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The COVID-19 impact on the UK motorhome industry

Travel tourism and automotive sectors are amongst the worst affected with travel and production being forced into a standstill since early March, so what impact has this had on the UK motorhome industry?

COVID-19 has impacted every industry in 2020 and will continue to have an impact even with the easing of lockdown due to the economic standstill that has taken place this year along with continued concerns about the virus. Travel tourism and automotive sectors are amongst the worst affected with travel and production be-ing forced into a standstill since early March, so what impact has this had on the UK motorhome industry?

Manufacturing on hold
Motorhome manufacturing has been put on hold until recently not only in the UK but around the world with factories being forced to close as a result of the virus. This creates several issues for the industry and there are likely to be a handful of companies that are unable to survive as a result of having to close the doors for so long. Ben Hue of Comfort Insurance recently stated that motorhome sales had fallen in line with car sales with the lowest sales volume since 1946.

Tax decision reversal welcomed
The motorhome manufacturing industry was already in a difficult situation prior to the pandemic due to the motorhome tax which was imposed in September by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his first budget, which saw an enormous hike up more than 700% in certain cases through a classification change to the vehicles. Fortu-nately, this decision was reversed which will positively impact the industry and not deter people from purchasing campervans.

Rise in staycations give cause for hope
While there certainly are concerns in terms of motorhome manufacturing, there is confidence that it will bounce back especially with the rise in staycations for the near future. With borders closed, strict travel restrictions, health concerns and fi-nancial worries, more and more people will be staying in the UK for their holiday in the short-term which has led to a sharp rise in the sale of motorhomes. 

This is welcome news and will start to make up for the loss of business in two of the busiest months for motorhome sales – March and April. This rise in demand has been reported by motorhome dealers, classified advertising websites and manufacturers who are reporting an enormous rise in demand for caravans and campervans – one dealer even reported selling a month’s worth of stock in the first week after lockdown.

The best way to relax post-lockdown
Ben Cue of Comfort Insurance explained how motorhome vacations will be the perfect way to relax after lockdown with "opportunity to escape to a safe place where any social distancing restrictions that may be imposed, can easily be ad-hered to whilst being able to enjoy the open spaces that the UK has to offer.” Camping sites are set to reopen in July and many people will be desperate to get away even if it is a staycation having spent so much time at home and in such stressful circumstances in the months gone by.

It has been a difficult year for the UK motorhome industry, but things look bright-er going forward with a sharp increase in demand signalling that UK staycations will be on the rise.

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