English builder Swift Group Ltd. is hoping to tempt RVing families with the launch of their latest panel van conversion, the Autocruise Quartet.
Caravan Times reported that the market-leading Autocruise range of vans already includes five different layouts, and the Quartet is its first van conversion to offer four berths, including two bunk beds.
This is all cleverly packed into the Peugeot Boxer/Fiat Ducato bodyshell, meaning that just like every other Autocruise van conversion it is just 20 feet long.
The layout is made possible by a clever convertible double bed arrangement in the front end, while the van also includes rear seatbelts, so you can safely take the kids along with you.
Swift insists that this van is also practical for day-to-day use, whether you want to pop to the shops or explore the local area during a touring holiday.
The front driver and passenger seats also rotate 180 degrees, and this makes for a comfortable living room area to enjoy a meal or just relax in the evenings.
Other practical considerations include the rear loading doors, which allow easy access via the washroom, meaning bikes can be stored store bikes inside the van.
As well as all the functional features, the Quartet also boasts plenty of style; from the sequin lights that line the main entrance to the well-appointed kitchenette area.
Driving the van is a 2.2-liter Peugeot Diesel engine, which offers a six-speed gearbox. Swift claims this provides “the ideal combination of economy and performance”.
Alternatively, there is an automatic version, based on the Fiat Ducato and powered by a 2.3-liter engine. Both options are Euro 5 engines, which offer a 7% reduction in carbon emissions, when compared with the previous version.
Nick Page, commercial director at Swift, explained that “the Quartet is the result of a constant demand for a four-berth van conversion that can compete with lower priced coach-built models.”
Indeed, with the price set at around $63,500, the Quartet will be just as affordable as the popular Autocruise Accent and Alto layouts.
Caravan enthusiasts looking to scope out this brand new four-berth van can see the Autocruise Quartet on display at the Manchester Caravan & Motorhome Show, which runs at Event City Jan. 19-22.
Editor’s Note: Maarten Endel, GE Capital’s RV Industry Leader in Europe, shared some thoughts following this week’s announcement that the financial firm was providing a $45 million line of credit to Swift Group Ltd., a leading RV maker in the United Kingdom. The release, followed by Endel’s comments to RVBUSINESS.com, appear below.
GE Capital has agreed to provide Swift Group Ltd, the United Kingdom’s leading manufacturer of caravans (trailers), motorhomes and holiday homes, with a distribution finance facility that will provide the company with about $45 million (U.S.) of dealer stocking funds in 2010.
According to GE, Swift Group will benefit from guaranteed payment for shipped caravans and motorhomes, enabling the organization to focus on designing, manufacturing and selling its products.
Meanwhile, the extended terms provided by the GE Capital programm provide dealers in the Swift network with the flexibility they need to display product on site until it is sold onto end customers, according to GE.
The facility is expected to finance volumes exceeding $90 million U.S. in 2011.
“Providing adequate stock funding to our dealer networks is a vital cog in the retail chain, enabling dealers to display and therefore sell more of our products. GE’s support for Swift and the UK market is great news and will help the industry move out of recession more quickly,” said Nick Page, commercial director of Swift Group.
The agreement sees an extension of GE Capital’s support of the UK’s RV manufacturers, which has seen the company provide over $200 million of funding over the last three years, equating to more than 10,000 caravans, motorhomes and static homes, according to GE.
Maarten Endel, industry leader for RVs at GE Capital’s Distribution Finance business, said, “Swift Group is a great company with a stable and successful management team and we are delighted to play a role in the future growth of their business as they build on their recent success. Access to working capital is essential to manufacturers as we exit a recession and we are very pleased to be able to support Swift as the company returns to strong growth.”
Endel share these thoughts with RVBUSINESS.com:
How will this deal support caravan, motorhomes and holiday homes sectors?
This financing arrangement will support Swift by providing the company with access to funds the moment a new caravan or motorhome leaves the production line. In the current economic environment working capital is really important to companies and not having to wait until their products are sold to end users before accessing funds will help Swift finance further production as the economy recovers further and orders continue to increase. Additionally, as we will also be providing finance to Swift’s dealers, this allows dealers to hold more stock and their forecourt and so reduce waiting times for customers and allows dealers to showcase models that they may not have been able to in the past.
Why have you decided to make this support available now?
We work with over 50,000 SMEs in the UK to provide them with the finance they need to help them run their day to day business. Swift is a successful, privately owned mid-market company that we are very pleased to be able to support. We work with a large number of UK manufacturers such as Triumph, Jaguar Land Rover and Sunseeker to provide similar “distribution finance” arrangements. As the financial arm of an industrial company we understand production processes and asset values in a way that banks can’t and that enable us to create financing partnerships with manufacturers that we feel are unique. It’s not just about the finance but also about accessing our expertise in processes.
How in layman’s terms will this financing agreement help Swift as the economy moves out of recession?
Swift will be able to focus on what they do best: producing top caravans and motorhomes for customers knowing that they won’t be waiting weeks or months for payment. Getting finance from the moment they leave the production line is really important in the current economic environment. In addition, by providing finance to Swift’s dealers, we are able to help dealers sell more caravans and motor homes by reducing customer waiting times, holding more show stock and allowing them to order in advance of busy periods safe in the knowledge that they will have access to finance for that order.
About GE Capital in the UK
GE Capital is one of the leading commercial finance providers in the United Kingdom with major operations in asset-based, fleet, leasing and healthcare financial services. GE Capital has major offices in Bristol, Manchester, Sale and the London area and focuses on providing leasing and lending solutions, from working capital and investment finance through to fleet management and equipment leasing to mid-market customers.
About GE Capital
GE Capital, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn, is a global provider of financial products and services to businesses, retailers and consumers. It finished 2008 with net income of $8.6 billion and total assets in excess of $572 billion.