Tuesday, 3 January 2012

First catch your ERIBA – Shopping

OK Eribas aren’t cheap, or are they?
These days you can get a brand new 2 berth Elddis for just over £10,000, a new Swift (Sprite) for not a lot more and a Bailey for a tad under £12,000. Go slightly larger with 4 berths and they start at around £12,000. That’s with a useable shower, oven, grill, 90 litre or larger fridge, microwave and all mod cons. Compare that to the price of a brand new Eriba Troll 530 3/4 berth van at around the £20,000 mark. So no they’re not cheap. 
But hang on!
Swift Group’s top of the range 4 berth Conquerors come to market at around the £19,000 to £19,500 mark. Admittedly they’re luxuriously fitted out, have loads of kit and have furnishings better and more cutting edge than Kevin McCloud’s favourite Grand Design. But they don’t have that je ne sais quoi, that cachet, that panache, that style that is Eriba. Add to that the fact that they’re fatter, heavier, lose value at a fair old rate and tend to be unusable after a dozen years and the Eriba’s prices don’t seem so bad. That’s just when your Eriba is getting interesting and it will still be worth 50% (often more) of what you paid for it. A case in point is our own 10 year old  Eriba Troll, which fully kitted out and in excellent condition should fetch around £9,000 to £10,000, if we chose to sell, which is only £3,000 to £4,000 less than her original new price. On the other hand the equivalent of the 10 year old 4 berth Swift Conqueror (or similar) are selling at between £4,000 and £5,000, if still watertight, depreciation of something like £10,000 over the same period.   
So Eribas aren’t cheap, but they’re brilliant value. 
Go slightly lower down the food chain from new and you’ll find superb nurtured Eribas with just a few years on them for probably only a few thousand pounds less than a new one. Add a few years more years (say 6 years old) and you’re talking prices that are about £5,000 to £6,000 below current (2011) list prices and not far off the price the original owner would have paid.
Inflation and the weaker £ plus higher production costs have all meant significant increases in list prices over recent years. High demand has ensured that used vans keep their price extremely well and the recent shortage of new vans off the production line, following the factory change, has also done its bit. Good news for existing owners, perhaps not so good for an aspiring Eribanaut.
Move on back past the 10 year old vans and there are still plenty of totally serviceable Eribas going way back to at least the 70’s. Sure they won’t look so sprightly, they’ll have dings and wear and tear, their liveries will look dated but they’ll also have character and that hard to define air of retro-chic that’s well appreciated and highly sought after.
Spares may be harder to find, but there are dealers who’ll do their very best to help you and just occasionally you might find parts in a breakers yard or on Ebay etc. Using such a grand dame of an Eriba is using a heritage vehicle and helping preserve a unique and well loved icon. Prices at this end of the market are totally dependent on condition and can vary between a few tens of pounds to thousands. 
Where to buy your Eriba
If your heart is set an a brand new Eriba there are two sources in the UK, both Hymer appointed dealers  - Automotive Leisure Ltd in Poole, Dorset and Jandi Ltd at West Calder, sort of midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Both businesses service and repair Eribas and sell used vans.
Both the UK authorised dealers generally sell all their new vans with quite a wide range of extras attached as standard, although individually specced vans can be ordered from the factory. However Continental buyers are offered Eribas with a fairly stripped out specification and can add options should they require them. So used vans imported from the Continent can sometimes have a lower spec. than you’d normally expect and therefore might need a few bob spending on them to get them to match UK expectations.
A few years ago it used to be quite fashionable to source your new or used Eriba from the Continent. There were substantial savings to be made as the £/Euro balance was in our favour. These days however the savings aren't really there and the flow of Continental vans bought privately or by UK dealers has slowed to a trickle.
As well as the two Hymer appointed dealers there are a few other independents scattered around the country who specialise in offering imported used Eribas on a relatively small scale and it’s also quite possible to come across the odd example on the forecourts of the larger caravan dealers who’ve taken the Eriba in a part exchange deal.
Eriba Tip The big caravan dealers often don’t know much about Eribas as they’re outside their usual run of fayre, indeed they often can’t get their head round the high values Eribas attract. Occasionally you’ll find a bargain as Eribas don’t feature in their Glass’s guide to used caravans either.

Then there are private sales where you should be looking to pay around £1,000 to £1,500 or so less than a dealer’s price for a particular van. Of course there are risks to private sales that are well documented elsewhere and you don’t get any protection from the Sale of Goods Act etc.
There are plenty of sources for private sales from websites like Ebay, Preloved etc and the For Sale posts on the likes of eribaforum.co.uk. Just take it steady, think your purchase through, don’t overpay and if possible find an Eribamate with experience of the marque to accompany you on any shopping expedition.
Eriba Tip
Motormovers are sweeping the land and they’re being fitted to Eribas at an increasing rate. They’re very handy and avoid much muscle strain and bitter words between partners, but they are expensive. The going rate for fitting a Reichmover (which seems to be the favourite) is around £1,000 to £1,500 and you can expect any used van for sale with one fitted to attract a suitable premium.

1 comment:

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