Forget cars, drive around in a motorhome

Chandigarh: Miss the comfort of a personal bed, having a shower or cooking while on the move? For the price of a high-end luxury car, all this could be yours: A Punjab-based automobile fabricator has launched what is called a motorhome – a super-luxury caravan.

Built on a Fiat Ducato chassis imported from Italy, the motorhome is equipped with a lounge, a tiny kitchen, refrigerator, a toilet and separate shower and a luxury bedroom to provide the personalised comfort of home and office for people even when travelling.

Automobile fabricator company JCBL, which is based out of Derabassi in Punjab, 20 km from here, has brought the motorhomes to the country in collaboration with PLA (Pier Luigi Alinari), a leading manufacturer of caravans and campers in Italy.

Two models of the motorhomes, priced at Rs.75 lakh (Rs 7.5 million) and Rs.78 lakh (Rs 7.8 mlllion) each, have been launched. The completely knocked down (CKD) united will be imported from Italy and assembled here.

“These motorhomes can be seamlessly converted into an office, guest house, entertainment place or a home away from home. With its Fiat Ducato chassis, vehicles will get pan-India service back-up from Fiat-India,” JCBL managing director Rishi Aggarwal told here.

“The price of the motorhome is even lesser than some high-end cars sold in India,” he added.

The JCBL management feels that the concept of motorhomes will become popular in the country in coming times, just as they have gained popularity in the West, especially in Europe and the United States and Canada. There is a trend in favour of these vehicles in Australia too.

“The hassle of searching for a hygienic washroom will soon be a thing of past as JCBL motorhomes come with tastefully designed bathrooms equipped with a chemical toilet, hot shower and wash basin,” a JCBL statement said.

Pier Luigi Alinari, the founder of PLA-Italy, who has worked to popularise the caravanning sector in Europe, says India offers great scope for motorhomes.

“The motorhomes offer a very safe and comfortable travelling option. I had visited India in the late 1970s and saw bullock carts and other things moving on the roads. Now, I find that amazing development has taken place in this country and it is ready for things like motorhomes,” Alinari said (through a translator).

In recent years, however, the motorhomes market in Europe has seen a decline. From 12,500 motorhomes and caravans registered in Italy in 2006, the numbers came down to just 6,500 last year.

JBCL group chairman Rajinder Aggarwal told: “We believe that travelling should be a pleasurable experience, irrespective of whether it is a short drive for a family picnic or reaching an important destination to strike a business deal. Our motorhomes are designed around your needs and crafted to perfection with style and imagination.”

JCBL was set up by Rajinder Aggarwal in 1989 in collaboration with Swaraj Mazda Limited for making bus bodies. The company expanded by providing bus bodies to other brands like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and others.

The company later diversified into special purpose vehicles like ambulances, blood bank vans, mobile homes and offices, display vans, election campaign vans, bank ATM vans, riot control vehicles and OB (outdoor broadcasting) vans.

JCBL has tie-ups with international companies like PLA-Italy for motorhomes, Stratiforme of France for fibre glass components, COFI of Italy for refrigerated vans and DOLL of Germany for heavy duty special purpose trailers.

– By Jaideep Sarin

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