Author Topic: Ultimate Campers join the que  (Read 7136 times)

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Offline Fullberries

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2018, 08:30:20 PM »
Hopefully all the workers find another job.
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Offline tryagain

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2018, 08:32:11 PM »
I had been interested to see the outcome of their automatic opening actuator, it is similar to what I plan on doing for my boatrack side loader with the same issue of needing to push to a point and then retract again after the tipping point.

Offline MDS69

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2018, 08:44:49 PM »
About six years ago Ultimate brought out the all fibreglass Ultimate Nautilus camper which started at about $95,000 and later went to $120,000 plus options. It was a head to head competitor with the Kimberley Karavan but was a flop in the market and was later discontinued. I guess the company put a lot of money into it and I wonder if that's where its problems may have started.

https://www.caravancampingsales.com.au/editorial/details/ultimate-aims-high-with-nautilus-30001/
https://www.ultimateoffroadcampers.com.au/blog/on-the-road-magazine-reviews-the-ultimate-nautilus/

When a luxury and very capable off road camper costs the same as a full-on luxury off road caravan, you gotta wonder how big the market for something like this might be. I notice that the AOR Matrix vans are now well over $100,000.

I am building a light weight off road pop up caravan of 14 ft and I reckon I could have made a 19ft caravan of similar spec for about the same money. So do luxury off road hybrids have a future?

Keith

I have said it before but I really don’t understand the prices of these things and other vans. Think of the common modern day car. Full of electronics, a motor and gearbox/transmission with so many machined moving parts with tight tolerances, safety features and engineering like you wouldn’t believe built in massive factories overseas then freighted to Australia. High tech paint booths and assembly lines. All for $20k. These campers and vans are essentially a box on wheels designed by a guy on CAD. Where is the value. Yes I understand economy of scale for the motor vehicle but really $80k to $120k+ for a camper......
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Offline Swannie

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2018, 09:01:27 PM »
My view is this, 10 years ago an ultimate or Kimberly camper where seen as the pinnacle and off-road caravans were around but not targeting the market like they are now. I think it’s the off road vans doing the damage to campers. Even though they serve different purposes
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Offline trinityalyce

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2018, 09:22:23 PM »
My view is this, 10 years ago an ultimate or Kimberly camper where seen as the pinnacle and off-road caravans were around but not targeting the market like they are now. I think it’s the off road vans doing the damage to campers. Even though they serve different purposes

I think there’s a lot of merit in that.

We considered a caravan, but we didn’t want to give up getting to some places a full sized (albeit smaller) van would have stopped us from reaching. The likes of the Ultimate is a great compromise between comfort and offroad capability. It IS a high-end product in a competitive market. And as offroad vans are being built stronger and becoming more popular for a range of reasons, the high end campers have been drowned out a bit.

It suits us well and we love it. But even we can see that they are kind of a square peg in a round hole in today’s market.
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Offline KeithB

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2018, 07:32:26 AM »
I think too that, as the wave of baby boomers (like me) moves into retirement, cashed up by the outrageous growth in real estate values over the last 20 years, they now have the cash to buy expensive caravans.

Getting an off road van, even a small one, into a lot of remote places takes a good deal of off road driving skill which most folks don't have. Travelling Australia is mostly on flat dirt roads and all that's required is a sturdy camper or van. The compromises that come with something small are really not necessary for these kinds of roads, where a sturdy caravan with all the home comforts does just fine.

So the dedicated upmarket off road camper or hybrid is finding itself in a very restricted and dwindling market. They cost the same as caravans after all.

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Offline Kangaron

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2018, 08:06:26 AM »
just did a trip with a mate who towed his Lifestyle van along on the trip...we went from Brisbane down The Darling River run (Bourke, Louth, Trilby Station, Wilcannia and onto Broken Hill), out to Silverton, South to Yunta and then onto Arkaroola Station in the Flinders Ranges, straight up to The Strzelecki Track, Montecollina Bore onto Merty Merty and Cameron Corner, then through Sturt National Park to Tibboburra and onto Hungerford via Wannaring and into Currawinya National Park, then home via Thallon and Nindigully....reckon that counts as going bush with his van doesn't it?...lol.

Not at all, usually well graded flat dirt roads, the sort of roads we that go bush, avoid, due to the amount of caravans.

Offline chester ver2.0

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2018, 08:17:11 AM »
I recall reading an article on how the unions got their members massive pay and holiday contracts. Old mate leaves school at year 10, gets a job on the assembly line, works his way up from floor sweeper to dash board installer and he is on $80k and 5 weeks annual holidays. Not bad for someone that installs dash boards.

Yep and that is what killed the industry their own greed
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Offline JusyApples

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2018, 08:18:23 AM »
I have said it before but I really don’t understand the prices of these things and other vans. Think of the common modern day car. Full of electronics, a motor and gearbox/transmission with so many machined moving parts with tight tolerances, safety features and engineering like you wouldn’t believe built in massive factories overseas then freighted to Australia. High tech paint booths and assembly lines. All for $20k. These campers and vans are essentially a box on wheels designed by a guy on CAD. Where is the value. Yes I understand economy of scale for the motor vehicle but really $80k to $120k+ for a camper......

I agree I saw these at Rosehill this year, couldn't believe the price. Same goes for companies like patriot campers. $50k plus for basically an off-road trailer with a roof top tent. No thanks
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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2018, 08:45:22 AM »
I have said it before but I really don’t understand the prices of these things and other vans. Think of the common modern day car. Full of electronics, a motor and gearbox/transmission with so many machined moving parts with tight tolerances, safety features and engineering like you wouldn’t believe built in massive factories overseas then freighted to Australia. High tech paint booths and assembly lines. All for $20k. These campers and vans are essentially a box on wheels designed by a guy on CAD. Where is the value. Yes I understand economy of scale for the motor vehicle but really $80k to $120k+ for a camper......


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Offline sharkcaver

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2018, 10:59:01 AM »
Being an ultimate owner, I'll give my take. Ultimate as a business grew too big to service its debt. The larger the operation, the larger the debt. With such massive overheads, they need large sales volumes. All this for a niche product. Selling a niche product into a market place with so much competition from non niche product is always going to be a hard slog, if at all achievable. When you are pushing a 100 units a year out the door, you need a hell of a lot of sales to recover cost. I have no idea how many units per year they are selling, but 100 P.A. sounds like a hell of a lot for lets face it, a product for a limited audience. Don't get me wrong, I love my ulit, but I'm aware of its limitations too. For instance, wet weather in canvas sucks - one reason hybrids seem to be doing well.
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Offline Rumpig

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2018, 11:09:44 AM »
Not at all, usually well graded flat dirt roads, the sort of roads we that go bush, avoid, due to the amount of caravans.
My apologises, you didn’t specify what your idea of going bush was....i'll be sure and tell the farmers who's properties we visited that they don't live in the bush.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 06:10:11 PM by Rumpig »
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Offline rossm

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2018, 11:38:11 AM »
Looking at some stuff of YouTube and came across some vids of what seemed to be a six-month trip this year by one of the Ultimate owners.

Just in time by the look of it.

But it is sad to see a company go bust, though having been there a long time ago my sympathy is mainly with the workers. Back then no protection  of entitlements. We got 30 cents in the dollar.

Edit: and I should  add any suppliers and contractors who often are left out of pocket in these circumstances.

I agree with the  description of the Ultimate as a niche product. First time I saw one it was WTF but after travelling with people who had one I saw the pros as well as a few cons.

Look for an overseas manufacturer to step in with a Clayton’s Ultimate.


 

« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 11:59:41 AM by rossm »

Offline Spada

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2018, 11:41:42 AM »
I have said it before but I really don’t understand the prices of these things and other vans. Think of the common modern day car. Full of electronics, a motor and gearbox/transmission with so many machined moving parts with tight tolerances, safety features and engineering like you wouldn’t believe built in massive factories overseas then freighted to Australia. High tech paint booths and assembly lines. All for $20k. These campers and vans are essentially a box on wheels designed by a guy on CAD. Where is the value. Yes I understand economy of scale for the motor vehicle but really $80k to $120k+ for a camper......

CODB/Pruduction units =minimum FM to be applied to price before profit and taxes.

Lets say you have a high-end producer with a factory that employs 20+ workers to produce 2 campers per week. Not only is there a higher cost for the initial components due to them being a higher quality than mass produced imported products, but the entire cost of operating that business, wages, on-costs, rent, marketing, R&D, utilities, taxes, and every other conceivable overhead of the business for that week needs to be paid for from the sale of those 2 campers, + some profit to keep the company viable. So lets guess weekly CODB of $60k, then each camper sold needs to have a 30K margin in the price to break even.

Toyota for example produces roughly 28,000 cars every day, from largely automated production lines, so whilst their operating costs are massive, that cost is shared amongst 10,000,000 units per year.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 12:03:37 PM by Spada »
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Offline Spada

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2018, 12:01:03 PM »
The times, they are a changin.

Drag out your camping photo's from 10 years ago and compare then to what you see in the campgrounds now. 10 Years ago, most people were camping in tents, with a few of those "awe inspiring, wish I had one" soft floor campers in the mix. Caravans went to caravan parks, the term "hybrid" hadn't been invented yet, and those that wanted hard core off-road luxury either had a Kimberly, Ultimate, or a small custom caravan from a bespoke builder like Trackmaster.

fast forward to now, who still goes camping in a tent (you keep quiet Pete  ;) ), try selling a soft floor these days, and there are around 35 dozen caravan manufacturers that sell off-road caravans. A good majority of buyers are happy to buy a 3letter brand Chinese built off-road looking caravan, and the manufactures of high end quality off-road units are left to fight over the very small group of customers that are willing to pay a premium price for a premium product.

just my take on it ?

Ultimate have entered into voluntary administration, they haven't shut their doors and are still producing as far as I can tell. Here's hoping the administrators can can help the business rationalise without too much impact on to the customers, workers, or creditors.
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Offline McGirr

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2018, 12:18:31 PM »
Not sticking up for the imports but they have a place in the market sorry to say. If we had no imports how could the average family afford to buy a camper. I have watched a lot of soft floor campers made in Australia rising to over $30k. How many could afford that. Let’s look at some Aussie brands that saw the imports coming and adapted and are surviving. Brands like Complete Campsite and even Lifestyle Campers. They saw that there was no chance to survive against the imports in the soft floor range. Now before I get crucified, I bet everyone here has bought an imported product that was also available in Australia. We talk about buy Aussie brands only and yet people complain about the prices of caravan parks and try to avoid them and free camp. Go figure. Competition is healthy and clever manufacturers will survive. So if people want to keep the Aussie manufacturers going don’t buy imports. Its that simple. Don’t blame the imports.
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Offline BaseCamp

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2018, 03:57:12 PM »
Being an ultimate owner, I'll give my take. Ultimate as a business grew too big to service its debt. The larger the operation, the larger the debt. With such massive overheads, they need large sales volumes. All this for a niche product. Selling a niche product into a market place with so much competition from non niche product is always going to be a hard slog, if at all achievable. When you are pushing a 100 units a year out the door, you need a hell of a lot of sales to recover cost. I have no idea how many units per year they are selling, but 100 P.A. sounds like a hell of a lot for lets face it, a product for a limited audience. Don't get me wrong, I love my ulit, but I'm aware of its limitations too. For instance, wet weather in canvas sucks - one reason hybrids seem to be doing well.
That's the thing that put me off Ultimates..

Pros -
#  Ultra lightweight for what it was..
#  Blingy..

Deal Breaker Negatives, (for me) -
#  Mega Bucks for what it was..
#  Very Niched.....
#  Those acres of canvas - (dry or wet)
#  And where's the nice awning/anex set up (like say the LCT, AT Class has?)...

Simplisticly described - the weight loss bonus was achieved by creating a big canvas tent on top of a plastic box - at a big buck price...

(I know there was also their bling element too...   The last paragraph is just shorthand on their  "consumer perception" imho)..



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Offline Cruiser 105Tvan

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2018, 04:19:56 PM »
Every time you pack up an Ultimate you have to disassemble the bed.
Another feature that takes the shine off the product.
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Offline SJindustries

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2018, 04:28:24 PM »
Every time you pack up an Ultimate you have to disassemble the bed.
Another feature that takes the shine off the product.
And that takes no more than 5 mins. :cheers:
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Offline trinityalyce

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2018, 06:18:37 PM »
Every time you pack up an Ultimate you have to disassemble the bed.
Another feature that takes the shine off the product.

Still quicker than some alternatives. We can set up *everything* from pulling up to being able to hop into bed in 14 mins (probably a fair bit less now - last time we actually bothered to time it was probably our 3rd weekend in it!).

We thought the same way about the bed initially until we actually talked to a few owners and saw the setup up close. Every setup has compromises. While we didn’t want to have to make and pack up the bed every time there were a lot of other positives in our book that outweighed the minor inconvenience of the bed. Someone else will think differently, and that’s why the market has options (though maybe another one down pending how this plays out).
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Offline rags

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2018, 06:50:17 PM »
CODB/Pruduction units =minimum FM to be applied to price before profit and taxes.


CODB FM OK WTF OH ISIICWIO

CODB = Cost Of Doing Business
or
CODB = Cost Of Draught Beer
??

FM = Fun Money
or
FM = Factory Markup
or
FM = Fark Me

Offline Spada

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2018, 07:25:28 PM »
sorry Rags......old habits die hard.
CODB/production = cost of doing business divided by number of units produced
FM = first margin (the initial markup to a product to convert cost price to sell price) and is different to GP (gross profit). For example if an item costs $1 to produce and and you sell if for $2, then you have applied a first margin of 100% to the cost price, but made a 50% gross profit on the sale price.

If you really want to get funky we could start talking EBIT and GMROI, and while were on a role, lets not forget amortization of assets (verses asset depreciation)  ;D
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Offline rags

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2018, 07:31:31 PM »
sorry Rags......old habits die hard.
CODB/production = cost of doing business divided by number of units produced
FM = first margin (the initial markup to a product to convert cost price to sell price) and is different to GP (gross profit). For example if an item costs $1 to produce and and you sell if for $2, then you have applied a first margin of 100% to the cost price, but made a 50% gross profit on the sale price.

If you really want to get funky we could start talking EBIT and GMROI, and while were on a role, lets not forget amortization of assets (verses asset depreciation)  ;D

FFFT I understand now.😊

Offline Paddler Ed

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2018, 08:02:53 PM »
I think I see it differently - it reminds me of a conversation with someone who said their market 10 years ago was a 50 year old white male, who lived in x. Their market is now a 60 year old white male, who lives in x... ie they don't have a new market... it's remained the same - this was a big worry for them and they were then looking at what was next for their brand.

Yes, Ultimate (and Kimberly) build a good quality product, but in an era of conspicuous consumption an evolving design doesn't signify "I've bought a new one". As their products don't wear or date particularly, one built in 2010 looks very much like one built last year.

This means that:
a) there isn't a need to buy a new one to replace one that is wearing out/falling apart
b) you look flash, even with an older one
c) they hold their value because they don't date
An example of the age/wear and tear, is the change between my parents selling their caravan's after 3 years (UK made Swifts) to changing their 'vans every 5-7 years (Knaus or Fendt - German made) because the build quality was so much better, and they didn't date as much. UK vans often change colours ever so slightly which means you can date them to within a year or so by the colours of the stripes etc, as opposed to Aussie vans that don't change much exterior wise year to year.

Now, if we look at the typical buyer, they are a bit older, a bit more affluent and often no kids. Some are retired, some are semi-retired and some have the ability to free up capital in their house/put it on finance.  This is in contrast to many 30-40 year olds who are beginning to experience mortgage stress (ie over 1/3 of their household income in rent or mortgage payments) and a bit of financial pressure, so the $50k+ market for a camper isn't going to be looking that appealing. Also as those who are retiring are possibly beginning to realise that their capital gain in their house might need to be passed on to the next generation rather than selling the lot and buying a flash outfit for the big lap, this might be beginning to tighten the market at that end.

Ultimately, this boils down to:
1) Small market to begin with, and therefore difficult to achieve economies of scale due to limit sales numbers. The ability to quickly scale up is not there as the market demand isn't there. They might not have access to the right capital to allow an increase in production, or they might not fit in the government schemes neatly that allow for growth (for example, if in regional NSW they might have been eligible for the regional growth loan)
2) Product design that evolves rather revolutionary (and revolutionary design is expensive)
3) Consumers are nearly dying off and those that aren't dying off are choosing to buy something else instead for any number of reasons (some of which others have identified)

At the end of the day, the cost of production is a factor but I don't think it's the be all or end all - market changes are as crucial, and the market is both the demand (consumer) and supply (competition or substitutes).
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Offline Trev-p

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Re: Ultimate Campers join the que
« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2018, 10:31:47 PM »
This got me thinking and looking around the house for Australian made

Furniture - Generally China
Cars  - Thailand
TV's   -  China
Frozen Vegtables - China
etc etc

I finally found something made in Australia......MY KIDS, although technically probably made on a Chinese bed or possibly Chinese trampoline(wild night). Having said that I'm considering selling them on the Chinese version of ebay.

 I did find some Drifta canvas bags in the cupboard so I'm teaching my kids how to use a sewing machine for their future employment opportunities.