Those are our winning manufacturers. What about this year’s best dealers? Survey respondents are asked about the seller’s knowledge and attitude, the condition and presentation of the caravans, the quality of pre-delivery inspection, the handover, and the efficiency with which any warranty claims were dealt. Finally, there’s the all-important question: “Would you buy a caravan from this dealer again?”
In many cases, the answer is an emphatic “yes”. The industry can give itself a collective pat on the back, with some extremely strong results. No fewer than seven dealers have earned a Gold Award, up from just three last year.
Peter Roberts Caravans in Huddersfield is this year’s winner in our New Caravans Best Supplying Dealer category. The dealership received full marks from every single respondent.
It’s very close in second and third. Coupland’s takes second spot with a satisfaction rating of 91.3%, just edging Broad Lane Leisure into third with 91%. Both have turned last year’s Silver Awards into Gold, with significantly improved scores. Last year’s winner, Blackmore Vale Leisure, may have dropped down the pecking order but still does enough to secure a Gold Award with a score of 89.7%. The other dealers reaching the gold standard this year are Salop Leisure, Shrewsbury (90.3%), Winchester Caravans (87.6%), and Davan Caravans and Motorhomes (82.3%).
Some fifteen dealerships earn a Silver Award, slightly up on last year’s ten. Top of the league is Swindon Caravan Centre (77.6%), which made healthy gains on its 2018 score of 70.8%. Even more dealers would have been in contention for awards had enough of their customers completed the survey. For example, last year’s second place finisher, Sussex Caravan Centre, earns a mention in dispatches this year and might have been at the sharp end once again had a few more owners responded to the survey.
Of course, the caravan itself is only part of the ownership experience. Good dealer service is vital to make owning a tourer enjoyable. It’s easy to be all smiles and handshakes when someone is handing over his or her hard-earned money, but the best dealers will be there for their customers through thick and thin. As the manufacturer portion of the survey shows, faults do crop up. What really counts is how quickly and courteously problems are put right.
Let’s look at dealers selling new caravans first. This year’s top spot goes to Blackmore Vale Leisure with a remarkable score of 97%. It’s an exceptional achievement from the Dorset dealership, and reflects strong scores across all aspects of the dealer’s operations, from sales to the pre-delivery inspection to warranty work.
Blackmore Vale Leisure has leap-frogged some more familiar names from previous surveys to take first place. Sussex Caravan Centre earned a Silver award last year with a score of 80%, but turns Silver into Gold in 2018 and moves into second position with a score of 92%. That’s a strong year-on-year improvement, founded on very good scores for every aspect of the dealer’s services.
Last year Ropers Leisure was mentioned in dispatches, with some very satisfied customers but not enough of them to provide a robust enough sample to include in the main results. With more completed surveys this year and most of them speaking of the Catterick Bridge dealership in glowing terms, Ropers finishes third scoring 88%.
Our top three are the only dealers to reach a high enough standard to earn a Gold award, but there’s a respectable number of high-achievers earning Silver. Some ten dealerships across the country make the grade, although that’s down from 16 last year. In fairness, many other dealers achieved strong scores but without enough respondents to give us the confidence to include them in the main results. Some 14 dealerships fall into this category, up from nine last year.
Overall, the best dealers are achieving very high standards, with even stronger scores than last year for the top three. The high flyers are backed by an able supporting cast, but with the majority of dealerships surveyed missing out on an award there’s work to be done for those at the wrong end of the league table.