avatar Jonathan February 28, 2022

What you should know if you’re thinking about buying a VW campervan

Confused by campervan-hunting? Here are some useful tips as you research and plan your big purchase.

A campervan is a big buy, especially if it’s your first one. It’s probably something you’ve been dreaming of buying and saving towards for many years. Now you’re getting ready to make your dream come true, but where do you start? How do you make the right choice?

Once the first daffodils of spring appear, a plethora of caravan and motorhome shows also start popping up. A walk around any show can easily make you even more confused, especially if all the campervans seem pretty similar at first.

But not all manufacturers want or need to exhibit at these shows; some prefer a more personalised approach instead. This can include inviting you to see the factory and production process, where you can have a behind-the-scenes look and appreciate the key differences between campervans.

VW conversions are a perennial favourite — but be selective

The majority of campervans are based on the legendary and excellent Volkswagen Transporter, which has been a really popular campervan base vehicle for 70 years.

This makes it a widely available choice, but choose where you buy carefully. Because of the evergreen popularity of VW campers, further fuelled by the pandemic staycation boom, many more companies have started converting them. Unfortunately, the quality of conversions, the materials used and the customer service before and after your purchase can vary enormously.

It’s really easy to be swayed by swish alloys, funky paintwork or a flashy website. They all look desirable. Enthusiasm and emotions can quickly let you get carried away into making a decision you might wish you’d put more thought into!

We recommend you dig a bit deeper than your first impressions to get a better insight into how professional the manufacturer is. We don’t mean just in terms of quality standards, but the whole buying and choosing process as well. You should be well looked after when making an investment like this.

What You Should Know Insert

Ask the right questions

Scouring the internet and visiting caravan and motorhome shows is a process that some enjoy more than others. If you like the look of the VW campervan you’ve seen at a local dealer or at a show, ask about the company that converts them.

  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is the customer service and aftercare like?
  • Are you able to choose the materials and trim to make your campervan bespoke to your taste and requirements (within reason)?
  • Does their website feature any recent customer testimonials?

You should also find out your options when it comes to buying:

  • Are they licensed to offer finance (up to 10 years for campervans)?
  • What about trade-ins? Would they accept any car, caravan or motorhome as a deposit towards your dream camper?

Check their supply and visit for a viewing

How long are you prepared to wait for your campervan once you’ve ordered it? Recently, availability of new vans has been an issue due to supply chain production delays, pushing up demand and prices. That means some converters have long lead times. Canny converters have good connections with the motor industry to secure a good supply of vans.

The capacity to keep production going at a decent rate varies according to the size of the campervan brand. Increasing capacity involves serious levels of investment to ensure customers can get their campers sooner rather than later.

A limited number of converters have dealer networks. This makes it easier to go and view some display models local to you, but you should still be able to visit the factory if you wish. A dealer will usually have accessories and servicing facilities available to you as well.

Your campervan may be more affordable if the converter uses used as well as brand new vans for the conversion. If used, how much choice will you have on the engine, transmission and colour? And do you have a preference for a tailgate or twin rear door?

Have a care for aftercare

Will they keep in touch with you once you’ve paid your money and hit the road? Check if the manufacturer or dealer offers any support if something goes wrong or if you can’t remember how everything works.

Do they provide any campervan how-to guides or videos covering frequently asked questions? What about informative campervanning articles featuring tips and inspiration? These might sound like minor points, but can be important and further indicators of how professional and enthusiastic they are about the ownership experience you have (and the memories that you make).

Keep an eye on the long term

The reputation and longevity of the manufacturer will make your campervan easier to sell when the time comes to update or upgrade it. Resale won’t be at the top of your agenda right now, but it’s worth keeping the possibility at the back of your mind.

We’re sure that whichever campervan you choose, you’ll fall in love with the lifestyle and never look back. We also hope that you’ll be happy you’ve received the right advice, made the right choice, and feel proud of the vehicle that ends up on your driveway.

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