A Midland caravan and motor home dealer saw sales jump 37.5 per cent last year – its best performance in two decades of trading.
Alcester-based Broad Lane Leisure, which also has retail sites in Kenilworth, Daventry and Rugby, saw used motor home sales leap by 100 per cent, second hand caravan sales by 41.4 per cent, helping it grow its £20 million turnover.
Broad Lane Alcester’s Darren Brown said there had been an “astonishing transformation” in business since late 2008, as people have turned towards caravanning because of unfavourable exchange rates in continental Europe.
He said: “Things looked grim. I recall the industry was rapidly bolting down the hatches; survival - rather than growth – was at the top of the agenda.
“Two major caravan manufacturers had gone to the wall because of over-production. Workers were being laid off and the five major survivors were scaling down production as fast as they could, cutting costs drastically across the board to avoid being saddled with product they could not shift.”
By mid 2009 production figures had dropped by 33 per cent and through lack of manufacturer confidence were by the end of the year lagging below levels necessary as demand escalated - but they could not switch production back on. Most dealers followed in the wake, reducing stock and cutting staff.
At Broad Lane Leisure in Alcester, the largest of the group’s sites, a longer vision was taken. “We hold the view that prospects are excellent largely because of the continuing weak state of sterling against the Euro.
“Families can’t afford to go abroad for their longer holidays and people of all backgrounds and ages – from the wealthiest to the less well-off – are scrutinising the challenges, opportunities and freedom that owning a caravan can provide.
“The turn-round in attitudes is astonishing – five years ago many of the people who bought caravans in 2009 would not have been seen dead in one.
“The Camping and Caravanning Club reported 64,000 new members in 2009, a 24 per cent increase on 2008 – with 9,570 new members in July alone.”