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Germany's 2014 RV Caravan Salon a fusion of old and new

Germany’s Caravan Salon, the world’s largest trade fair for motorhomes and caravans, opened in Düsseldorf Saturday. The annual recreational vehicle extravaganza, which draws in excess of 150,000 visitors, is said to be “the world’s largest meeting place for the international caravanning industry” and provides a perfect sales platform for RV manufacturers and suppliers including America’s Lippert Components, Inc. which debuted its In-Wall TM Slide-Out System at the event. The Caravan Salon, which opened its doors to the public on 30 August, runs through Sunday, 7 September.

Knaus Tabbert's retro T@B woody is a stunning fusion of old and new.
Knaus Tabbert's retro T@B woody is a stunning fusion of old and new.
Messe Duesseldorf
Hartmann's Mercedes Zetros-based overland expedition vehicle on display at the 2014 Caravan Salon.
Messe Duesseldorf

This year, the Caravan Salon covers more than 190,000 square metres, occupying eleven halls as well as the outdoor areas at the enormous Messe Düsseldorf trade fair venue in North Rhine-Westphalia. With some 580 exhibitors at the 2014 show, it’s hard to single out a particular vendor but luxury motorhome and overlanding manufacturers are certainly well represented at this year’s show including Austria’s Action Mobil with its Global XRS 7200, 720 hp, triple-axle off-roading behemoth. Other old favourites can also be found at the event, like the Volkner Mobil Performance, with its signature under slung hydraulic drop down vehicle slide-out situated between the front and rear vehicle axles, as well as Vario- Mobil with its range of luxury car-carrying motorhomes. However, based on size alone, the prototype Mercedes-Benz-based Skydancer Road Yacht with its sectional sliding glass cab -- providing both driver and passengers a panoramic 360 degree view -- would likely win best in show this time around.

Europe’s love affair with the camper van -- covering the entire gamut from the Mercedes-Benz Viano-based Marco Polo and the VW California, to Mercedes, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot and Citroën-based RV platforms -- continues apace with Eura Mobil, Hymer (with its cool all-wheel drive Sprinter-based ML-T moho), Dethleffs and Westfalia Mobil (check out the Ford-based Nugget in the slideshow) just four of the European RV vendors at the show.

Whilst the traditional caravan (travel trailer) continues to lose market share to camper vans and camper cars, a few of the more innovative European manufacturers continue to demonstrate that this venerable recreational vehicle is still very much alive and kicking. Last year it was Knaus Tabbert‘s ultra-modern Caravisio concept caravan that stole the show and this year the company rolled out a stunning retro themed T@B woody which is guaranteed to turn heads at campgrounds throughout Europe, whilst Turkey’s Pino Caravan -- on a mission to demonstrate that small is indeed beautiful -- offered visitors a glimpse inside its Pi2010, a tiny micro trailer on a lightweight Al-Ko chassis that weighs in at just 400kg and costs a mere 4,500 Euros ($5908 USD).