Germany-based Westfalia has launched a new model to mark this year’s 60th anniversary of the camper van with today’s (Aug. 26) world premiere unveiling of the “Jules Verne” at the start of this year’s Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf.
As original creator of the camper van, Westfalia is also marking its anniversary with a limited anniversary edition of the new model: the “Edition 60” of the Jules Verne with luxury fittings and offering “exactly what it takes to become a collector’s item,” according to a press release. The Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf is running Aug. 26 through Sept. 4 at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Center.
Westfalia said it is breaking entirely new ground with the Jules Verne: the anniversary model is the first camper in the van segment to be equipped with two built-in single beds. The vehicle is also equipped with a toilet, which can be conveniently stored underneath one of the beds. With its latest innovation, Westfalia is offering a home on the move to the growing number of couples on the go.
Westfalia said that the Jules Verne is great for longer trips, and is equally convenient for short city breaks or weekend visits. Despite its compact design, the Jules Verne is equipped to the full: the integrated kitchen unit features a hotplate, refrigerator and sink, and the roller-shutter cabinet provides enough storage space for all kitchenware.
The model offers the benefits of low overhead clearance for everyday use, but also has the distinctive Westfalia roof pop-up to provide a comfortable standing headroom. The Mercedes Vito provides the base vehicle for the model. It leaves the factory with two floorplans as a three-seater and a five-seater. With the start of the Caravan Salon the model goes on sale, and shipment is due to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The camper van is turning 60 and German-based Westfalia, constructor of the original camping bus, announced the upcoming launch of an innovative anniversary model on a “tried-and-tested vehicle base.”
A strictly limited special edition version, the “Edition 60” will be presented to the world at this year’s Caravan Salon Düsseldorf. The name of the series model will be announced at the presentation.
Around 1950, the then-small Westphalian company constructed a totally new kind of vehicle. According to the builder, it was a revolutionary design that would become a vehicle category in its own right and would play a role. The Westfalia Camping Bus, called the “Camping Box,” went on sale for the first time in 1951 and now, 60 years later, the concept is as up-to-date as it ever was.
To mark this anniversary, Westfalia is launching the Edition 60, a vehicle that perfectly merges the spirit of the original bus with the technical and functional capabilities available in 2011. To mark the start of the anniversary, there will be an exclusive and limited special edition that will be followed in a few weeks by a series production model.
With this newly developed vehicle, Westfalia said the legendary brand will set new standards in terms of innovation, comfort and convenience in its anniversary year as well. The Edition 60 is the first camper in the van segment to be equipped with two built-in single beds. Customers also have the option of choosing a floorplan with one built-in bed plus a two-person bench seat that can easily be converted into the second bed in next to no time at all. If more storage space is needed, the head ends of the beds can be folded up separately to create space for sports gear or bulky luggage.
Despite the space required for the built-in single beds, the vehicle is equipped with a convenient toilet. It can simply be pulled out on guide rails from under one of the beds and then stored. This ensures it can be easily accessed by both travelers without one person disturbing the other during the night.
The vehicle’s other furnishings and fittings also feature a high level of functionality, comfort and convenience. In the cozy seating group, a table can be revolved on its swivel joint to provide a dining table, desk or surface for playing games without the table having to be set up by any complicated means. If the driver’s seat and front passenger’s seat are rotated around and another seat is folded out of the right-hand single bed, a comfortable seating area can be created for up to three people. The integrated compact kitchen unit has everything required for a trip: a compressor cooler, sink, hotplate and a space-saving roller-shutter cabinet.
Thanks to this layout, all the interior fittings can be used without any need to convert or set up anything. And despite the low height, which makes the Edition 60 suitable for everyday use, it provides a great deal of space in which to move around and stand up comfortably thanks to the generously sized roof cutout and the pop-up top.
The new model will be available in two versions. The Mercedes Viano – the base vehicle for the special edition model that is limited to only 60 units worldwide – provides the ideal foundation on which to create a conversion offering an outstanding level of comfort. The series model will subsequently be manufactured based on the more compact Vito.
The German-built Westfalia motorhomes manufacturer, CVC Camping Van Conversion GmbH, has been saved, according to a news release.
Insolvency administrator Rainer Eckert has sold the business operations of the company to the French Rapido Group. Rapido, one of the leading enterprises in the development, production, and sale of recreational vehicles in Europe. The French firm has agreed to take on all of the over 100 employees and preserve the Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, site. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The creditors have already approved the transfer.
“With Rapido we have found an investor that offers a viable strategy for the future of the Westfalia brand,” explained Eckert, after the contract of sale was signed. “Rapido, furthermore, has the necessary industry and market know-how at its disposal and is ready and in a position to make the necessary investments.”
“As an innovation leader in van conversion, Westfalia is the perfect addition to our product portfolio in the Rapido Group,” emphasised Rapido CEO Pierre Rousseau. Rousseau went on to explain that Westfalia is not only a brand with prestige but also a synonym for innovation and quality. “We are very confident we can soon lead the company back to its former strength again,” he said and added that the Rapido Group has an in-depth knowledge of the dealer networks in Europe, which represents a significant development potential for Westfalia. With the purchase, the Rapido Group is pressing ahead with its activities to expand its international presence.
CVC Camping Van Conversion GmbH had filed for insolvency in January after a severe slump in sales. Despite the difficult market environment, Eckert managed to stabilise the business operations quickly and restructure the company. He also succeeded in retaining the interest of the important OEM partners Mercedes, Opel, Ford, and Fiat – besides its own models, Westfalia also produces motorhomes for automobile manufacturers, such as the Marco Polo for Mercedes, the Transit Nugget for Ford, and the Opel Vivaro Life.
This gave Eckert time to search calmly for a suitable investor. During the insolvency proceedings, Eckert even spurred on the development of new products. Thus, only recently, at the end of August at Caravan Salon Düsseldorf, Westfalia presented the new “Columbus” motorhome with its innovative interior concept, which caused a sensation amongst customers and the trade press alike.
Westfalia motorhome manufacturer, CVC Camping Van Conversion GmbH (CVC), Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany, is undergoing restructuring.
The company wants to utilize insolvency proceedings to bring about an effective and sustainable realignment of its business, according to a news release.
Important prerequisites for this realignment have already been established. After the company filed for insolvency last Wednesday (Feb. 3), Mercedes, Opel, Ford and Fiat assured their full support for the restructuring of the motorhome manufacturer.
CVC, which acquired Westfalia products from Daimler AG in 2007, produces various models for its OEM partners, such as the Viano Marco Polo, Ford Transit Nugget, and the Opel Vivaro Life.
The vehicle manufacturers have assured delivery of the base vehicles as well as their purchasing of the finished models.
”The support of the OEM partners clearly shows the confidence of the manufacturers in the future of the company and the Westfalia brand,” emphasises the preliminary insolvency administrator Rainer Eckert of law firm Eckert Rechtsanwälte. ”This also includes development partnerships, such as those that exist with Fiat, being continued as planned.”
Thus, a new Westfalia model based on the Fiat Ducato is expected to be launched already in a few months time. Development of the prototype is currently continuing in full swing.
Alongside the OEM partners, the main suppliers have also assured their support. ”Full production is currently continuing and is also guaranteed for the coming months,” Eckert said.
After the slump during the first half of 2009, incoming orders were in the meantime staying at a constant level, he added. The salaries and wages for the approximately 170 employees are assured for three months through the insolvency allowance.
With the application for the opening of insolvency proceedings, the search for a suitable investor has at the same time also begun: ”We shall shortly be getting in contact with potential interested parties,” Eckert explained. The contract will be awarded to the investor offering the best, most viable strategy for the future.