23 Mar 2010

Motorhome company ready to roll again

12:32 pm on 23 March 2010

Though badly hit by the recession, a firm that has been making caravans and motorhomes for New Zealanders since the 1950s believes the market is poised to bounce back.

Pukekohe-based Trail Lite makes luxury motorhomes and campervans to order, with customers spending an average of$230,000 on their dream vehicle.

Up until the recession, which drastically hit sales, the company had been growing at a rate of about 30% a year.

General manager Shaun Newman says sales flattened out during the downturn but market share expanded as the company's competitors crumbled, and it bought rival Roadcraft, which was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the country last year.

After a tough two years, he says, he's confident the market will bounce back this year - not least because retiring baby-boomers are not the only ones driving growth: Mr Newman says it's encouraging that his customers are getting younger.

The family-owned company has had an increasing number of inquiries from Australians looking to buy a bespoke motorhome, so he is hoping to export them there by the end of the year.

Despite intense competition across the Tasman, Mr Newman says he is confident Trail Lite's quality of design and manufacture will give them an edge.

Trail Lite generated sales of more than $14 million last year.