Top five show highlights from the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon
The show organisers CIVD expect a final tally to near 170,000 visitors this year.
Friday, 06, Sep 2013 12:45
by Chris Jefferies
From monocoque motorhomes to futuristic caravans and from space-age statics to inflatable awnings, the 2013 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon certainly didn't disappoint in terms of innovation.
The huge German market for touring vehicles has long been a source of inspiration for British designers, so this year CaravanTimes hopped across the channel to see what all the fuss is about.
The first thing that hits you is the sheer scale of the Messe Dusseldorf centre - it's so big that businessmen use Segway scooters to get to their meetings on time, and the activities spill out of the nine halls and into a huge courtyard.
It comes as no surprise then to learn that this year's show is set to smash the record attendance, with 108,000 visitors already.
The show organisers CIVD expect the final tally to near 170,000, making it almost twice the size of the UK's biggest offering.
But with so much to see, it can be quite a daunting task fitting it all in. Luckily our reporters have been scouring the halls to bring you the best of the best.
1. Knaus Tabbert Caravisio
The most hotly anticipated unveiling took place in Hall 16, where German manufacturing giant Knaus Tabbert showed off the Caravisio.
This futuristic concept caravan is the result of two years worth of research and development, working with partners such as Waeco and Dometic to create the most cutting-edge caravan possible.
Queues to enter the glamorous tourer stretched back across the hall and when our turn came we had to put on special rubber-soled shoe covers for fear of staining the immaculate interior.
Space age technology on board includes a finger scanner on the door to improve security and adjustable suspension controlled by an iPad app.
The real party piece came in the form of the video projector that descends from the ceiling and plays your favourite film or TV show on the translucent rear wall.
The projector could even be flipped, so you and your guests can watch your choice of movie from outside.
Despite offers of up to half a million euros, Knaus Tabbert insist that the Caravisio is not for sale, but it is a tantalising glimpse into what caravans of the future could look like.
2. Holtkamper Skywing
On a much more practical level, the Holtkamper stand in Hall 15 featured the very latest in awnings technology.
From inflatable awnings to inflatable trailer tents, there was plenty to attract passing punters, but it was the Skywing that really caught our eye (right).
This deceptively simple awning is half way between a canopy and a full awning, with a mechanism which is similar to a golf umbrella, meaning you can set it up in just 90 seconds.
Company head honcho Egbert Holtkamper explained that the peaked roof design should allow for fantastic views from mountainside pitches, and the design certainly stands out from the crowd.
Holtkamper trailer tents are imported into the UK through Black Country Caravans, but the Skywing awning is currently only available in continental Europe, with prices starting at 1,995 euros (£1,679).
3. Westfalia Columbus
In Hall 12 there were so many campervans built on the Fiat Ducato chassis that it could be hard to tell them apart.
But scratch beneath the surface of the Westfalia Columbus and it's easy to see why this is a standout option.
Featuring an innovative Fold-Flex bed conversion system, this four-berth model allows owners to turn two belted passenger seats into a double bed with a flick of the wrist.
What's more, this model comes with hot water central heating, which is particularly rare in the campervan sector.
Westfalia is coming to the Birmingham NEC next month for the NCC Motorhome and Caravan Show (15-20 October) and an announcement on new dealers is expected shortly.
4. Polyplastics Polyrama
Dutch company Polyplastics was the name behind the stunning vertical sunroof that Bailey has fitted to the Unicorn II, which won the CaravanTimes 2012 innovation award.
So we were keen to find out what this company has in the pipeline for 2014 and their stand in Hall 13 certainly didn't disappoint.
The Polyrama concept showed how this curved window design could be applied to the rear of a caravan, letting even more light into the interior.
What's more, a smart electric sliding sunroof was on display - we're told that this will be fitted to a production caravan before long, but they couldn't tell us any more than that.
5. BPW iTC
Elddis, Eterniti and Airstream owners will be familiar with BPW as the company that builds their chassis, trailer control systems and much, much more.
But what you might not know is that their technology has been making waves in the logistics world, with thousands of transport lorries across Europe fitted with their iTC tracking system.
And caravans and motorhomes could be getting this smart technology before long, which is much more than a stolen vehicle recovery system.
BPW's Matthias Adamsky explained that iTC can give detailed reports of the state of your van, such as its location, temperature and even whether the doors are open.
We could see this being hugely useful for owners who store their caravans during the winter months, as you can be alerted if the pipes are likely to freeze.
Best of the rest
With nine halls full of innovations and stylish designs, there is far too much to mention it all here, but we were also particularly impressed by the Oasi Grand Cru monocoque motorhome, the Coodo static caravan, the Al-Ko EM 1500 Segway scooter and the Mini Cowley Caravan.
Also special mention must go to Swift Group, who made their Dusseldorf debut by showing off the Sprite Cruzer and Alpine Sport in Hall 9.
To see more of our show highlights, click on the photo slideshow below:
Find more photos like this on CaravanTimes