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Walkinshaw buys into caravan-maker

Van plan: New Age Caravans offers 11 different van models with 36 possible variants, all built in Melbourne’s outer north.

New Age Caravans announces partnership with Walkinshaw Automotive Group

20 Oct 2016

WALKINSHAW Automotive Group has announced a partnership with Victorian-based caravan-maker New Age Caravans as the company continues to expand its Australian business.

According to a joint media release from the two companies, the partnership was forged over a 12-month period of discussions that has led to Walkinshaw purchasing a stake in New Age Caravans, with the agreement set to be finalised in the next month.

Walkinshaw is the owner of Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), the performance arm of GM Holden, as well as operating a right-hand-drive conversion business for Ram trucks called American Special Vehicles.

The company also produces go-fast packs and enhancement parts for Holden and HSV models, and it is the official importer for India’s Tata Motors under its Fusion Automotive umbrella.

New Age Caravans produces modern vans at its Epping, Victoria production facility, building more than 2000 a year from its 11 models and 36 variants. It employs more than 180 full-time staff, has more than 40 dedicated contractors and a dealer network that covers all states of Australia as well as New Zealand.

The caravan-maker was the first company to receive funding from a grant fund established by Ford Australia and the Victorian and federal governments to help create jobs in Melbourne’s north following the Blue Oval’s announcement that it would shut its manufacturing operations.

New Age Caravans received $1 million from the $49 million grant program that was split equally between the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) and the Melbourne North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF), and was made up of a $30 million federal contribution, $9 million from Victoria, and $10 million from Ford Australia.

New Age Caravans founder and owner and newly appointed managing director and chair, Gabby Montagnese, said the unique capabilities of Walkinshaw would help the business grow even further.

“Our partnership with Walkinshaw strengthens our ability to grow and bring new and exciting product lines to our customers,” she said. “Walkinshaw’s experience will help us to accelerate our focus on growth and innovation in caravans – including new materials, engineering and processes.

“We looked at different structures to bring a partnership approach to life, and decided that Walkinshaw taking a significant stake in New Age Caravans made a lot of sense because of the position we have been able to establish in the market, and the unique skills and capabilities they can bring to the table.”

Walkinshaw Automotive owner Ryan Walkinshaw said he had great respect for New Age Caravans and added that the partnership would produce positive outcomes for both companies.

“Passion and creativity are at the heart of every caravan New Age builds – just as it is for every vehicle Walkinshaw creates for our loyal customer base,” he said. “With our niche automotive experience and a shared focus on R&D from both companies, customers can expect to see some exciting innovations to their caravan and camping lifestyle.

“We are great admirers of what Gabby has been able to achieve, and taking a stake in New Age is a clear signal of our desire to build on what has already been achieved, and a belief in our ability to assist in the next phase of growth for New Age Caravans.”

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