Erwin Hymer Group achieves record results and presents sustainability strategy for long-term corporate success
“Our success is based on enabling people around the world to enjoy unique leisure and mobility experiences," explained Martin Brandt, CEO of the Erwin Hymer Group (EHG) at the company’s annual press conference. “As our figures show, we succeeded particularly well during the pandemic. Caravanning has become mainstream in society. Now it’s a matter of ensuring the trend continues toward decelerated and gentle tourism in the long term. With our sustainability strategy, we’re treading the path to a successful future, the prerequisite for which is an intact and healthy environment.”
Records in revenue, unit sales and personnel – ongoing bottlenecks in chassis deliveries
In Europe, the overall market for motorhomes and camper vans recorded a significant increase of 20.8 percent from 2019 to 2020. The Erwin Hymer Group was again able to significantly outperform this positive trend in individual segments: camper vans in particular achieved impressive growth of 60 percent to about 21,000 units in the 2020/21 fiscal year1. Sales of classic motorhomes grew by 10 percent to 30,000 vehicles.
The increased sales figures have an impact on both sales and employee numbers: sales in the 2020/21 fiscal year, for example, were 2.7 billion euros, up 500 million euros on the previous year – a growth of 23 percent. With 8,883 employees at the end of July 2021, the Erwin Hymer Group employed more people than ever before – 1,534 more than in the previous year.
An even better result was prevented by the ongoing bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials and materials, as well as problems in the transport and logistics sector, which also affect the caravan industry. For example, delays in the delivery of chassis will continue well into 2022. This will affect production at the EHG locations in the short and medium term, so that short-time work and production stops could occur repeatedly in the coming months. The company is thus faced with the paradoxical situation of having full order books, but at the same time not being able to produce and deliver due to a lack of chassis availability. In order to cushion these effects in the medium term, talks are underway with possible additional suppliers.
Pandemic as a catalyst of the caravanning trend
Caravanning has been in style for years – and the pandemic has accelerated this development even further. It’s precisely the need for freedom, flexibility and self-determination that has led to a change in attitude toward this mobile type of vacation in times of the coronavirus: according to the “Master Study Caravans and Motorhomes,” almost 20 million people in Germany alone are now involved with caravanning. The number of people who have planned a vacation or short trip with a motorhome or caravan this year has risen by 44 percent to almost five million. Based on a horizon of two or three years, more than 13 million Germans are already thinking about trying out caravanning. No wonder that the number of recreational vehicles will exceed the 1.5 million mark for the first time this year, following a steady stream of new registration records.
Germany as a vacation destination is increasingly in vogue: the recently published ADAC Tourism Study shows that in 2019, only 35 percent of Germans over the age of 18 spent their vacations in their own country. For the next three to five years, however, 80 percent of this group are planning a vacation within Germany’s borders.
Sustainability and concrete climate targets
To support this development in the long term, the Erwin Hymer Group is stepping up its efforts for sustainable business. Jan Francke, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Erwin Hymer Group: “We take our commitment to greater sustainability and social responsibility very seriously, because we’re firmly convinced that these factors will ultimately contribute to our long-term success. We can achieve the target of 1.5 degrees only if politics, society and industry work together – which is why we will give this aspect even more weight within our Group and make one of our strategic focal points. As the market leader in our industry, our goal is to be at the forefront when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions and conserving resources."
The CO2-reduction strategy follows the principle of avoidance, reduction and compensation. With various measures, the Erwin Hymer Group has already been able to more than halve its CO2 emissions in the last two years. Jan Francke: “We have a clear plan to get to 20 percent of the 2019 level by 2030.” Along the way, the company supports compensation projects with high quality standards. In addition to ecological aspects, social and economic aspects always play a role in the selection process. For example, a project in Rwanda not only ensures fewer greenhouse gases, lower firewood consumption and more habitat for endangered species but also improves health protection for the local population.
CEO Martin Brandt emphasized the company’s comprehensive understanding of sustainability: “In addition to climate protection, our corporate social responsibility strategy always includes social and economic issues. We’ve also launched initiatives in our own company in all three areas.” For the company, sustainability is not at odds with economic success; rather, the two are mutually dependent: “For us, caravanning in the sense of ‘slow travel’ is a contrast to hectic mass tourism. It’s our connection to nature, the region and its people.”
Request for more innovation support from the new federal government
Also closely related to the sustainability strategy are two wishes that CEO Martin Brandt has formulated for the new German government. One of them concerns special driving-license regulations for drivers of motorhomes with alternative drives: “Raising the weight limit from 3.5 to 4.25 tons would give the electrification of motorhomes an enormous boost. Within the current limits, zero-emission vehicles are almost impossible to realize due to the extra weight of batteries.”
The second wish relates to greater promotion of regional tourism. The steadily increasing number of vehicles and the increased desire to travel to destinations in Germany urgently require more campsite capacity. Martin Brandt: “Last year, only six new lots were added to the 3,000 or so campsites in Germany. In fact, the total number of campsites is currently slightly declining. What we need here is unbureaucratic and fast approval procedures. More camping spaces are an active instrument for regional economic development and for boosting tourism in Germany.”
1 1 August 2020 to July 31, 2021
About the Erwin Hymer Group
The Erwin Hymer Group is a 100 percent subsidiary of Thor Industries, the world's leading manufacturer of recreational vehicles with more than 25,000 employees worldwide. The Erwin Hymer Group unites motorhome and caravan manufacturers as well as motorhome and caravan accessory specialists, hire and financing services under one roof. The motorhome and caravan brands Buccaneer, Bürstner, Carado, Crosscamp, Compass, Dethleffs, Elddis, Eriba, Etrusco, Hymer, Laika, LMC, Niesmann+Bischoff, Sunlight and Xplore, the motorhome rental companies Crossrent, McRent and rent easy, and also the chassis specialist Goldschmitt, the accessories specialist Movera and the touring portal freeontour all belong to the Erwin Hymer Group. Further information is provided at www.erwinhymergroup.com.