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Post by CC Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:06 am

Going on from my recent thread regarding no option for a Euro Style Lounge &/Or a Garage... I thought it might be intresting to list any other features that forum members would like to see Auto-Sleepers consider or even implement in upcoming new models. 

So I’ll kick off with features I’d like to see in a Mercedes based (preferably) AutoSleeper Motorhome.



1: Al-Ko ultra low chassis 


2: Euro style lounge 


3: Underfloor storage pockets & Leisure battery, heating pipe ducts, plumbing etc underfloor to maximise storage - (Or at the least more thought into the better positioning of these items)


4: Twin fixed permanent rear singles (with underbed storage)


5: External garage transverse (accessible from both sides if poss) Similar to Bailey’s Autograh range, but not so high that it effects sleep height like some other manufacturers. 


6: Bathroom sinks that are actually up to the task of real term use not just look good in the showroom or AS brochures, ie better quality more durable plastics.




I realise these features are probably mostly unwanted by other members, it’s just what we’d like to see... 

So why not take the opportunity to list what you want to see? You never know Auto-Sleepers may even show an interest (although I doubt it) if the recent forum comments are anything to go by that suggest members are more than happy with the Auto Sleepers past & current “Traditional” stance of turning out loads of different models, with the same old features & identical layouts shrugg


We personally would like to upgrade from our current Broadway but if we buy any of the new models we’ll just get something very similar, slightly newer looking & have to spend a fortune for the privilege, in these circumstances there’s just no compelling reason for us to currently update!


CC


Last edited by Admin on Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Created in to Sticky thread)

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Post by Gromit Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:33 am

Hi CC

If all your wish list items could be fitted into a 6 metre (or very little longer) van, and still accommodate my 6' 3" in one of the beds, we would be up for it like a shot.

Those two criteria are somewhat restrictive if we want to keep it at home, and after a lot of looking over a number of years we have yet to find a better alternative to the Nuevo.

With greater freedom of choice I've no doubt we would have a different van, but at present we have to be happy with the best compromise.
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Post by Paramedic Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:55 am

Hi CC, your allegiance to the Autosleepers brand is indeed most honourable despite the problems you have reported in the past. I think it has been highlighted recently that since taken over by Trigano, it's likely Autosleepers will leave things as they are to satisfy the 'British Market' principally to preserve an alternative to the many continental type French/German etc. (forward dinette) coach builds. Not to put all yours eggs in one basket comes to mind. Regards

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Post by chrisk Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:58 am

Sink on other swing wall then you won't lean on sink when on Loo.

All manuals to be listed with the correct equipment thats fitted to your MH
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Post by groundhog Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:50 am

Mercedes chassis on a tag axle to avoid the overhang as in the burford. Then I could have a rear lounge plus front dinette like my old Bessacarr E795. Rear U shape lounge which also makes a base big enough to convert to a proper bed by adding a memory foam mattress plus front dinette. Like Gromit if the seats will not take 6' 3" I am not interested!

Mind you I guess it would need Mercedes to make the chassis first.... scratch head......

Or a Swift Kontiki 649 on a Mercedes chassis..... think_smiley_46
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Post by daisy mae Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:50 am

A bigger van than my Anniversary Clubman, that I use to have,  on a VW BASE,


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Post by Paulmold Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:16 am

Washroom like Autotrail/Trigano with proper shower cubicle.

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Post by Guest Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:09 am

T6 Gatcombe (with 2004 A/S build quality please smile!)
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Post by Dare-devil-dennis Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:29 am

Almost perfect, but...

More design effort given to positioning of (electrical/heating) equipment in bed lockers. Owner storage capacity should take priority over production convenience.

Larger and more wet lockers (at least big enough to fit a spare toilet cassette).

An external door to access the Truma heater for service.

Adjustable angle solar panels.
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Post by kaspian Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:41 am

We find our Kemerton almost perfect apart from shocking corner cutting during build. With very little effort 2 singles are available without touching the cab seats.Home made   Infill panels then become backrests allowing 2 settees as per Warwick Duo. Massive easily built double bed.Plenty of worktop space , dedicated tv cabinet storage..Big end bathroom with separate shower still allowing through way from cab to rear doors avoiding the claustrophobic pinch point design of kitchen and bathroom in middle of van. .In a 6M van conversion , a great layout considering its size.
      What would we like in future? Drop the horrible fake light wood effect furniture with the dark varnished paper band on doors. Pre 2014 Kemertons just look more upmarket inside with darker wood trim. Drop the 1970s 'grannies heilan' hame' decor in some vans, after all it is 2018. As 6m vans are done to death design wise and limited in size bring out a bi  slide out sides van like IH Vans. Drop the rattly blind cassettes with flyscreens in van conversions - most windows dont open so why do they need this expense? Oh and did  I mention use the correct amount of screws to retain all fixings during build! 
          As others have said younger buyers are now buying motorhomes . A/s need to respond with even a van or two targeted to appeal to those unfortunate enough to be still working. hugegrins
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Post by meanchris Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:48 pm

Auto-Sleepers got one thing mostly right from the beginning - Brits usually don't much like the pinched off hourglass layout of a continental dinette, centre kitchen/bathroom, and fixed rear bed that requires the use of a ladder.
At least, that's what the continuing popularity of the traditional lounge style AS vans appears to demonstrate.

Personally, I loathe that claustrophobic feel.

Give them their due, they manage to retain their open plan layouts while catering for the fixed bed market as well, as evidenced by a very nicely designed Malvern that I sat in recently. up!

The problem with a conventional 'lounge' plus a fixed bed is one of overall length, and a lot of us prefer the convenience and maneuverability of a 6m (ish) van.

I think that the answer to this is to have a central drop down hydraulic strut bed, which drops to lounge bench height ready made up, so saving storage space normally used for bedding and foam mattresses etc.

So, not necessarily in this order:

1. Drop down bed, with the traditional lounge underneath, allowing a 6m (or just slightly more) overall length.

2. Secure external lockers

3. Solar panel and controller as standard (as so many threads here are about flat batteries).

4. The option for an auto gearbox.

5. Full height fridge/freezer

6. An accurate manual with electrical circuit diagram and component locations Whistle1

7. More attention paid to build quality and consistency thereof.

8. More attention paid to insulation, our last Exec didn't even have enough insulation to stuff a pillow.
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Post by Maasai Warrior Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:13 pm

kaspian wrote:As 6m vans are done to death design wise and limited in size bring out a bi  slide out sides van like IH Vans.
 I like the slide out sides on the IH vans, including the latest version from the rear, but do you think AS are up to the waterproofing challenge with that one? think_smiley_46

The Vantage and IH motorhomes Hartal door configuration instead of sliding doors on van conversions would be a good way to go for AS. I know it would make the vans more expensive but it is a good addition as an option.

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Post by Gromit Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:39 pm

meanchris wrote:Auto-Sleepers got one thing mostly right from the beginning - Brits usually don't much like the pinched off hourglass layout of a continental dinette, centre kitchen/bathroom, and fixed rear bed that requires the use of a ladder.
At least, that's what the continuing popularity of the traditional lounge style AS vans appears to demonstrate.

Personally, I loathe that claustrophobic feel.

Give them their due, they manage to retain their open plan layouts while catering for the fixed bed market as well, as evidenced by a very nicely designed Malvern that I sat in recently. What would you like to see from Auto-Sleepers 3459062273

The problem with a conventional 'lounge' plus a fixed bed is one of overall length, and a lot of us prefer the convenience and maneuverability of a 6m (ish) van.

I think that the answer to this is to have a central drop down hydraulic strut bed, which drops to lounge bench height ready made up, so saving storage space normally used for bedding and foam mattresses etc.
Couldn't agree more with your opening comments, and the drop down bed would be superb . . . if I was a midget!  Whistle1  Unfortunately I'm 6' 3" so I would have the same problem as in most panel van conversions.
We're not bothered about a big fridge freezer, nor an auto gearbox, but everything else sounds good to me!  up!
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Post by groundhog Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:14 am

How about a Unity Travel Van with the murphy bed!... google it!
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Post by meanchris Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:25 am

This is the way forward, IMHO, (excepting for those lankys like Dave/Gromit perhaps who need a longer bed  snigger  ).

https://www.motorhomes.co.uk/motorhomes-for-sale/rapido/70-ff/700-ff/1894/#prettyPhoto

This van is under 6m but very spacious and airy as it has the central drop down bed. There seems to be a trend developing, and I suspect that this layout will develop as more people appreciate the benefits.

Our new MH has a similar halfway house lounge bench/semi dinette as the one above, and this isn't anything like as claustrophobic as the full dinette euro vans.
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Post by bolero boy Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:50 am

if you want to see how a top converter deploys a longitudinal drop down bed in a PVC, check out the La Strada Avanti H....the bed is 200cm x 130cm and bedding can be kept in place..
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Post by Bad Penny Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:54 pm

I am sure if AS owners put enough pressure on Trigano AS, they would consider a drop down bed model in their range. Most other marquis now have that availability.
Sorry Dave (gromit) yours would have to be slightly taller, but don't use French motorways they will charge you a fortune for the extra size.

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Post by Gromit Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:19 am

Bad Penny wrote:Sorry Dave (gromit) yours  would have to be slightly taller, but don't use French motorways they will charge you a fortune for the extra size.
Leighton
A trench in the floor for me to walk in would be the ideal answer. Might compromise the chassis a bit though!!  Whistle1
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Post by RML Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:21 am

CC wrote:Going on from my recent thread regarding no option for a Euro Style Lounge &/Or a Garage... I thought it might be intresting to list any other features that forum members would like to see Auto-Sleepers consider or even implement in upcoming new models. 

So I’ll kick off with features I’d like to see in a Mercedes based (preferably) AutoSleeper Motorhome.



1: Al-Ko ultra low chassis 


2: Euro style lounge 


3: Underfloor storage pockets & Leisure battery, heating pipe ducts, plumbing etc underfloor to maximise storage - (Or at the least more thought into the better positioning of these items)


4: Twin fixed permanent rear singles (with underbed storage)


5: External garage transverse (accessible from both sides if poss) Similar to Bailey’s Autograh range, but not so high that it effects sleep height like some other manufacturers. 


6: Bathroom sinks that are actually up to the task of real term use not just look good in the showroom or AS brochures, ie better quality more durable plastics.




I realise these features are probably mostly unwanted by other members, it’s just what we’d like to see... 

So why not take the opportunity to list what you want to see? You never know Auto-Sleepers may even show an interest (although I doubt it) if the recent forum comments are anything to go by that suggest members are more than happy with the Auto Sleepers past & current “Traditional” stance of turning out loads of different models, with the same old features & identical layouts shrugg


We personally would like to upgrade from our current Broadway but if we buy any of the new models we’ll just get something very similar, slightly newer looking & have to spend a fortune for the privilege, in these circumstances there’s just no compelling reason for us to currently update!


CC
Good post thank you. 
Although I drive a German van if AS could achieve these features on a 3.5t chassis then I would buy one after a few years of de-bugging. But it's not just the layout it's also in the design and build quality. I read the posts here when this and that fails on new vans and the repitition of old faults still not corrected during construction, I see this as a priority. Without listing anything on this dedicated forum my 2 year old van has absolutely no faults or flaws, they have been engineered out through clever design. I do however respect you all as loyal AS owners. 
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Post by bolero boy Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:53 am

Rich, i hadn't read this post....i was too busy typing almost exactly as you did, in the Kingham cons thread....
i, too, drive a german van with almost all the above ingredients, except we have a transverse bed, but is 6.4m long and runs at 3.5t..
No Faults....
im afraid the two biggest differences are design integrity and attention to detail....
with panel vans at £60k+ drawers and shelves falling out due to poorly specced fixings just isnt good enough...not once, let alone over and over...
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Post by Bad Penny Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:31 am

We used to have a  German MH a Burstner T625, alko chassis low profile etc etc, the best MH we have ever had for reliability and quality never had a problem with it. That was new in 2004, we don't think the present models are as good as that time. Price is expensive for what they are. 

Our present MH is a Benimar 286, it has the layout we like, a good lounging area, drop down bed, plenty of kitchen space and storage plus a large garage with a door each side and one from inside if raining. Two large wardrobes his and hers over the garage. All the so called extras we generally have to pay extra for were included in the price.

My wife had a tick list of everything she wanted in a MH after over 20 years use of 3 AS's and a Burstner. We spent two full days at the NEC in Oct 2015 and came across the Benimar 286 delivery was April 2016. This one ticked almost all of what she wanted in a MH. Price was pitched to sell as Benimar were looking to get back into the UK after a long lapse.

Lots of extras one normally has to pay for, were in the standard price.
We enjoy using it and everything is easy to use and all in 6.99 meters.

AS make good vans and quality is first class, but for our tastes we think they need to move a little in a different direction. I had a Taiisman GX launched in Earls court in 1999. That layout is exactly the same as the Broadway EK LP 2018. I don't want to knock AS, as I know they have a strong following. Anyway I like the forum, never any agro just good advice.
  
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Post by meanchris Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:42 am

Your 286 epitomises what's new and well thought out Leighton - from the bed layout diagram to the drop down centre double and the lounge that manages actual 'lounging' seats as well as the belted seats instead of the horrid de rigueur sit up and beg dinette in eurovans of yore.

This is similar to what we were looking for, except that we went for a Rapido with rear fixed bed for now, as SWMBO wants to have more space than a <6m van with only a drop down anyway, maybe we'll go for the central drop down next time.
It's attention to detail that is important, who wants to be fiddling with cushions and no diagram when making the bed, (yes, the Rapido has a cushion diagram in its extensive manual for the second lounge based double).

We'll miss the admiring looks and questions from the French campers that we used to get in the Exec though, "Oh Monsieur, c'est une camping car tres jolie, qu'est-ce que c'est?"
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Post by Bad Penny Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:48 pm

Looking at some pictures of the 2018 Benimar 286, I notice the design of the drop down bed has changed. It seems the redesign has increased the head room in the centre of the lounge, while over the seating area it is lower than the centre.

Leighton.
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Post by RCBirmingham Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:41 am

I would like to see an improvement in quality and customer service both at the factory and dealer network which means I don't need to send the following e-mail to the Head of Customer Services at Nick Whale motorhomes:

You may remember back on Monday 27th July you had my van in to replace the faulty control panel (on what was a 3 week old van). Well I'm pleased to say it has worked fine ever since.

I am less pleased to be writing this e-mail as at the time I dropped the van off (and via e-mail before) I highlighted a number of paintwork issues, not least a large crack on the O/S B pillar as well as others. When I picked the van up from you on the 27th July I was told that you would be contacting me shortly to arrange for the paintwork to be sorted. After waiting patiently for 3 weeks I ended up contacting AS direct and have subsequently booked it in myself, they have no record of having heard anything from your-self in respect to this matter, not exactly the high level of customer support I was expecting.

The van was picked up yesterday by AS from my home, as well as the paintwork issues they are also undertaking work on a long 'issues' list including:

1. Paint issues x 4. (Rear Panel, N/S Front Window Surround, O/S B Pillar crack in finish, Rear Panel (tow bar fitment scratch?) + a new one I have found - N/S front roof above passenger - large fleck in the gel coat.
 
 2. Handbrake still 'creaks' when on a hill
 3. Extractor fan sometimes requires a 'tap' to get it working when turned on
 4. CO2 Alarm (needs replacing as will not turn off)
 5. Rubber retainer in sink (to hold glass cover) has come off (screwed in too tight, so has pulled right through the retainer)
 6. Whole of the 'kitchen' unit not level, draws out of alignment, overall very poor fit and finish
 7. Screw in L/H rear of hob not fixed correctly
 8. Scratch / imperfection to the front right of the hob
 9. Shelves above bed on N/S - Material not finished / glued down correctly on the underside of the shelves
 10. Excessive play in both front door Remis blinds, need to be tightened.
 11. Edging to high level front cupboard just behind passenger seat coming loose. 
12. Sealant to bottom of shower surround seems to be not done on area to rear of where shower doors fold back, if done, it's not to the same standard of the rest of the shower which also happens to be easier to see / reach.
13. Matting on the step as you enter the van has become unglued from Velcro fixing, needs to be glued down properly / better quality Velcro adhesive needs to be used.
14.The microwave is only sitting on one of the front legs, the other will not wind down and needs something underneath it (like a beer mat) for it to actually be doing what it should (and that's not providing us with a bloody awful rattle when driving)
 15.We had a second leisure battery fitted by Nick Whale motorhomes, I have a feeling it has been wired with the positive and negative both coming of the original battery, as far as I am aware, when filing a 2nd leisure battery, you should take the positive from one battery and the negative from the second battery to ensure equal load and draw distribution. I know this is a dealer issue, but can you investigate and put it right please.
16. the rear small skylight over the bathroom, about a ¾ inch crack – skylight needs to be replaced


Whilst I don't expect you to have done anything about the above, some of these problems should have been picked up during a PDI inspection by your-selves, AS have also admitted that the van shouldn't have left the factory with the paintwork issues and the sheer number of problems I have picked up.


Ultimately, as the customer I feel I have been let down by both your-selves and AS, I am the one having to chase things up, book time off work to take the van to yours, wait at home to have the van picked up by AS, not exactly the service I was expecting having spent over £60k on a brand new van. 

Yours

Steve Baylis
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Post by Kemerton-bath Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:43 am

This is very dismal Steve, I really hope you get the issues resolved to your satisfaction. AS should be ashamed of themselves, as indeed should Nick Whale Motorhomes.  Many of your issues ought to have been picked up by anyone with the right attitude to detail and pride in their product.  Even more dismal is that some of your issues are all too familiar on this forum, for example the misaligned drawers and the paint defects. Repeated reports of issues like this, which are clearly visible to even the most casual observer walking through the van irritate many of us on here to distraction. It makes you wonder what on earth is going on at the factory. The pause in production due to the pandemic was a great opportunity to take stock and review their quality process, but let's not raise our hopes.

What I draw from this, and other similar reports of poor attention to detail, is that the industry cannot be trusted to sell even a new van without the likelihood of defects that should have been sorted at the factory and/or the dealership.  When we bought our pre-owned 2yr-old Kemerton (also from Nick Whale) we quickly established it was the van for us, but then spent several hours crawling all over it looking for defects we had the ability to spot. They seemed surprised we spent the time to check to the level of detail we did, especially when I asked for a ladder to inspect the roof.  I should add that this forum did much to inform those checks we conducted.

I felt that many of the issues we spotted should have been addressed before the dealer presented the van for sale, but at least we picked them up before agreeing to purchase. We ended up with a list of issues we wanted resolved as a condition of sale, clearing the way to reach an agreement on price and subsequently a straightforward handover a few weeks later.  

With a new van it should be fair to assume that such detailed checking by a potential buyer is unnecessary, but sadly your experience and those elsewhere suggests otherwise. The current spike in sales as a result of CV-19 has put further pressure on an industry whose performance in delivering on quality was already suspect. Out of curiosity I just checked Nick Whale's website - there are 80 vans for sale (a mix of new and pre-owned) and 40 of them are listed as "reserved", ie, a sale agreed and undergoing preparation for delivery. With numbers like that, their checking process is undergoing severe strain I imagine. I'm not trying to let them off the hook, but merely highlighting the current environment.

I'm not for a moment suggesting you should have done more, you couldn't have made it more plain in your email to the dealer.  Good for you for sharing it here too. My point is directed more at potential buyers, particularly at this time when vans seems to be flying off the shelves. "Buyer beware" is more relevant then ever before right now.

Keep up the pressure on AS and NW, and you'll come out the other side with a van you will enjoy and which remains a good marque in its price-range. We can all agree it shouldn't have to be like this though!

Tim

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1996 - Autosleeper Symphony   2010 - Autosleeper Symbol    2018 - Autosleeper Kemerton
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