| Uta Knapp |
Dusseldorf (dpa) – It weighs 18 tons and has 720 horsepower under the hood. This dream truck for fans of recreation vehicles (RVs) looks on the outside more like a heavy military vehicle and can go off-road without complaints.
The four-wheel-drive manufacturer Action Mobil recommends its top-of-the-line model for things like crossing a desert or exploring a landscape on a remote corner of the planet.
At the recent Camping Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, the largest of its kind in the world, this “special vehicle for distant travels, expeditions and science” was one of major attractions, while looking somewhat out of place alongside tamer camping vans, caravans and RVs.
A basic version of the Action Mobil off-roader costs around 850,000 euros (1.12 million dollars) – and that’s before value-added tax.
It’s not so basic of course: the camper gets a built-in stove, a washer-dryer and a flat-screen television out in the desert.
A satellite link with worldwide connections guarantees that the traveller can always keep in contact with loved ones back home.
Some 580 exhibitors at the Caravan Salon, a trade fair in Dusseldorf, were showing off the latest trends in the camper and RV industry.
Although luxury caravans at 150,000 euros and above only make up about five per cent of the RVs sold in Germany, an entire exhibition hall was set aside to drool over this upper class of mobile homes.
By request, such caravans can be accessorised with a sauna, a swimming pool or even a pop-up garage for a sports car or boat.
There was plenty at the Caravan Salon to choose from for buyers with more modest budgets. An array of around 1,900 vehicles was on show.
For beginners there were bare-bones caravans starting at around 7,000 euros.
The strongest demand in recent years in Germany has not been for trailers, but for motorised vacation homes.
In newer models, manufacturers have been putting the emphasis on weight-saving materials, according to Hans-Carl Sternberg of the German Caravaning Industry Association.