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An American in Italy
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userJ7Crew
Posted: 12 July 2016 9:08 PM
Subject: An American in Italy
 
Just joined

Posts: 1



Ciao all! We are stationed in Italy and we are newbies to the world of caravaning. I am seeking some advice regarding purchasing a new European caravan to use during our time here and then to export (back to the US).

Does anyone happen to know of any reputable caravan brands which are US Safety compliant? Also, does anyone have any experience in exporting their caravan to the US.

We would be towing with a Honda Odyssey (max 3,500 lbs, or ~1,600 kg) and we are a family of six (twins 5 and 7).

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

Cheers,
Jeff
userBenH
Posted: 13 July 2016 3:07 PM
Subject: RE: An American in Italy
 


Having a look around

Posts: 32
25
Location: Bourne and Peterborough


Hi Jeff,

I'd say that the best bet is to get an idea of what layout or model you're looking for and then get in touch direct to enquire about if they're available in Italy. Many caravan manufacturers (link for a few options) export from the UK market to all over the world, adapting models for road conditions, trends, etc.

I'll look into the specifics of your query and get back to you as soon as I find any further details out!
userBenH
Posted: 14 July 2016 12:12 PM
Subject: RE: An American in Italy
 


Having a look around

Posts: 32
25
Location: Bourne and Peterborough


Right! *Deep breath*

Short answer, courtesy of the National Caravan Council...

NCC

It's best talking to Italian equivalent of the NCC – the APC details here:

http://www.associazioneproduttoricamper.it/en/

I asked a relevant colleague here, and he did suspect that no European made touring caravan would be US safety compliant, unless they had been made specifically for export to the US – if you see what I mean.

However, certainly worth him talking with the APC for more details!




Longer answer, courtesy of The Caravan Club...


The Caravan Club

This is not one I can give really specific advice on – it’s well outside my knowledge and experience in terms of the fine details, but I think I can offer some basic indications:

· The Italian caravan will be built to European/Italian laws for road vehicles and technical standards for the habitation area. Within Europe, the ‘vehicle’ aspects of this will be covered under European Whole Vehicle Type Approval, and there would therefore be few problems if the caravan were being moved between European countries. I’m not aware of any European caravan manufacturer who currently produces a model intended for US export, and thus which would inherently meet the US requirements, however

· The rules for caravans in the US would be based on American vehicle regulations, and on American standards for the habitation area. These are fundamentally different, and often incompatible. Issues such as towball size, road lights, tyres, allowable body dimensions, mains electrics etc. are all different, and would result in a need to modify the Italian caravan before it can be used on US roads. This is probably possible, but not straightforward, and almost certainly not cheap

· I don’t have any knowledge of the import regulations nor the vehicle registration requirements for bringing a vehicle into the US. It would be necessary to contact the relevant US authorities to establish these

· If determined to do this, I would recommend the owner tries to find a specialist exporter/dealer in Italy or a specialist importer/dealer in the US who has experience of this kind of thing. It would be unfortunate to end up with the caravan impounded by US authorities and prohibited from use on their roads. I don’t have any knowledge of such specialist, I’m afraid

· Even if made suitable for US use, there will still be challenges in terms of servicing and repairs (knowledge of European makes, suppliers and in some cases technologies will be scarce, if not not-existent, and parts would most probably need to be special order. If the Italian caravan is under warranty, if would probably be impossible to achieve the necessary servicing to maintain that warranty

· It is almost certainly a better plan to buy a caravan over in the US. Despite impressions otherwise, the US market does not consist only of 40’ long RVs….it’s actually hugely broad, and ranges from small trailer tents through caravans (or ‘travel trailers’) which are quite similar to European ones in size, weight and even style, and then on to larger caravans, fifth wheel trailers and motorhomes from modest van conversions up to those well-known large RVs. Some random examples of the more familiar kind of caravan available:

o http://coachmenrv.com/product-details.aspx?LineID=64&Image=6732
o http://crossroadsrv.com/category/light-weight-travel-trailers
o http://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/2017-hummingbird/
o http://www.lancecamper.com/travel-trailers/
o http://olivertraveltrailers.com/
o http://www.pacificcoachworks.com/category/travel-trailers/mighty-lite/

More options from all of the various sectors can be found on their manufacturers’ trade association website here.

Hope that helps!

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