With this year’s holiday season in full swing, wheelworldreviews.co.uk editor DAVID HOOPER visits motorhome manufacturer Auto-Trail to see what next year’s Tribute range has to offer.One of the Auto-Trail’s new Tribute range of motorhomes.
AUTO-TRAIL has just taken the wraps off its Ford-based Tribute model line-up for the 2012 season
With a new bodystyle option, fresh exterior graphics designed to give a brighter, younger feel, combined with trim and equipment upgrades inside, the Tribute range not only looks good, but has a quality, well-made feel to it. Prices for the six-model line-up start from £34,015.
Auto-Trail is part of the Trigano Group which has factories in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, as well as in Grimsby in the UK.
Stuart Turpin, one of the managing directors at the North East Lincolnshire-based manufacturer, said that as a company, Auto-Trail has enjoyed a massive increase in its market share, which he believes is something of a rarity in the current market, which currently stands at just over 4,000 registrations so far this year, with around 7,000 sales predicted for the full year.
Introducing the new model, he explained: “Here at Auto-Trail we pride ourselves on building the best, strongest, most reliable motorhomes on the market today.
“Our Tribute range offers customers a UK-produced vehicle which isn’t built on a Fiat chassis. “We feel the Ford platform is a good product and provides a reliable base vehicle,” he said.
Mr Turpin continued: “At Auto-Trail, we are good listeners and we get lots of feedback from our customers which helps us to refine and perfect the vehicles we build.
“After the market crash around three years ago, we revised our production processes and are now one of the most efficient manufacturers in the industry.
“We don’t have any stock problems – all of our vehicles are pre-sold and built to order.
“Around 7,000 motorhomes were registered in the UK last year, and we expect this year to be very similar.
“Our website has also seen a lot of changes recently and now features a growing Ask the Expert section, as well as offering customers the chance to book a factory tour, or join the Owners’ Club.”
The 2012 Tribute range is launched with the existing Euro 4 engines, but will adopt the next generation Euro 5 compliant Ford powertrains as they become available from December, and will cost just under £500 more, at £34,507.
The existing High-line style will be joined by a Low-line option for this season, available on the T-615 and T-715 models. The T-715 also gets a separate shower and fixed French-style bed.
As well as the new graphics on the outside of the vans which are intended to bring a younger, brighter feel to the range, the poly-plastic Luton window has been restyled, the centre grille and lower bumper are now colour-coded, while on a more practical note, front fog lamps, a heated windscreen and a passenger airbag become standard equipment.
Inside, new wood interiors have been chosen and these are trimmed with chrome fittings, which I thought gave the Tribute models I saw a very stylish, high quality appearance. There are also new carpets and upholstery, which this year includes the cab area.
Many motorhome buyers like to personalise their vehicles, so Auto-Trail have created a “Sports Pack” which costs £999 including VAT, but adds around £1,800 worth of equipment if the items were to be ordered separately.
It includes an exterior wind-out awning, a rear spoiler with high level brake light, a directional TV aerial, mains blown air heating, electrically heated and operated door mirrors, removable bound-edged carpeting, “Sports” decals and last but not least, two scatter cushions!
Air conditioning in the cab is becoming an increasingly popular option, and this can be ordered on the Tribute for an extra £995.
For more information, visit the company’s website, www.tributemotorhomes.co.uk