By: John Westbury – September 2011
Very recently I wrote about a gentleman, Roger Fagan, who has poured his heart, soul and millions of dollars in investment to ensure his company’s product, Cub Campers is solely manufactured with genuine Australian products in this country. He has done this to ensure that anyone who buys a Cub Camper can travel around the great downunder to fulfil their dream without it turning into a nightmare. Now he has taken this a step further by becoming the driving force behind the newly formed Australian Manufactured Camper Trailer Guild Incorporated (AMCTG).
Roger, who is the CEO of Cub Campers who have been manufacturing camper trailers for 43-years, says poor quality componetry and workmanship in many of the cheap camper trailers being brought into Australia is often only apparent once the trailer lets the customer down. There are many who fully agree with him, so much so that 22 other Australian camper trailer manufacturers have already signed up as members of the AMCTG with more likely to come on board very soon.
“Like artisans and craftsmen of yesteryear this guild is a group of professional camper trailer manufacturers who build genuine Australian made products and have pride in their workmanship. To be a member of the Guild manufacturers will have to prove by independent audit that the chassis, body, suspension and tent are Australian made as per the ACCC definition and that their products are fully compliant to ADR 62/VSB1. The ACCC has a clear definition of what qualifies as an Australian manufactured product and simply assembling a kit and adding a fridge does not qualify a product to be called “Australian Made” and stiff penalties exist for those breaching these rules”, Roger says.
He points out that statements appearing in the media, in brochures, on web sites and those made by sales people such as “all production is thoroughly supervised” and “we are proud to be an Australian owned company with 25-years experience in off roading” clearly gives the impression that their trailers are being locally made. Another good example he points out is that importers of trailers under 4.5 tonnes do not have to submit any engineering compliance before bringing them into Australia. All they have to do is fix a compliance plate to the trailer stating that it conforms with Australian Design Rules thus making it legal. Roger also says that if a camper trailer or most of its major components have been made in another country then the dealer and sales staff should tell the buyer so that they can make their buying decision as a fully informed consumer who has not been deceived.
“For instance, quality Australian canvas used in locally manufactured campers is made for Australian conditions, and is clearly superior to imported canvas in our climate and weather conditions. Our experience even with quality European canvas is that it doesn’t perform as well as Australian canvas does, and can virtually turn into tissue paper after extended exposure to the ultra violet light encountered in Australian conditions and is one of the reasons why an Australian made camper will perform much better and last longer than an imported model. Members of AMCTG have also reported many examples of non compliance including trailers with the electric brake axle fitted upside down and back to front so the brakes would actually work in reverse. Others have had no spring bushes in off road trailers which would create metal to metal wear and result in a very short life and possibly cause an accident.
It’s Roger Fagan’s belief and also that of his Guild colleages that while the Guild’s charter is essentially manufacturing based, it’s also very important to focus on the fact that the real benefit will be for you the consumer. He and his members know that people buy a camper trailer to fulfil the dream of a “trip of a lifetime” for them and their family, and they believe the Guild will play a role in helping camper trailer buyers to fulfil that dream and that it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
“Why would you risk your family’s safety and your enjoyment of the “trip of a lifetime” with a product that wasn’t genuinely designed and manufactured by an Australian manufacturer who completely and fully understands what it takes to survive Australia’s demanding outback? No other country has camper trailers as Australians know them, that’s because no other place on earth demands so much in terms of the distances travelled, the sustained punishment dealt out by our outback roads and tracks, the incredible contrast in terrain and climatic conditions, and most significantly, the sometimes great distance from assistance if something goes wrong”, he says.
Roger Fagan also says the Guild will not only help guarantee the quality and integrity of the design and engineering, it will also lobby the ACCC, Fair Trading and the Federal Department of Transport and Road Safety to enforce Australian law and prevent imported trailers being passed off as Australian made.
And finally, Wax Converters Textiles, Australia’s largest manufacturer of quality canvas has funded a comprehensive web site www.australianmanufacturedcampers.org.au and has extended the warranty on canvas used in Guild members campers to five years.
For anyone thinking of purchasing a new camper trailer we ask that you look for AMCTG Guild logo as shown here or contact any of the Guild committee or members as listed below.