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European Millennials Fueling Surge In RV Sales

Following surges in the RV industry in both the United States and Canada, Europe is also noticing a rise in RV purchases as millennials seek affordable ways to get outdoors.

The latest numbers from the European Caravan Federation (ECF), show the European motorcaravan and caravan market did exceedingly well in 2016, registering its highest sales in seven years, according to CNBC.

A total of 170,064 leisure vehicles were newly registered in Europe in 2016, according to the ECF, a robust gain of 10.6%  and a trend, it says, that reflects the continued popularity of caravan camping and travel in Europe as a whole.

In the first quarter of 2017, Germany – the largest market for leisure vehicles – saw a 6% year-on-year rise, with 14,366 new registrations, whereas Great Britain showed a 6.6% rise with 9,770 new vehicles registered.

This comes as car sales in both countries remain weak, with Germany seeing just a 2% rise in the first half of 2017, and the U.K. seeing a contraction.

As well as buoyant consumer sentiment, many point to a rebranding and a change in attitude towards RVs, and also new vacation habits, with people tending to take shorter trips. RVs or campers may have reached their zenith in the 1970s, but fell out of favor in the 1980s and 1990s, as more and more holiday-goers made the most of cheap flights and package deals.

That appears to be changing with a new younger fan base that could potentially be spending cash in the sector for many years to come.

Volkswagen – synonymous with the VW camper – has spawned an entire sub-industry of companies that convert its commercial vans into habitable homes. However, the German automaker has itself launched several iterations of its new VW California campervan.

Complete with all the latest gadgets and driving aids a brand new vehicle can cost over £50,000 ($65,000). Mercedes also joined the market a few years ago with the Mercedes Marco Polo which can get even more expensive.

A week-long rental might be a better option for those that don’t want to buy, but that can still cost £900 ($1,170) for a top-of-the range California in peak season.

In the U.K., just under 900 new California models were sold as of the end of July, up 50% from last year and its Hannover factory in Germany saw a 37% rise in 2016 with 12,887 vehicles produced.

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