This summer, on the road to vacation, you may come across a lot more than usual. Motorhomes have indeed become very popular since last year. The proof ? While in 2020, sales of new cars fell by 24% in Europe, those of leisure vehicles (including motorhomes, vans and campervans) increased by 12%, according to figures from the European Federation. caravanning.
Romain and his partner are among these new owners. “We bought a vintage motorhome in June 2020,” he explains. Personally, I have always had the will to orient myself towards this type of vacation. For my partner, it was the confinement that convinced her. The oppression of our 30 m2 apartment gave him this desire for freedom. “
“We will surely beat our record”
Same reflection for Cécile: “Last May, we took the plunge and bought a motorhome. We are going to use it for the summer holidays, but also for the weekends. It is a project that has been close to our hearts for a long time. It is possible that the health crisis has accelerated our thinking, because of a need for new freedom ”.
A “pandemic effect” confirmed by Antoine Guéret, sales and marketing director of the Pilote group, motorhome manufacturer. “At the end of the first confinement, in May 2020, we immediately observed a strong resurgence of interest. Over one year (September 2020-August 2021), we will surely beat our production record, with 7,000 motorhomes sold ”.
Back to nature?
According to the specialist in the sector, two main reasons motivate buyers: “The first is that this type of vehicle makes it possible to adapt to a changing health situation, where you do not know when and how you can leave. . The second is that the confinement made everyone take a step back. Many remembered RV trips as children, and it may have been a source of motivation ”.
Another aspect could also have played a role. On social networks, several backpackers in fact praise the advantages of “Van Life”, by sharing pictures or videos in their equipped vehicles. On Instagram, the “stars” of this movement have more than 100,000 subscribers. The ideas promoted are often the same: the motorhome (or campervan) is associated with freedom and a return to nature.
“Freedom does not exist”
An image that can be tricky. “The interior fittings of motorhomes are indeed worthy of small studios,” explains Laurent, who bought one last year. But there is no such thing as freedom. We are bulky on the road and in the parking lots. We’re too big to find secret locations. We are driven out almost everywhere, because there are far too many of us, and we find ourselves parked in increasingly expensive areas ”. Disappointed, Laurent finally decided to resell his vehicle.
“The idea of barrier-free mobility is of course wrong. The motorhome is dependent on infrastructures such as campsites, sanitary facilities and resources such as electricity and water. And wild camping is banned in many European countries. We often have access to a rather “ordered” version of nature ”, complete with AFP Hege Hoyer Leivestad, professor at Stockholm University, and author of a book on motorhomes and caravans *.
In addition, the motorhome remains an expensive good and not necessarily accessible to all budgets: the first models are around 40,000 euros, the mid-range being around 50,000 to 60,000 euros. And with an average consumption of 10 to 12 liters per 100 km (very variable depending on the model), the “nature” side also takes a hit. But not enough to distract new motorhome fans.
* « Caravans: life on wheels in contemporary Europe », Bloomsbury, untranslated, 2018.