whether to buy one design from say Chausson or another from Euramobil, as the bathrooms are the same, only it appears do the graphics and colour schemes vary.  I think although we may gained from a reduced price due to the scale of their buying, we have lost the very originality that made them different.

Anyway, prior to our departure here, I had done some research on the www.messe-dusseldorf.de web site, to find out which exhibitors were in which Halls, so we were immediately able to target those we were particularly interested in.  Takes some working out, and it is possible to download to mobile phone/pda the list etc., or to print it out.  I did the latter as Duncan could also look at it, (he hates computers!).

Hymer for instance had a Hall to themselves (17 I think it was), and were launching some models with huge graphics on the side for 50 year anniversary, even the leather seats had this logo on them...we didn't like that, who would....someone I suppose, but there were really only supposedly more glamorous than the basic normal model. Nothing more is going to date these vehicles than those logos….

Hall 13 was reserved for those VERY VERY expensive motorhomes, like top of the range Clou Liners, and RMB etc.,  I did manage to go inside one, cost, well basic cost was €350,000, but cost of this was €745,000 with the accessories on it.  Did I like it? Well it was nice, but NOT at that cost. I couldn't think where you would take it, except perhaps if you were a follower of things like Badminton and Formula 1.  A normal camp sites or even aires, forget it....they must have a place to stop I know nothing of - too expensive and I don't think I would even want one if I could afford it....seriously - no thanks.

We had left that Hall to the last, as it was not really of any interest to us, except if we had time left over.

Hall 12 .  This Hall had the small converters.  Some rather ingenious layouts and designs, with lots of drop down beds in the Merc and Fiat 6m Van's.  Some very clever, but as we were getting older, they no longer appeal to us, and some of the prices for the Nova were just beyond my understanding.....I think in the region of €80,000 and that is just to start with, before upgrading engines etc. and some a lot more.

We did find one manufacturer (I suspect about the size of Murvi in the UK) who did an excellent conversion on the Peugeot chassis.  It was 5.99m long and had two single beds, one across the rear above one down the driver's side, where the feet went underneath the other in an L shape.  Giving a small garage space at the rear.  The cabinet work was really nice and light and the fittings were extremely good.  They had even fitted eFoy to the motorhome.  The front layout had given a bar layout, i.e., sit 3 passengers, sleep 2.... I don't think there was a means of making a 3rd bed, but I didn't get into that, as (a) we weren't interested in a 3rd bed anyway and (b) we later decided this one wasn't for us... The bathroom is unique and has a separate shower, and it is done by using a sliding door which goes from an S-bend layout in the floor, which when closed actually goes across the corridor space....if you look here...www.burow-mobile.de you will see what I mean.  Our reason for finally discounting this was two-fold.  I unfortunately get up a lot in the night and we decided the noise of closing this door to enable use the loo (the door during the day being open and hid the loo) meaning that to actually use the loo you HAD to close the door - it would be too noisy. Also the fridge was only a small one, and although originally they thought it would be able to be enlarged upon our second visit they weren't so keen.   So out it went.

Another Hall,  Hall 16, which we visited next, as Knaus had several models I had a lot of interest in and were on my list. I  wanted to see the Knaus C and V Liners.

Now I had very briefly seen the C Liner in the UK at one of the shows, and had been very impressed with it, only I didn't like the price, something like around £70k.  Well it is no longer being made, and I think it was probably produced as a design to see how it was received,.  At the show the new Knaus S Liner, which is like the C Liner but bigger and better still in some areas.   This was out of our price range. 

I digress here a moment…. Please bear with me.

Prior to our visit, I had been informed (wrongly) by a German dealer that the C liner would be at the show, and as it wasn’t that left us with a dilemma, as it appeared to suit our needs, but we needed to know if this was the motorhome for us.  So that night I looked up the nearest place to drive to see one, then we could either rule it in or out.  One was in Bochum, whish accordingly to my gps was about 51k away.  So we decided to visit that the next morning before going into the show again.  That way we could either rule it out, or as there was only one automatic one available make some enquries from the dealer concerned.  So off we went, we found it without a hitch, aren’t gps’ wonderful?  It had obviously been around a bit, bits missing of doors, things like fuel cap cover missing, and other minor things….and we then discovered it had a very small fridge, the 60ltr one again…why oh why…am I the only one that thinks at least a 100ltr+or – is adequate for a few months at a time?  He assured us that if we bought it – they would return it to Knaus for a thorough going over and replace any missing bits…  we asked for the best price possible – he couldn’t get hold of his chief who was at the show…. And promised to get back to me…  Well a week later he did, and did lower the price by €5k…. but the small fridge ruled it out, but we did love it nonetheless…no good for longer than perhaps a couple of weeks…. Or someone who ate out…and we don’t… 

Now back to the show, still day 1 here….

In the meantime, we looked at the V Liner, and this had one very big dislike to us, a very small 60ltr fridge..... and when we asked a sales guy if this could be enlarged as an option, he said, “come with me”, took us to the rear, where there is a garage.  He said “go in and have a look”.  So there is me, not little, climbing into the middle of the garage, what did I see....well a 12v fridge.... now come on, what use is that, every time you wanted something you needed to empty the garage to get it....  As Duncan said to the sales person, obviously Knaus has realised it has made a mistake...  So down the list it went..... Unfortunately, so did the Knaus Van 550 as well, due to the feeling of claustrophobia, so another on our list was deleted….  The Van though had a fridge I could have lived with, but the V Liner and the Van are on different chassis, the Van on the Fiat and the V Liner on the Renault – and it was the wheel that was the problem on the V Liner, in that the fridge couldn’t be larger….  Not all this happened on the first day I hasten to add, as some stayed for a few days whilst we continued to look and went back again several times to them before finally ruling them out….

We also saw on the first day two of these motorhomes that looked identical inside, except for colours, but outside did show their differences, these again were A Class motorhomes at 5.99m….one was the Chausson Alteo 159 and the other was the Euramobil Terrestra I.  Now both of these motorhomes would have been OK, both were designed purely for 2 people and had lovely kitchens, end bathrooms (identical…) and were only left down by their beds…why, both manufacturers had huge drop down beds, coming low, but bear in mind we have only ever been used to Hymer drop down beds, these beds bounced when down…goodness knows what they would be like if you turned over in the night.  We got them to find a technical person in each manufacturing area, to see if it was a fault…. And they thought they should come down and stay, but they didn’t….well having had a bed problem with our Starline we ruled it out.  Of the two I liked the cheeky looks of the Euramobil, and they used before their take over have an excellent reputation, but Duncan didn’t like those looks.  He also felt that a small tap at the front, made the whole vehicle very vulnerable…and preferred the Chausson.  I liked one and he the other, but at the end of the day it was those beds which put us off…

Hall 13 was really for the dealers and converters, to show the latest products available and to get catalogues you wanted on particular items.  Efoy was one such product we took time to see and speak to.  They had a very nice young lady who spoke excellent English and was able to explain the technical side to us easily.  Our initial reaction was, this is for us, and you may recall I started a thread asking anyone for their experiences or thoughts.  Technical specs tend to blind me with science and I don’t understand the wood from the trees, and knew that a lot of folk on here would perhaps point out the good and bad points for us.  You did, and for the time being, we have gone back to our trusty 2 x solar and 2 x batteries, and if we feel in the future the need for this system, then we will look again….  The diesel option that DABurleigh (Dave) wrote about is at a cost of £15k…. and that is well out of our pocket range, it would even buy a decent used vehicle….. so thanks to all who responded.  I do think this is a good idea, but the thought of having to carry yet another fuel around is something we weren’t too keen on.  As I said lots of really interesting things to see there, and for someone who is wanting to do their own conversion must be heaven….  I enjoyed it anyway.

Fiat launched at the show the new FIAT AUTOMATIC gearbox and had a vehicle which allowed you to book a test drive.  Duncan didn’t opt to drive himself in Düsseldorf traffic, but we went out with the driver and were very impressed.  Now this was the base we were waiting for, and we asked several questions, like when will it be delivered to the manufacturers, we were told January…(we shall see) and I then asked about RHD, as we were also considering the Murvi (they only convert on RHD) and they couldn’t give us a date.  So bearing in mind that they never did do the auto box for the last version, perhaps we would be waiting forever for it….do you see Murvi slipping down that list….we did…

We were taken by the Hobby’s (Hall 9) and went back for another look.  We liked in particular the Hobby Toskana D650 FLC.  We decided to get a quote on it.  We couldn’t find a free sales person, so asked at their information desk if there was a German sales guy who spoke some English.  We waited and along came Mr Swann from Lowdhams…. Now maybe I am odd, but he isn’t German, if I wanted an English guy fine…but no offence to him, I didn’t want to buy in the UK, which was why I was looking in Germany….  He didn’t like it really, he said… We can nearly match their figures (why not match it, not nearly) they he said, had to change the gas systems…why…. They are now EU wide at 30 bar….me thinks perhaps it was an excuse….anyway, he did go and get a woman.  When we asked for a quote on the Auto 160 – she said she couldn’t quote.  Why….she couldn’t…  So we walked away.  Everyone else was happy to quote, the figures for the auto were out, so no excuse.  We knew we had to wait for it…. So they lost a potential sale…

Where else, oh well we did go Rapido, bearing in mind we originally decided to sell our Starline 640 for a Rapido 7099F.  So I asked Duncan to humour me and let us go and look.  Well you guessed it, it still looked as good as we knew it would, and then we saw another new motorhome….this time, it was the 7090+ which was launched new at the show.  In we went…. And we loved it, even better.  Rapido had always looked good to us, and we loved this new layout.  Queen bed in rear with little wardrobes and cupboards on each side, with cupboards across the bed…. Separate shower and a separate loo and wash basin on either side at the bottom, going into an L-shape kitchen and an L-shaped lounge.  This would make a 3rd bed.  Rapido are well specified from the beginning.  I found a salesman and asked if he spoke English, he went and got a young colleague who spoke very good English and we asked for a quote.  We sat with him for an hour or more, asked him for a quote on the 7099 (our original choice)…plus the extras we wanted to add.  It looked a fair price, and I asked how much would it be for the 7090 (but not the 7090+) He then said he would do it for the same price.  The difference in the base price list was €750…so another saving….  We said we needed to think about it (This was on the Saturday…) we had one day left..

We discussed this over night and had a few more questions….we went back in the morning and were introduced to the dealer himself, a Herr Wanner (this dealership is near Stuttgart – which actually suited us 100% as we were driving there after the show to stay with friends for 10 days.  He spoke good English and we had a long chat with him.  He made me laugh, he said, did we need a quotation, we said we had had one from Tobias yesterday.  He said, was it good?  I said well it can always be improved….  

We left the show exhausted and really excited, we had found our new motorhome.

After driving down to our friends, who live only about 10 miles from Wanner in Dusslingen.. we went on the Thursday (having made an appointment) to see them again and finalise the contract.

What amazed me – is they asked for no deposit.  Apparently it is usually 50%, but Herr Wanner had said we could pay 20% December 7th and the rest upon collection.  We got a very good deal we felt, and were lucky from our point of view, that we can always go back for any habitation checks whilst visiting our friends….the best of everything in fact.

I know this is long and many may have given up on it, fine, not a problem, but if anyone does have any questions, I will try to help.  If you are seriously thinking of buying a new motorhome, this is an excellent show to go to, you can meet the dealers, and see who you like, plus all the vehicles, not just the odd model, but I think virtually ALL that they have being made.

Paris is the next show.  Some of the French manufacturers do save their launches for their own show and I have heard it is very good.  So if you can, why not go and look.

Some links to look at:
http://tinyurl.com/33tahw - its the chausson, too long without the tiny url
http://tinyurl.com/2n333s - Knaus V Liner
We were also impressed with the TEC models and Fendt….

20 September 07
Carol Weaver