Buying a new motorhome can sometimes be just out of reach. It can be tough to fit all your wish list items in with your budget, and bigger units in particular can demand a large chunk of your savings.
But the option of buying something secondhand instead can often put people off. Ideally, you want something that is yours, and yours alone without anyone else’s scuff marks on the bumper bar or coffee stains on the dinette lounge.
But there is a way to get a near-new product that looks just as slick as when it first rolled off the production line, is built to last and fits a little more neatly into your budget.
A HUGE CHOICE
The RV Sales Centre in Melbourne is the outlet for refurbished rental motorhomes and campervans that have been part of the company’s rental fleet. The company regularly ‘retires’ rental vehicles to ensure regular supply to the sales yard, as well as to dealers around the country.
The models are from the company’s three brands – Maui, Britz and Mighty – and come in a number of shapes and sizes. These range from two-berth Toyota HiAce-based campervans up to four and six-berth motorhomes built on Mercedes, Volkswagen and Fiat chassis.
Neil Macpherson, Production Manager Australia, says the range of motorhomes for sale is a moveable feast, with a wide variety of styles, age of the vehicle and kilometres on the clock. It’s a combination of customer demand and regular rotation of rental vans to the sales yard.
“It’s always moving as all of a sudden people might want campervans, then it might be larger motorhomes, so we are constantly reviewing that as a fleet and with our dealers,” he says.
“Typically the units we take out of the rental fleet and refurbish for sale are between 12 months to five years old.”
All rental branding is removed and the new motorhomes are sold under the well-known Kea moniker.
SPIT AND POLISH
Before motorhomes are presented for potential buyers, they undergo a rigorous makeover. It takes a minimum of two weeks to prepare a van for sale as the team go over each unit meticulously, both inside and out.
“When a vehicle first comes off fleet we identify it from a paint and panel point of view so we identify what needs to happen with that vehicle to meet sales standards,” Macpherson says. “Stone chips, for example, are acceptable for a rental vehicle but not for sales, so we would have that bonnet stripped back, undercoated and repaired back to being near new.”
The team also goes through the vehicles internally with a fine-toothed comb to identify any parts that may be worn, broken or missing and replace or fix them.
“We open and shut everything, make sure everything locks and does everything that it should,” Macpherson says. “If you get cooktops or benchtops that are damaged, for instance, we will replace those.”
The vehicle is then given a deep cleaning by a professional detailer to make the vehicles look and smell beautiful once again.
Obviously, engine performance is a priority for customers, and Macpherson says each vehicle is given a rigorous once-over by the on-site mechanic as part of the comprehensive process.
“Servicing is important, so we identify whether that vehicle is due for a service and get that done,” he says. “We do a re-roadworthy inspection here, but it also goes off for a roadworthy inspection.”
Finally, each motorhome is given a full quality control check by the company’s experienced supervisory team.
WHY BUY AN EX-RENTAL?
The obvious reason for buying a refurbished model is price. You’ll save money with the initial purchase which means more money in your kitty for actual travelling expenses such as fuel and caravan parks, or to splurge on extra accessories for your motorhome (think a diesel fired heater for winter sojourns or perhaps extra solar panels to keep you powered up for longer).
The second reason is that the company’s rental RVs are built to withstand constant usage - great news for the longevity of your motorhome, as well as for resale value down the track.
“Everything we do is built for rental life, which is quite a tough life and with high utilisation with the customers,” Macpherson explains.
“Everything we do from purchasing parts to the design of the vehicle, we do it with a rental focus because, at the end of the day, we want our vehicles on the road and we pay more for quality components to do that.”
And the third reason is quality control. Macpherson says his team are highly experienced tradespeople and have many years experience in the RV industry as well as other high-tech manufacturing sectors.
“We have a healthy mix of young and mature workers on the floor with some who have come from Boeing and Toyota – they are really good at what they do,” he says.
“We also have a rigorous training program that a new person goes through when they start.”