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Advice re Laika and dealer needed please!


Hazy Baby

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Hi everyone. A year or so ago I bent your ears asking for advice on Rapidos in general and the small A class 903F in particular and got by reply lots of useful information. Well, to cut a long story very short my OH and I tracked one down to Brownhills at Preston, trudged from Sheffield to view it and it turned out to be disappointing - for our needs that is. So we've kept looking for a 6m van in order to replace our 2002 Knaus. We cannot have a van larger than 6m. We went to the NEC show in October and we very impressed with a Laika 595R, so much so that when we came home we contacted the sole dealer of Laika, in this country, Southdowns Motorhomes at Portsmouth and put a small deposit down so that an order could be placed. We are off down to Portsmouth next week to double check everything and hopefully confirm our order. Its a long way from Sheffield! - so 2 things to ask:- does anyone have any experience good or bad re the dealer and experience good or bad re Laika - if its of the 595R that would be perfect - but anything really to hopefully show they are a good manufacturer, spares easy to come by etc etc. Thanks in anticipation. Hazel
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I have limited recent experience of Southdowns, and that experience has been all good. I have found them very helpful with a couple of problems on our van, despite them not having supplied it, and my only turning to them when the previous dealer I had dealt with stopped trading. I believe they have handled Liaka vans for a considerable time, so have a good relationship with the factory.

 

A near neighbour had a Liaka he bought from Southdowns, that had a persistently evasive leak neither he, nor they, could find. They continued trying to find/fix the leak without charge long outside the warranty period. He recently sold the van - just after they finally claimed to have solved the problem! His non-Liaka van now also leaks!

 

Liaka are part of the Hymer group, and are one of about 3 Italian manufacturers I would trust. They have a generally good reputation for build quality and after sales service, and if you hit a real problem, they will receive you at the factory (or at least they have done this in the past) to fix it. Long way, though! Having said that, they, like all manufacturers, are not perfect, and can have their "off" moments.

 

I think you may find the water ingress checks have to be carried out six monthly: I seem to remember my neighbour telling me so. Personally, however, I think you could have done a lot worse with both van and dealer. If you can, I'd be inclined to stick with them, even if it means moving south! :-)

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Thanks Brian! All confidence boosting stuff!!! As I've said, Sheffield to Portsmouth is a long way and we don't really want to move house (!) so all positive views on the dealer /manufacturer make us feel much better about proceeding with the order. Fingers crossed no leaks or anything else..................we have been so very lucky with our 10 year old Knaus as nothing has gone wrong with it. A miracle when you think about what could have in that time!!! Thanks again. Hazel
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Cute van for a cute gal I think Judge! We are both small and hopefully well kitted out! Seriously, you are right about the 6 monthly water ingress check being slightly worrying. However, we have seen nothing re this on the Laika web site or the blurb we got at the NEC. Something to ask when we go down to continue (or not!) the sale........................Hazel
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Hazy Baby - 2012-11-10 6:12 PM

 

Cute van for a cute gal I think Judge! We are both small and hopefully well kitted out! Seriously, you are right about the 6 monthly water ingress check being slightly worrying. However, we have seen nothing re this on the Laika web site or the blurb we got at the NEC. Something to ask when we go down to continue (or not!) the sale........................Hazel

The answer is on Southdowns web site, here: http://tinyurl.com/ben5phe.

 

The inspections are now 12 monthly, but for vans made before 2004 were six monthly. I said my neighbours van was well beyond its warranty date! Apologies if I caused you palpitations. :-)

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Hazy Baby - 2012-11-10 4:32 PM

 

Thanks Brian! All confidence boosting stuff!!! As I've said, Sheffield to Portsmouth is a long way and we don't really want to move house (!) so all positive views on the dealer /manufacturer make us feel much better about proceeding with the order. Fingers crossed no leaks or anything else..................we have been so very lucky with our 10 year old Knaus as nothing has gone wrong with it. A miracle when you think about what could have in that time!!! Thanks again. Hazel

 

Hi hazel

Agree Sheffield to Portsmouth a long way. We live in Portsmouth and are going to Sheffield next Friday for our Grandaughters graduation at the uni. Have used Southdowns once or twice, always found them very helpful , I love looking at there stock vans, they have some real expensive beauties, which you could live in all year round, sadly we could not drive them (even if we could afford one) . Enjoy your trip to the warm and hopefully sunny south coast

P Jay

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We bought our Laika from them at the start of the year. I had never heard of the brand before and went for a look see. I have to say that I have been impressed with the Laika and would have another.

 

The salesman part of the sale, was to be honest much the same as any car/van/motorbike dealer I have ever come across. They try to keep their profit margin, commission up and I tried to get the best deal. But nice enough in the process.

 

We had some extras fitted before picking it up. my only gripe from that experience. We gave them many weeks to fit the extras and do the relevant bits and pieces. They delayed once which we accepted. The second I could not because of leave from work. When we turned up it was still being worked on so had plenty of sitting around in their showroom. However they made good on that and I was happy again.

 

The van needed some warranty work on it and with no fuss they ordered the parts and we dropped the van off for this to be done. They left a hook up out for us so we could come down the night before to drop it off. Absolutely no grief at all. I did think they were a little slow doing the work and keeping me updated on what was happening. They did forget to clean up the inside after the work which was my biggest grumble.

 

All in though, If that continues to be my only grumbles then to be honest I am happy. There are people that have had far worse with their dealers. I know there are some that have had issues with southdowns but I am not one of them.

 

You can get the damp check done at any dealer to keep the warranty valid.

 

They have always been polite and helpful though. The van I am more than happy with.

 

Laika themselves have been good when I have emailed the factory and will send you an electronic manual. So I do not need the paper copy kept in the van. Sounthdowns spares dept have also been quick at answering emails I have sent them.

 

Enjoy and welcome to the Laika family.

 

 

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sss - 2012-11-11 5:04 PM

 

...You can get the damp check done at any dealer to keep the warranty valid....

 

 

Are you absolutely certain that's the case, as it would be unusual for a new motorhome?

 

Normally a motorhome manufacturer will insist that, to maintain the validity of a new motorhome's 'watertightness' warranty, damp checks must be carried out only by an agency officially marketing that make of motorhome.

 

There's a piece on Page 2 of this Laika Club newsletter that seems to suggest that Southdowns Motorhome Centre would be the only dealership authorised to carry out Laika warranty-related damp checking.

 

http://www.laikaclub.com/uploads/4/1/6/5/416527/june_newsletter_2012_edited.pdf

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Hi Hazel

I bought a Laika 11 years ago but unfortunately not the model you are interested in, mine was an Ecovip 3L 6 berth on a Fiat Ducato 2.8 JTD chassis, I bought this new from Dave Barrons in Coppul Nr. Chorley.

The build quality in my opinion was excellent as was their attention to detail, the only problem I had with the van was the electric double step had, over the years, become very worn and loose on the hinges and would not close properly but by this time Barrons had gone into liquidation and the company that took over (Discover Leisure) where not interested in Laika`s, fortunately for me my nephew decided to get married in Sorrento on a beach overlooking the Bay of Naples so we drove to Italy and called in at Laika`s factory on our way, when we explained to the staff what the problem was they offered to either make and fit a new step or rebuild the one that was on, we opted for the rebuild which only took a couple of hours to complete and at a very reasonable price, so if the new owners "Hymer" are as good as the original manufacturer you should have a well built van that will last you for many years.

By the way, did you know that the founder of the company named it after a dog called Laika, this was the dog that the Russians placed in a rocket and sent into space.

 

Regards

Phil

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sss - 2012-11-12 10:51 AM

 

Derek,

 

They may need to check with Southdowns for a new van damp checks. Ours was second hand but still within the manufacturers damp warranty and they told me I could use a local dealer.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback. It's something Hazel may want to confirm when she visits Southdowns.

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We have a four year old Laika, bought new from the then dealers Lowdhams, who neither knew or cared about us or the van.

 

Ours is built to a very good standard (for the price) and we are very pleased with it. We have had problems but the factory are very good at getting back to us if we e mail them with queries.

 

I would definitely buy another Laika :-D

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Thanks both for this further info. We will check re the warranty work being done nearer home. That would be very useful! As regards, Lowdhams, we bought our Knaus from them 10 years ago and found the same problem with aftersales apathy and parts availability. Seems they have not improved much...................Hazel
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  • 5 months later...
Dear all, further to all above, we took a deep breath and ordered a Laika X595R from Southdowns last November and were given a delivery date of April. The whole experience of ordering was as expected a very pleasant one! We heard nothing more but I thought I would phone for an update a couple of days ago as April is nearly over. I asked for the rep who had sold us the van to be told "Oh he left some time ago for personal reasons" and then "oh it may be May or June before the Laika is delivered". Now, is it us, or does anyone agree that this is bad customer service. Surely when a rep leaves it would only be courteous to let his customers with outstanding orders know especially if delivery is delayed. Not smarting much, as from previous experience, we know that vans are usually "late" but it would have been nice to have had a call from Southdowns. Hope this isn't a sign of things to come........................... *-)
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I don't believe a customer should expect a motorhome dealership to advise him/her of staff changes, but I do agree that an anticipated delay in a new motorhome's delivery-date should be made known to a customer as soon as the delay has been recognised.

 

Me, if I'd been told in November 2012 that a motorhome I was ordering would be delivered to me in April 2013, I'd be checking well before April that the delivery-date remained unchanged.

 

In your case, you'd be well advised to insist that Southdowns firm up on when your Laika will be delivered to you. Will it be May, or will it be June? Surely Laika should be able to tell Southdowns? What will you do if the delivery-date slips even further? While it's far from rare for motorhome delivery-dates to slip, you are currently looking at a possible 2-months slippage with (apparently) no certainty it won't slip again.

 

I suggest you obtain confirmation (via e-mail or letter) that your Laika will be delivered by June 2013 at the latest, and advise Sothdowns that "time is of the essence" regarding a June 2013 delivery-date. Hopefully there won't be a problem, but you'd be sensible to protect yourself and to make Sothdowns aware that they have a responsibility to deliver your motorhome to you in an acceptable time-frame.

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Thanks for this advice Derek. Whilst we agreee that staff changes are really none of our business and will happen from time to time we still think, with the delivery date slipping, it would have been nice to have had a courtesy call. At the time of order we were told not to worry if we didn't hear anything as this meant all was well! We will take your advice and get them to firm up on a date in writing. The first week of June is really our cut off date as we can't go abroad in our present van with a new van hopefully coming any time soon! Hazel
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Veggielover - 2013-04-21 10:36 AM

 

I agree that the lack of courtesy in informing you of further delays does suggest sloppy management. Can I ask if you intended trading in your Knaus, or selling it privately?

 

Chris

 

 

We are trading it in Chris! Mainly because its our only vehicle so need it until getting the new van, we use it a lot to go away as we are retired and after lots of haggling we think we were offered a good price for it. If you are in the market for a second hand sub 6m coachbuilt you could do a lot worse than look at a Knaus Traveller 505 (our model!). Its been a fantastic little motorhome with a brill spec and build quality. We have had no problems with it. The only reason we are parting with it is, that as we are getting older, climbing up the ladder to the massive overcab bed is getting trickier and we need a van with a garage so my OH doesn't do himself any damage lifting electric (and therefore heavy) bikes on and off the bike rack! Happy hunting. Hazel

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Many thanks for the recommendation Hazel. I have recently retired and am looking for a first MH, and have been impressed by a couple of Knaus vans that I have seen advertised on the net, partly because of the neat shower (I can't start the day without one!) and because I get the impression that foreign manufacturers design in all weather capability. I am off to Southsea in a minute and will call in at Southdowns on the way to see what their current stock is, as I know from previous visits that their website listings are always long out of date. Another sign of sloppy management.

 

Chris

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