Volkswagen launches Motorhome Qualification Scheme

  • New scheme aims to ensure quality of campervans based on VW vans
  • Certification process sets the ‘highest standards in the industry’
  • Intended to give potential customers increased peace of mind

Volkswagen California 6.1 campervan

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched a new Motorhome Qualification Scheme that’s designed to give campervan conversion buyers greater confidence in aftermarket vehicles. This is a direct reaction to the massively increased interest in campers and motorhomes since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

VW is the only manufacturer that offers truly factory-built campervans – rival manufacturer models are all third-party conversions – but it also understands that not everyone can afford a pricey California or Grand California. So this new Motorhome Qualification Scheme is aims to make sure that aftermarket alternatives are available that meet Volkswagen’s own exacting standards.

That’s not to say you should expect them to be built to quite the same level of quality as a California. But the scheme ensures converters that qualify have a number of things in place to support customers – including matching the warranty of the underlying Volkswagen van.

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What’s the difference between a factory-built campervan and an aftermarket conversion?

When Volkswagen describes the California and Grand California as factory-built campervans, it means that it actually builds them itself, in special departments at its own factories. No other manufacturer does this.

An aftermarket campervan conversion takes a standard production vehicle – usually a panel van – and modifies it to become a camper. This might happen with a brand new vehicle before or after it’s first registered, or alternatively some companies specialise in converting used vehicles, which is cheaper.

The problem with aftermarket conversions is that there are lots of companies out there offering to convert Volkswagen Transporters (for example; a very popular choice) but it can be difficult for buyers to know what sort of reputation or experience these companies have, and what sort of quality of product they can expect at the end of the process.

This is where VW’s Motorhome Qualification Scheme comes in.

What is the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Motorhome Qualification Scheme?

According to VW, ‘the scheme represents the highest standards in the industry’, with qualifying converters required to meet all the following ‘criteria for inclusion’:

  • > Achieve National or European Type Approval
  • > Pass ‘stringent’ National Caravan Council standards
  • > Have a three-year trading history
  • > Register on the Bodybuilder Database
  • > Provide a minimum of £5 million liability insurance
  • > Commit to matching the warranty of the base vehicle

Pretty comprehensive, right?

What are the benefits to campervan converters?

Converters who successfully meet all those standards will receive ‘official certification’ from Volkswagen, which they can then use on their website and products.

The big idea is that this will give customers ‘confidence when purchasing.’

The first three UK converters to be certified under the new scheme are Hillside Leisure, Jerba Campervans and Rolling Homes.

Specialist sales manager for VWCV, Nick Axtell, commented: ‘This certification builds on long standing relationships which each of these converters and it is great to be able to formally recognise the investment they have made bringing Volkswagen Camper Vans to the market.’

Why is Volkswagen acting on this now?

Quite simply because of the huge growth of interest in campervans since COVID kicked off. Underlining this trend, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the UK alone saw a 36% increase in traffic to its campervan webpages in 2020, and claims more than 200,000 people started configuring Californias or Grand Californias (though not all of them bought one, obviously).

The firm also says that the number of Google searches related to campervans and motorhomes in 2020 increased by 53% and 41%, respectively.

Nick Axtell added: ‘As the number one manufacturer of campervans, we have a duty of care to our customers to drive better industry standards across the sector, especially at a time of huge growth.

‘The [Motorhome Qualification] scheme recognises the converters who have made an investment in developing and selling conversions based on our products, while giving customers peace of mind when it comes to the safety and quality of any product with a Volkswagen badge on the front.’

Also read:

>> Our full review of the Volkswagen California

>> Our full review of the Volkswagen Grand California

>> Parkers guide to motorhome body types

>> Volkswagen California vs Ford Transit Custom Nugget

>> Campervan speed limits – why they are so confusing