A German motorhome manufacturer has begun selling recreational vehicles big enough to carry a small car in its belly.
The convenience of having two vehicles in one comes with a hefty price.
In Europe, the cheapest offering starts at €320,000 ($AU525,000) and climbs beyond €335,000 ($AU550,000) with a few options added.
And that’s the most basic model in the range, the Concorde Daily (based on the underpinnings of the Iveco Daily van).
The next model up is the Concorde Atego (based on the new generation Mercedes Atego truck). It starts from €430,000 ($AU705,000) and the price stretches beyond €448,000 ($AU735,000) with a few options ticked.
The flagship of the European range is based on a full sized Mercedes Actros truck and has dual rear axles (pictured below). It costs from €705,000 ($AU1.13 million) in Germany, before options.
All three Concorde motorhomes are large enough to accomodate a Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, or Smart city car.
This method provides a neater and safer alternative to towing a smaller vehicle behind a large recreational vehicle (RV), as is common practice in the US and which is starting to become more popular in Australia.
However, only certain types of vehicles can be "flat towed" because their gearboxes can be decoupled. Newer vehicles can't be "flat towed" unless the engine is running, to lubricate the internals.
This technical hurdle will likely make motorhomes that can stowaway cars more appealing in the future – otherwise cars can be carried on a trailer, of course.
While all three Concorde motorhomes are extremely opulent inside, we’ve crunched the numbers and figured out the price premium could buy a lot of time in a rental car.
Assuming each motorhome had a $100,000 price premium to be able to stow a car onboard, that would be enough to comfortably cover about 1000 days or close to three continuous years in a rental vehicle.
The one advantage, of course, is that with these motorhomes, the owner has access to a small runabout vehicle even in remote areas where a rental car might not be available.
While Concorde is Europe’s biggest manufacturer of motorhomes, it has been selling its RVs in Australia since 2016 via a local distributor.
The company currently has one model in the local line-up that can accommodate a small car in its belly – the Concorde Liner, based on a previous generation Mercedes Atego – priced from $850,000.
However, the Australian distributor is waiting for production of the just released new generation Mercedes Atego-based model to go into production. Both left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive versions are made in Germany.
The local distributor says one or two of the flagship motorhomes are sold in Australia each year, but that caravan sales in general have increased since the coronavirus crisis, as many families decide to holiday at home in the coming years.