Campervan conversion firm sees demand speed up ahead of Brexit

An East Lothian firm specialising in campervan conversions says its production schedule is now full until November 2021 following accelerating demand due in part to a staycation boom.

The business praises the record autumn in customers pre-ordering their VW campervans. Picture: contributed.
The business praises the record autumn in customers pre-ordering their VW campervans. Picture: contributed.

Jerba Campervans has received more than 40 per cent of its typical annual orders in September alone, adding to an order book that it said will guarantee work for the next 11 months.

The 100 per cent employee-owned firm offers five conversions of both the short wheel base and long wheelbase T6.1 transporter van from Volkswagen.

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The North Berwick-based business has pre-ordered more than 40 new base vehicles from VW in Europe ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU to help ease any possibility of a tariff or transport disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Jerba has pre-ordered more than 40 new base vehicles from Volkswagen in Europe. Picture: contributed.

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Simon Poole, who founded the firm in 2006 with wife Cath, said: “We are doing everything we can to ensure Jerba Campervans transitions into Brexit as smoothly as possible.

“With the emergence of a staycation boom due to the Covid pandemic and the looming Brexit deadline we have seen a record autumn in customers pre-ordering their VW campervans.

“What this will enable us to is pre-order our parts from our VW suppliers on the Continent. Despite trepidations in the evolving market we are delighted to have set a new record for orders.”

The news comes as Jerba was featured as a case study in a joint report created by associations representing cooperatives, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses to help build business following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rebuilding Business for Society report highlighted key areas in which businesses can adapt.

Mr Poole added: “Featuring in such a prominent report is testament to the values which we hold dear. It is a clear indication that consumers’ attitudes towards employee-owned business is changing for the better.

“There is greater focus on how ethical a business is, and this plays to our strengths, and our commitment to giving back to the local community and sharing the positive message of employee ownership.”

Jerba in the summer reported that annual profits had grown by a fifth, leading to an increase in its annual employee profit share bonus.

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