The locally-designed and built Rangefinder Comet with its new slide-out bedroom was a hit at the recent 2016 Motorhome and Caravan show held at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, according to Bailey Australia boss, Adrian Van Geelen.
In an Australian caravan industry innovation, the new model was launched almost simultaneously in Australia and the UK, with its Birmingham debut marking the Bailey group’s first slide-out model worldwide.
Van Geelen also believes the Comet’s display at the NEC Show was the first caravan to be exported back to the UK from Australia, while its slide-out, which increases space for the transverse queen bed by 600mm, was the first appearance of the new cassette unit at a UK show.
The Rangefinder’s patented Alu-Tech frameless construction system that represents 20 per cent of the caravan is made in the UK and shipped to Australia for assembly on an Australian chassis, with Australian furniture and appliances. Thus parts of the display Comet travelled from the UK to Australia and back to the UK again – a distance of more than 30,000km.
Van Geelen said there were “no plans’” for the new Comet to be sold in the UK as a fully imported model.
Rather, he said, the purpose of the ‘coals to Newcastle’ display was to discover what features of the Comet appealed to the UK market, with a view to their possible inclusion in future Bailey UK models.
“The response from Show visitors was outstanding,” said Van Geelen, who with Bailey Leisure’s Marketing Manager Gina Stanwell by-passed Melbourne Leisurefest to be in the UK for the Comet’s launch.
“We got very positive feedback on our modern interior design, high-gloss cabinetry and colour schemes,” he claimed, while the wider Rangefinder body, its unique wedge-shaped under-floor 210-litre capacity fresh water tanks, large shower, recessed cooker, roll-out awning and picnic table were novel features rarely seen on British and European caravans.
“The slide-out was the real hit,” he said. “The Comet has now gone back to Bailey HQ in Bristol where it will be further analysed before being handed over to the product development department.
“But it’s hard to say at this early stage which features, if any, will find their way into UK models, whether as standard inclusions, or as options.”
The new Rangefinder Comet retails from $82,000 in Australia, although one of the display caravans at Melbourne Leisurefest fitted with a full suite of options including an RT (Rough Terrain) Pack, an upgraded Dexter off-road braking system, twin 150W solar panels, a second 100AH battery, a fixed front gas-strut table, upgraded air conditioning and a Truma E2400 gas heater, had an eye-catching show-price of $98,838.