Tourism Holdings Limited (thl) is the world’s largest operator of motorhome rentals. In Australia, the company is well known for rental campervans thanks to its Maui, Britz and Mighty brands, but thl is also an Australian manufacturer of motorhomes.
Over ten variants of motorhomes, campervans and 4WD Campers are designed, assembled and produced each year at the company’s factory in Braybrook, Melbourne – and all of them are constructed with the ultimate customer experience and longevity in mind.
“We build motorhomes for customers to own from new but the majority of our fleet is built for rentals first – and that means it’s built to last,” explains Neil Macpherson, Production Manager Australia.
To achieve the robust quality of our fleet, we design accordingly and purchase stronger components and parts; meeting both form and function requirements of our customers.
The four campervan models built in the Melbourne factory are the two-berth HiTop, the four-berth Voyager, which are Toyota Hiace conversions and the two-berth Ultima and three-berth Nomad, both of which feature bathrooms and are currently built on Mercedes Benz Sprinters.
“Our Toyota and Mercedes Benz vehicles are supplied to the team, who work in eight hour-shifts to transform them into beautiful motorhomes”
First, an underbody seat channel is fitted so seats can be secured within the vehicle and then brackets go in the floor and the seat frame.
Macpherson says all work carried out is approved to Australian Design Rules standards (ADR). The motorhomes then progress to the cutting stage, where magnetic ‘templates’ are placed on the exterior of each vehicle so the team can cut the correct-sized holes for gas barbecue, roof hatch, air-conditioning, 240V and the hot water system. “As any good workman would know, a template ensures holes are in the right place and cut to the right size”. Then the roof lining goes back in, the trimming is done, panels go back on and the furniture is bolted in.
“Once the furniture and trimming is done, the vehicle goes onto the hoist which is where we install our fresh water tanks, waste water tanks, our gas lines before the electrician wires up the vehicle.
“Clearly compliance and safety are top of mind for us and we have a qualified gas installer and a qualified electrician onsite, so everything is certified and tested,” he says.
Once the motorhome is finished and all the living equipment added (everything from pillows to plates), a Quality Insurance inspector completes a rigorous control checklist to ensure it is ready to roll onto the rental fleet or our vehicle sales yard.
The company’s range of larger motorhomes and are built by, and imported from Action Manufacturing Limited in Auckland, New Zealand, a joint venture company with thl.
Design and innovation is a collaborative effort bringing together a wealth of knowledge and experience from the thl and Action Manufacturing teams. We are all passionate about creating optimal use of interior space and exterior features to enable the very best of RV experiences.
This larger motorhome range includes the four-berth KEA Discovery and six-berth River. The Melbourne team provide the final fit-out.
Macpherson says there are 20 staff on the production floor who work on a variety of manufacturing projects, and all are incredibly skilled and dedicated about what they do.
“We have a healthy mix of young and mature guys and girls. Some of the team have come from Boeing and Toyota,” he says. “A few years ago when a lot of manufacturing plants were closing in Victoria we were able to secure that key talent and they are really good at what they do.”
“We are incredibly proud to build locally with products that meet local demand; and of course to be part of the Australian manufacturing industry”.
Fortunately, the Melbourne factory is on the same premises as the RV Sales Centre where customers can purchase any of these vehicles. Customers are also welcome to take a tour of the factory to view the build process in action!