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Buying at a show - your input needed


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Hi all,

Excuse the intrusion of your scrolling time. I'm pulling together an article about buying a motorhome (new or used) from a show and wondered if any of you had done so recently, either at the NEC or an outdoor one. Do you have any advice for other forum users (and magazine readers wishing to do so). 

Just comment below or PM me!



MMM Deputy Editor

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  • Dinkydot changed the title to Buying at a show - your input needed

The below is from Italy but I think it can be applied anywhere.

A caravan and four campers (all new), two of them purchased at a fair and the third had the price blocked by the manufacturer for a purchase the following year.

I don't see any big differences except that at a fair you can sometimes take advantage of some offers or discounts. For example, the last one I bought, for the symbolic price of €1, had the awning, infotainment and rear camera from the factory.

At large trade fairs there may be representatives of the brand present, perhaps authorized to grant additional discounts that the simple dealer cannot cope with.

It happened to me that the representative accepted an overvaluation of my used camper, a sign that in some way the brand sometimes contributes to helping the dealers.

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Hi Rachel

I am not sure if buying a Hymer Van 522 at Earls Court in November 2005 counts as "recent" but the following "thoughts" may be of interest:-

As regards a trade in the dealer will be agreeing a price without seeing your vehicle and he will probably price it subject to seeing it (with assumptions that it is A1 probably). So there is scope for the trade in price to be pared down when the vehicle is seen/handed over. 

If the vehicle is not in stock there may be slippage on the delivery date and/or the trade in vehicle's value may change with time, use or mileage. The purchase documents should make it clear how this will be dealt with.

My above Hymer Van was one of the very first to be imported into the UK and I was able to negotiate what I thought was a very good deal. The nominal trade in value was very low so there must have been a big discount built into the bottom line.  We walked round Earls Court for several hours before returning to negotiate but the market and availability is probably different now but I would counsel readers to keep a calm head and not get carried away !

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Over the years we have bought several vans from shows due in no small part to a combination of a far better selection than one dealer, greater competition and very often advantageous terms. If not we didn't buy!

We always tried to choose a local(ish) dealer,  preferably a known dealer or at least one with a good reputation for customer service, as it is much easier to get any issues resolved if it is a short hop to the dealer than a several hundred miles expedition with overnights to consider.

Over a long period we got to know many dealers which made it easier for us but I get the perception that things may well have moved on since those days of stability of people and dealers.

I don't know about recent shows as the range of dealers attending has diminished sharply of late and the last shows we looked our perception was that they showed very few 'sold' signs on vans even on a Sunday.

I think maybe the days of shows are numbered due to spiraling costs?

But that is just a personal view - other views may differ!

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