Camper trailer manufacturing and the subsequent import industry have come a long way since the first leading examples from China that were so poorly made many fell apart on their maiden voyage. However, due to overwhelming investment in research and design by large importers, such as Mars Campers, Chinese manufactured camper trailers are now competitive with quality Australian made models. Constant testing, revision and attention to customer feedback means that Australians can now purchase an affordable quality product with good after sales service support and renders the following myths largely debunked.
The reality these days is that most high consumer items are manufactured in China or other Asian countries where labour and materials are considerably cheaper than Australia. They are also much faster to produce in large quantities and this is what makes offshore manufacturing so appealing to Aussie importers of camper trailers. However, exceedingly large numbers of people are employed within Australian import companies in fitting, assembly, marketing and after sales service areas due to the large volume of campers sold each year. This means, in reality, there are a similar amount of people employed in import companies when compared with Australian manufacturers as the latter tend to have a lower volume output overall. Mars Campers alone, sell more trailers in a single week than smaller, Australian manufacturers sell in an entire year. This large turnover of product each month requires many employees – with more jobs created annually – to maintain and expand Mars’ successful operation.
This is simply untrue. Most canvas for camper trailers, tents, swags and even military requirements in Australia is made in, and imported from, China. There are just different grades and qualities available like any other fabric product. Some common misconceptions that contribute to this myth are that canvas weight (in ounces) is a primary indicator of waterproofing capability. 14oz versus 18oz canvas is largely irrelevant except when it comes to durability, however factors that do have bearing on waterproofness include the tightness of the weave and whether the cotton itself was treated with a waterproofing solution before manufacture, fully immersed in the solution after manufacture or had it simply sprayed on. A good importer should be able to answer any questions on canvas quality for you, so you know what you’re buying and how to take care of it.
True for some, but not for others. Large import companies such as Mars Campers – with extensive buying power and their own factories within China – have the ability to produce customised trailers for their businesses which have been designed and engineered in Australia for Australian standards and conditions (Ares and Rover are two examples). Many are designed from the ground up to incorporate features that conform to the consumer’s growing wants and needs. Similarly, numerous importers have parts manufactured from local and overseas materials in China and then assemble the componentry in Australia to maintain quality control and solid construction.
Contrary to popular belief, Chinese-made campers do not all roll out of the same factory; a lot of smaller companies do import from a small selection of factories, but not just one. With the rise in demand for lower-priced camper trailers, a few large importers – including Mars Campers – have managed to establish their own manufacturing plants, or partner exclusively with reputable operators, which has dramatically increased the quality of the trailers and componentry being produced. This has helped to eliminate dishonest and unreliable operators, not only in Australia but China as well. Both countries have become very selective with whom they conduct their business, and this has helped to raise manufacturing and import standards overall. Choosing to purchase from a large, reputable company, like Mars Campers, will ensure value for money without compromising on quality or customer service.
Though this is not always the case, Chinese manufacturing can vary from mediocre to excellent in its standard of build, however it is not until an importer grows to have a big enough buying capacity that they are able to influence or customise aspects of quality and design. Most well-known Aussie camper trailer importers have this ability and have employees who regularly visit or are permanently located close to manufacturing sites to monitor and oversee quality control checks. Many also have Australian engineers who work closely with manufacturers to ensure the strongest and most versatile materials are used in the build process.
Again, there is plenty of evidence available in all forms of media that attest to the quality and toughness of imported camper trailers throughout Aussie conditions. Four-wheel driving, off-road and camping magazines, videos and mainstream television programs have hours of footage with real-world testing, comparison and review. Quality has come a long way as the industry has grown and Chinese manufacturers have listened to the Australian consumer and their importing partners to fix problems and develop better ways to deliver a quality product. Most reputable imported camper trailers nowadays should stand the test of time and if properly maintained, hold their value. Mars Campers have been tried and tested against some of the best Australian made designs and have consistently come out on top. A quality camper, often at a fraction of the cost, also means customer satisfaction remains high for the lifetime of the product.
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