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Why buy an Auto-sleeper?

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Post by Aspenshaw on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:24 am

Currently own a Hymer A-class. Had it almost eight years from new with minimal problems and no damp. Thinking of replacing and would happily take another Hymer except Hymer UK in Preston closed down. Nearest Hymer dealer is in Telford and not as convenient as Marquis in Preston who seem pretty good.

So should I change from a Hymer [looking at the Exsis] to an Auto-Sleeper's Broadway or similar? Has to be less than 6.5m long Hymer's build quality is rock solid. A class beds are great. Engine access limited and spare parts can be pricey. Hymer's are not built in Worcestershire. Auto-Sleepers' construction seems to be consistent with a higher risk of damp penetration. Quality of build seems inferior to a Hymer. The spec list is higher for Auto-Sleepers, although we wouldn't use all the bells and whistles. Auto-Sleepers seem dated in design. Yet, Auto-Sleepers are British, the company has an outstanding reputation in the media and numerous forums, they seem to have a loyal following and they sell relatively well.

On the face of it, it has to be a Hymer. Yet I have this niggling doubt that I am missing the attraction of Auto-Sleepers. What else do you know that I don't that make Auto-Sleepers so desirable?

Then there is the choice of base vehicles. Fancy a Merc but my Fiat motorhomes have been trouble free. I've had Peugeot cars and always rated the diesels. I'd welcome comments on the choice of base vehicles.
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Post by CC on Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:07 am

Aspenshaw wrote:
On the face of it, it has to be a Hymer. Yet I have this niggling doubt that I am missing the attraction of Auto-Sleepers. What else do you know that I don't that make Auto-Sleepers so desirable?

Hi Aspenshaw..... If you have to ask this question then maybe an Auto-Sleeper is not for you.... I'd say most of us here on the forum have purchased our Auto Sleepers based on their build quality, history, finish of fittings and their styling. (IMO Auto sleeper still have the edge over most other marques stylwise)

The Broadway is a lovely vehicle, although personally I don't like the appearance of the latest range so much but this may change as time goes by.... As for water ingress, or damp penetration I've seen no evidence whatsoever to suggest Auto-Sleepers are any better or any worse than any other motorhome manufacturer shrugg

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Post by whisky on Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:42 pm

Looks like you have already made up your mind. That or you are the Hymer rep.

Give me an Autosleeper against a Hymer every time. Loyalty? Maybe. I have had four.

Knowing quality and value for money? Yes.

Happy Camper, Whisky.

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Post by Aspenshaw on Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:28 pm

The suggestion that I'm a Hymer rep made me smile. hugegrins I am genuinely interested in whether an Auto-Sleeper is for me. It is the only UK manufacturer I'd still consider. If this forum cannot help me understand the merits of an Auto-Sleeper beyond what I know already, then one is definitely not for me. You're almost my last hope before I decide to spend my money in Germany or France [Rapide], not Worcestershire.

Whisky does suggest there is an air of contentment with the Auto-Sleeper and I always wanted one of their monocoque models so I understand the history. Perhaps there is more of an emotional attachment to an Auto-Sleeper which is why my mind says Hymer, but my heart wavers. I've never warmed to the Hymer yet it does everything effectively. It lacks soul.

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Post by modelman on Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:50 pm




I think that 'brand-loyalty' is very difficult to overcome, we get an idea in our heads & it tends to rule us.

I never liked Peugeot, silly thing is, I don't know why!!!!

Had several Transit vans, liked them & got to know them, So, when looking for a monocoque, it had to be the Transit, but could not find any at the time,

then a nice Peugeot came up, ended up buying it, now its transpired that I'm a convert, love it to bits, did a lot of research & its turned out to be

a very good ( if down on power ) chassis & engine combination.

Trouble is, I & others may love 'em, you may hate 'em, Plus, whatever you get, ther'll always be SOMETHING you don't like smile!


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Post by whisky on Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Hi Aspenshaw.

The rep comment was tongue in cheek. Glad you took it the right way.
As we all own Autosleeper vehicles in the forum, most of us are quite loyal to the brand.
What Modelman has said is very true, all motorhomes have their little niggles. Autosleeper and Hymer.
Its very much a personal decision as to what you want from a motorhome.
How you are going to use it, and how many of the niggles you are prepared to put up with.
As I stated before I am now onto my fourth Autosleeper. The one I have now I have had for the last four years.
But I am still drawn to wander around motorhome dealers and shows looking at what else is available.
As yet nothing I have come across ticks all the boxes for me.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But for me its Autosleeper.

You may also get a better responce to your question if you introduce yourself to the rest of the forum in the intro section.

Hope you find what you are looking for.

Whisky. champagne

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Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:47 pm

If the part exchange deals were in my favour I would go for a Autosleeper Surrey or Suffolk on a Merc/auto drivetrain.
If you wild camp, the Traumatic space heater used on gas is really good for cold nights away from EHU's, although the kitchen workspace isn't big, its bigger than any Hymer I've looked at. the front seats on the X250 Puggie are nice and comfy, some of the Fiat based vans I have looked at aren't as comfy.
I'm not a great fan of the Peugeot X250, however the 2.2 litre/130 bhp engine has plenty of torque and can return 28/32 mpg.
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Post by boxerman on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:39 pm

Like Whisky says, what suits one doesn't suit another.
Personally, I would not want an A class at any cost, I prefer petrol engines and would avoid an auto box like the plague.
Another person may want the exact opposite from what I want, it does not mean that either of us is wrong, just that we have different preferences. The only person who can make the decision is you.
If this forum cannot help me understand the merits of an Auto-Sleeper beyond what I know already, then one is definitely not for me.
We are not sales personnel, we are (usually satisfied) owners.

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Post by fluffles on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:46 pm

Aspenshaw

You could buy either one and have problems!.

Have you looked at listed problems/comments etc on both makes on various forums and made any comparisons?

We like the Hymer due to its (deserved?) high reputation. Same goes for the Autosleeper (we have an older monocoque).

We wouldnt have a Hymer at the present as we do not want an A class, and find the Autosleeper monocoque layouts and fitted equipment suits us better than Hymer coach builts (in our price range & for our present usage). If we were going to spend long periods away (winter in Spain etc) we would prefer the Hymer

It also pays to consider the dealer and how close they are. Having some one local (ish) you can rely on to help is worth a lot on its own! More so if they spend time actually listening to you!

Whilst it is good to listen and evaluate all comments, your choice must be one that you feel the most comfortable with. And like others have said, it sounds like you may have part of your mind made up. But we would all like to see you with an Autosleeper and back on this forum!!!!.


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Post by Peter Brown on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:59 pm

I agree with most that has already been said.

You don't say if you want to buy new? Is so, all vans have faults but the AS after sales service is second to none for motorhomes in the UK and the current quality of design and build is excellent - if they produce a layout and spec you desire. 30% to 40% of current production are special build to owners requirement.

I've had two Fords and Peugeot, all good but the diesel/auto Merc is Excellent.

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Post by Cymro on Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:31 pm

Two of the replies have mentioned the fact that their autosleepers are monocoque (as is mine). For me, that was the number one reason for going to Autosleeper because one large fibreglass box has no seams to leak; my second reason was that I wanted a VW tdi engine and robust chassis; my third reason was that it had to be no more than 6m long. So I bought new nearly 15 years ago. It's been excellent. So much so that I've just had the underside professionally rustproofed as I cannot find a comparable replacement.

Whether the current build quality of Autosleeper compares favourably with Hymer can only be determined by inspection, and evidence from Users' fora such as this about problems or lack of them. Finally, there are the secondary factors such as proximity of dealers, insurance costs etc.

It's going to be a close call because both are manufacturers with solid reputations.

What a nice position in which to be!!

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Post by Nuevo on Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:24 pm

Im really not a fan of either A-class vans or Hymers, while they do have a reputation of quality I actually have no idea if this is just hearsay or actually true. We can't convince you to give up on Hymers and go over to Autosleepers as this has to be your decision, but if you are genuinely interested as you state then you really have to go to a good dealer and make your own mind up after checking the models out and comparing them to Hymers. Ask any Autosleeper dealer what they think and you will get their response that Autosleeper is a name synonymous with high quality. Good luck smile!

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Post by Robbie on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:15 pm

From memory hymer is winterised but autosleeper is not so that may be a factor. However hymer and other makers do not have anywhere near the standard equipment as autosleeper for example our Cotswold new came with no extra cost,awning,mats,avtec tv,sat dish,all hoses electrical leads etc
Other things like rear jacks outside lights,gas point there is most likely things I have forgot just because they are there ooooo 4 ring cooker with one electric, 3gas. An oven and separate grill.
Factor all those into the cost of the Hymer and add alloy wheels etc.
We had some issues with ours but that is pretty common in any new motorhomes till they bed in
One thing for sure autosleeper interior is not dated its Hymers that would be behind in that department IMHO
Good luck with it choice whatever it is

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Post by CC on Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:30 am

Aspenshaw wrote:Auto-Sleepers' construction seems to be consistent with a higher risk of damp penetration. Quality of build seems inferior to a Hymer. The spec list is higher for Auto-Sleepers, although we wouldn't use all the bells and whistles. Auto-Sleepers seem dated in design.

Hi Aspenshaw

Having read through this thread again I feel I need to defend the above comments.....


On what basis or actual evidence are you able to state;


1. "Auto-Sleepers' construction seems to be consistent with a higher risk of damp penetration."

2. "Quality of build seems inferior to a Hymer."

3. "Auto-Sleepers seem dated in design."


No offence intended but..... I don't know how an owner of a Hymer can suggest an Auto-Sleeper is dated in design scratch head I always think how basic looking and unstylish Hymers are but this is based on my own visual preference admittedly. If you look at the Bailey Approach for example or many of the others like the Swift Escape range these come no where close in my mind to the style of AS models.

Out of interest Aspenshaw have you actually looked at the latest model range in person? I have and can say I've been blown away by the feeling of quality inside these vehicles which seems missing from so many of the other manufacturers available.

I would be interested in a reply to your statements as numbered above and on what evidence this is based upon, any proof that this information is substantiated or where you got this impression if otherwise?

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Post by groundhog on Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:35 pm

Brand loyalty, not me. I have owned a couple of Bessacarrs ( pre Swift) an Autocruise and they were all pretty good, so why did I buy an Autosleeper.

I wanted an automatic, tried the Fiat and hated the jerky shifting so it had to be a Mercedes base.
How does it compare to the others, the build on all of them has been equally good and solid the difference has been in the base vehicle.No better or worse than the Bessacarr though I believe they have gone downhill since Swift took them over.

Peugeot and Fiat do the job fine ( not the Auto though) and the Renault we had was even better but the Mercedes base is way way better than any of the others we have owned. It is quiet, powerful, the doors shut properly without drafts, it doesn't rattle about and just feels much higher quality. The auto is silky smooth as well and with the new 7 speed even better. I would never go back to a Fiat/Peugeot now.

The bad bits..... Our previous vans all had Stoves cookers, much better built than the Thetford Craprice the A/S has, performs well enough but badly built. A few issues which should have been sorted at PDI but weren't though as has already been mentioned after sales service is the best I have come across.

Would I buy another one, absolutely and that is not brand loyalty just satisfaction with the product.
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Post by dandywarhol on Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:44 pm

I've always liked Hymers and love the pull down bed arrangement but I thought they went somewhat off the rails with their late 90/2000s garish colour schemes.

I bought the Clubman because of it's watertight reliability but it has had it's build quality faults which I've taken time to rectify (the van is 2003)

All said and done - I'm very pleased with the Clubman/VW setup but not enough to be a brand loyalist - something else will come along in the future and it won't necessarily be an AS

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Post by Aspenshaw on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:05 am

Thanks very much for all the comments. They are much appreciated. They give me a much better understanding of the appeal of Auto-Sleeper products and much to think about now.

This is an excellent forum. I love the layout and the colour scheme. The constructive comments, which didn't diverged from the question, set a standard for other forums.

Best wishes with your Auto-Sleepers and happy motorhoming. I will finish with posting a reply to Cruizing Comet. Should I venture down the Auto-Sleeper route, which is now more likely, I will be back!
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Post by DuxDeluxe on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:33 am

Just to add my two pennies worth.........

I looked at several Hymers and even ventured to Hymer Preston before it closed only to be virtually shown the door because the sales staff did not believe that a scruffy git in jeans and tee shirt could afford a 50K plus van. On the other hand, I was taken seriously by Marquis Ipswich. A secondary point, but it certainly didn't help the Hymer cause........

Some friends of ours have a Hymer A class which we like but the layout didn't suit us with the overcab bed (someone has to climb over someone else to get out) so we went for the Broadway as the preferred option. Yes, there have been a few niggles - the step failed and was replaced in its entirety without quibble, and at the end of the warranty period I took it back to A/S factory service centre for a couple of minor bits to be sorted, which was very well done. If there was anything that really cemented my brand loyalty it was the service centre. Next annual hab check and service will be done there (cheaper than Marquis as well). The van is well built and drives superbly - mine is on an Al-Ko chassis, which is rare. Two years down the road and I'm still pleased with the build quality and the liveability.

As above, the whole thing is extremely subjective, but talking to the A/S service centre, damp is not really an issue with the marque and the customer service is well up to the mark. I will certainly buy another without hesitation, based on the perceived build quality and keen customer service

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Post by Aspenshaw on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:03 am

Hello CC

I am not seeking to be critical of Auto-Sleeper's motorhomes. I am seeking to understand why people buy them and if an Auto-Sleeper could be for me. I could have been clearer in my posts. Using the word "seems" was my attempt to show that my comments were based on my perception. For most people, perception is their reality. I should not have used "dated"; I should have used "traditional" which better reflects some of the comments I've read in the media.

1. I understand that the walls of Auto-Sleeper's coachbuilts are wood framed with Styrofoam insulation. Hymer use Polyurethane insulation sandwiched between an aluminium skin and a breathable plywood inner - I understand Niesmann & Bischoff use aluminium on inner and outer surfaces. I'd have another Arto like a shot but they are now too big for my drive! Wood and styrofoam absorb more water than polyurethane. Polystyrene is worse than Styrofoam. Hence there is a greater risk of damp penetration in a motorhome built with insulation that absorbs water more than polyurethane. A higher risk is not the same as actual cases. I did not use the phrase "leak" as all vans run that risk dependent on a number of factors such as holes drilled into the body. I understand Rapide are starting to use polyurethane.

2. Quality is that defined by the standard expected by the receiver of the service or product against expectations. So even if quality standards are set, people will have different perceptions of quality based on their personal expectations. I may be being unfair on Auto-Sleeper here. Hymer spend more time in their brochures and through their dealers highlighting the build quality. Auto-Sleeper's brochures do not provide such detail. The Auto-Sleeper focus tends to be on the kit you get. Point 1 covers the body. Hymer put their A-classes through a thorough crash test not just type approval. They pass. The shower in a Hymer is built to minimise water ingress around the shower tray. Auto-Sleepers make no mention if their showers are built the same way. So, if I am working on perception, I am more likely to be impressed with the Hymer PR on quality than the almost non-existent quality PR [other than owners] from Auto-Sleeper. Seven years of Hymer ownership supports my perception my van was very well built. I haven't owned an Auto-Sleeper so can only go on what I see or don't see in the vans I inspect.

3. I should have said "traditional". I love the spotted soft furnishings and I do think the PVCs are bang up to date and possibly ahead of the competition. The monocoque bodies are probably the ultimate in motorhome design. I've crawled all over the Broadway and Merc equivalent version in 2012 and 2013 as much as anyone can in a dealers or Show. First impressions count and walking into an Auto-Sleeper coachbuilt reminds me of a romany caravan I once saw. Ouch! Sorry. We probably all differ on what is good design. The new Hymer A-classes are ugly in my eyes.

I've answered your questions the best I can. I came on this forum to open my mind to the possibility of changing to Auto-Sleeper's products. I'm glad I did because I have gained a more favourable impression. Owning a Hymer A-class has its compromises so is not a perfect match. It's right that I explore alternatives that are sufficiently different to challenge my thinking.

Best wishes on your future journeys.
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Post by Paulmold on Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:30 am

Just a comment on viewing Autosleepers. If you've got the time the entire range can be viewed in one place - no need to go to several dealers who may have one or two to see. Motorplus of Derby are now a 'centre of excellence' for AS. The entire range can be viewed there so you can make true comparisons between models.

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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:49 am

An acquaintance who worked at Hymer Preston chose an (and still has) an Auto-Sleeper as his van.

I've been at Moreton in Marsh CC site since Thursday and circa 60% of the motor homes on site have been AS with a mix of others and no Hymer.

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Post by DuxDeluxe on Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:10 pm

Hi Aspenshaw,

I think we all really appreciate your views and also the way that you have put them across. I did laugh a bit when I saw your reference to Romany Caravans....... though can see what you mean. The issue is that on one side we have a very technical German approach to things and on the other side a traditional English approach, each of which aims at a market niche.

Best of luck with your search and thanks for coming on here to ask the questions/gauge opinions. It has certainly made a few of us think.............. up!

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Post by CC on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:33 pm

Aspenshaw wrote:Hello CC

I've answered your questions the best I can. I came on this forum to open my mind to the possibility of changing to Auto-Sleeper's products. I'm glad I did because I have gained a more favourable impression. Owning a Hymer A-class has its compromises so is not a perfect match. It's right that I explore alternatives that are sufficiently different to challenge my thinking.

Best wishes on your future journeys.


Hello Aspenshaw

Thank you for your responses, you have made some valid and interesting points. Lets hope the guys at Auto-Sleeper read your comments, as I can understand when you refer to the lack of information regarding quality of build and this does seem mainly built upon their past reputation. I would always welcome information of this kind.

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Post by Uncle Albert on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:40 pm

Well quoted Aspenshaw,

As the age old phrase goes ' if you've got it, flaunt it' and in my view Hymer certinaly have got it when in comes to build quality, thats why they make so sure you know how their vans are built. Comes with a price tag but hey you only get what you pay for? allthumbz
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Why buy an Auto-sleeper? Empty Re: Why buy an Auto-sleeper?

Post by groundhog on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:39 pm

So my Worcester is about as good as it gets then, German underneath and British on the top.... scratch head
groundhog
groundhog
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Posts : 3041
Joined : 2011-08-01
Location : Poldarkland
Auto-Sleeper : Worcester

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