Holidays in a van or motorhome, a fashionable tourism that benefits the Alsatian site of the specialist Bürstner

The health crisis has amplified a well-established trend: the desire to be able to move, with the family, whenever and wherever. Vans and motorhomes, long considered obsolete, are on the rise, and the German company Bürstner is taking advantage of it. Its van model, launched a year ago, has its factory in Wissembourg (Bas Rhin).

The Lauterbourg campsite, on the border between the Lower Rhine and Rhineland-Palatinate, in Germany, still enjoys a certain tranquility in the face of the great influx of summer. But the occupancy rate will already reach 75% by Easter 2022. After two years under Covid, the season has started.

Well visible at the entrance of the establishment, the 32 pitches for caravans, motorhomes and vans. A dozen vehicles are already parked, the tables are outside, the bicycles await their owners, in the middle of a cafe in the sun.

“Mainly we have German customersexplain the Becks, who have been in charge of this municipal campsite for two years. They are great regulars of these itinerant trips in camper vans or converted vans. And it is true that more and more French people are also entering… although camping is still the last resort, because the interest of this type of holiday is to be able to stop anywhere, not necessarily in a campsite, where there are people! “

The great freedom is what attracts these road trip enthusiasts, who appreciate both the comfort of these vehicles and the autonomy they offer. The feeling of traveling while at home. Andrea and her husband, from Mainz, Germany, agree. “Sometimes we travel differently but that is what we prefer: being able to be in the middle of nature, stop, start again, stay as long as we want”.

They chose a motorhome. But the latest in this range of vehicles is now the van. “It’s multifunctional, The production manager of the Alsatian plant of the German company Bürstner, based in Wissembourg, is enthusiastic. With its ultra-compact size, it easily doubles as a second car—it doesn’t sit in the garage all winter! And when you want to go away for the weekend or on vacation, four people can comfortably sleep there, cook…”

The German caravan and motorhome specialist launched its van model a year ago. Sold from 45,000 euros, it is a great success. “We had planned a first year of testing, with 400 units. In the end, it was more than double what was produced!”company CEO Jens Kromer rejoices.

The thousandth van rolled off the assembly line in Switzerland in March, just over a year after its launch. 22 employees are now working on equipping the vehicle, although no model has left this site in 8 years. Only furniture was made there to equip the vehicles produced at the German parent company in Kehl.

Eight vans are now being assembled in Wissembourg every day, soon nine, as demand is strong: the order book is full for several months. “What pleases is the extreme flexibility of this model. It goes everywhere, it fits in all car parks with its height of 2m08, details Jens Kromer. You can take your children to school in the morning, go shopping with them in the afternoon and on Friday decide to put the bikes on and go for the weekend!

The van stands out for its extreme flexibility: you can take your children to school, do the shopping and on weekends decide to put your bikes in and go wherever you want.

Jens Kromer, CEO of Bürstner

For several years there has been an authentic “van life” fashion, with a real community, very present on social networks. The Covid effect did the rest: going by boat is not ideal, traveling abroad has become complicated… There, you can decide to go to Italy; Italy closes its borders, so head to Sweden!”

A niche that the group could not pass by. And a real blessing for the Alsatian site, which manufactures it. After undergoing a social plan in 2014, losing 180 jobs, he lives again. “We are very happy, Wissembourg is a historic Bürstner site, which has gone through difficult times, emphasizes the CEO. Now we are confident in the future, there is real momentum again.”

The team of 200 people active in Wissembourg could also be strengthened, hiring will continue if the improvement is confirmed.

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