If you are interested in buying a motorhome – or trading in your existing vehicle for a new one – you are almost certain to come across the term “Auto-Sleeper”.

It might mean one of two things:

  • Auto-Sleeper is the brand name of a specific manufacturer of high-quality motorhomes; but
  • the term is frequently used to describe any motorhome or campervan – they are all vehicles fitted-out for you to sleep in, after all.

Buying an Auto-Sleeper

Whether you are opting for a top-end Auto-Sleeper, a modest campervan, or anything in between, however, a few tips and suggestions might help you make your choice:

Size

  • in choosing a motorhome, you have already made the decision that towing a caravan maybe going a step too far;
  • but Auto-Sleepers still offer a huge range of different sizes and layouts from which to choose – depending on the space you need and the degree of comfort you expect from the fittings, appliances and devices you want from your motorhome;

Use

  • the question of size is also closely related to your intended use of the Auto-Sleeper;
  • is it likely to be just you and your spouse or partner sleeping in the motorhome, for example, or do you need a family-sized vehicle to accommodate the children too;
  • do you expect to be mostly touring in a motorhome which needs to be nimble enough to negotiate the occasional narrow, winding country lane, or will it be largely parked up for use as a well-equipped and fully-stocked base in the same place for most of your holiday;

Weight

  • a guide to buying Auto-Sleepers published by the motoring magazine AutoTrader also makes the important connection between your intended use of the motorhome, its size and its weight;
  • it is not just a question of the larger motorhome weighing more, but the driving qualifications you may need to drive a heavier Auto-Sleeper;
  • if you didn’t take your driving test until the 1st of January 1997 or after, the category B licence you obtained qualifies you to drive vehicles with a maximum weight of 3,500kg. To drive one of the larger Auto-Sleepers – weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg – you need to take an additional category C1 driving test;
  • remember, too, that the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the maximum legally permitted weight of your Auto-Sleeper when it is fully loaded. You re breaking the law if you exceed this weight;
  • finally, also bear in mind that the unladen weight of your motorhome also determines the maximum speed limits with which you must comply;
  • Auto-Sleepers less than 3.05 tonnes – built-up areas 30mph, single carriageways 60mph, dual carriageways and motorways 70mph;
  • Auto-Sleepers more than 3.05 tonnes unladen weight – built-up areas 30mph, single carriageways 50mph, dual carriageways 60mph and motorways 70mph;

Whilst these might be the cardinal points of consideration before buying your Auto-Sleeper, there is probably nothing like seeing one close up and personal when trying to make your choice.

That is why, here at our showrooms in Derby, we maintain a permanent exhibition of branded Auto-Sleepers, together with a whole range of other new and preloved Auto-Sleepers or motorhomes.

2019 is now on the horizon and it’s time to start thinking about those New Year expeditions!

As you may know, here at Derby Motorhomes we are devotees of Auto-Sleepers’ vehicles and for that reason, we thought we’d give you a preview of what is coming up in terms of the 2019 Auto-Sleepers – specifically the incredible Symbol Plus.

The Symbol Plus

The Symbol is one of the most familiar and longest-running of Auto-Sleepers van conversions.

It has always been immensely popular and its design goes back to an earlier generation of the Peugeot Boxer. It’s a fact that it’s the only van conversion of this range based upon the medium wheelbase window-van.

Now, the ever-popular Stanway is undoubtedly longer at 5.99 metres and has a pretty luxurious ‘L’ shaped kitchen. However, its diner-lounge can’t convert into single beds and it’s not perhaps quite as flexible for lazy lounging as is the case with the Symbol.

Having two immensely popular vehicles is great but wouldn’t it be a good idea if you could combine the best of both together into one model?

Well, no prizes for guessing that is what Auto-Sleepers has done with the new Symbol Plus. Essentially, you can consider this to be a Symbol at the front end and a Stanway at the rear – but all combined onto a long wheelbase Boxer.

It’s a triumph, as you will see if you contact us for further information!

Auto-Sleepers commitment

There are also the now almost taken-for-granted quality configurations available on Auto-Sleepers’ vehicles including things such as (variations by model):

  • Grade III insulated;
  • 25-litre underfloor-mounted LPG gas tank;
  • 160bhp Peugeot Euro VI engines;
  • flush-fitting, stylish and insulating athermically-treated privacy glass;
  • Al-Ko Air Top & twin leaf rear suspension;
  • Optional Fiat Ducato 150bhp engine;
  • Comfort-Matic engine available.

Why we love Auto-Sleepers’ vehicles

When speaking about the Symbol Plus above, we are obviously talking about design innovation and revolutionary thinking. Those characteristics have always existed in the Auto-Sleepers range but there are many other factors that explain why we think so highly of them.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about this subject without mentioning build quality.

Auto-Sleepers vehicles simply do not skimp on quality fixtures, finishing and materials. It’s difficult to illustrate this other than by inviting you to try some of their fixtures and fittings within the accommodation unit. Your sense of touch will tell you in an instant that the builders here wanted to get everything absolutely right.

That almost inevitably leads into the subject of robustness.

If you read motorhome reviews, you’ll occasionally see that some motorhomes don’t always get rated very highly in terms of things going wrong with internal equipment or bits falling off etc. Those sorts of things simply don’t happen on Auto-Sleepers vehicles and that’s another reason why we are confident when putting them forward to our customers for consideration.

Finally, it’s important to conclude with the recognition of the stylish design that has gone into their interiors. An individual customer can obviously configure this to some extent to their own requirements but the choices available are all almost boutique-like in their quality.

Why not contact us and come and see these incredible vehicles for yourself?

One of the services we provide is that of part exchange.

Here we’d like to run through how Derby Motorhomes operates the system and some of the basic principles behind it.

What we exchange

It may surprise you to know that we don’t just accept motorhomes as part of a part exchange deal.

We will happily consider things such as motorcycles and motor cars as well.

The basic approach

In order to give you an initial part exchange estimate, we will need to have certain key information relating to the vehicle you are considering putting forward. Those details might include:

  • a precise description of what it is, including things such as its make, model and year;
  • an accurate indication of its current mileage;
  • how many previous owners it might have had;
  • a fairly objective review of its condition. Any major problems or damage should be highlighted at this stage to avoid wasting time later on;
  • a statement of any enhancements you might have made to it, such as anything that might affect its registration details and insurance;
  • a statement relating to whether or not there is any outstanding finance on it.

Once we have those details we will contact our trusted associates in whatever the vehicle field concerned is, to seek the best possible trade-in price we can on your behalf.

Assuming the figure we indicate is acceptable, we will then proceed with you to the next stage.

Confirmation and engagement

Almost inevitably, part exchange allowances will be dependent on the person offering the figure (or their intermediaries) getting to see the vehicle in person before agreeing an absolutely final sum.

There is absolutely no suggestion here that the part exchange specialist believes you might have misrepresented the vehicle. It is simply a question of them trying to make sure that there is nothing associated with it that you might have failed to spot.

Sometimes those things can be very technical and not immediately apparent to anyone other than a skilled mechanic and one who is an expert in the type of vehicle concerned.

However, in many cases, this is simply routine and the final figures are confirmed. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to take steps to settle any outstanding finance on the vehicle prior to offering it as part of the deal or it can be settled as part of the overall transaction.

Do please keep in mind that if you are purchasing a vehicle under hire purchase terms, it is an offence to offer it for sale or part exchange unless your HP funds provider has agreed to it in advance, with any outstanding sums being settled as part of the final transaction.

Summary

As we have said on our website, part exchange can sometimes be a little complicated even though it is an excellent way to offset some of the costs associated with purchasing a new motorhome.

We and our partners can be extremely inventive in finding ways to make your part exchange happen and in a cost-effective way for you. This can all be explained in much more detail and far more easily if you contact us for an initial discussion.

That will be entirely non-committal on your part but it will give you an excellent idea of how the process works and some of the financial advantages that it might offer you.

You might just have noticed that at Derby Motorhomes, we are enthusiastic fans of the Auto-Sleepers range.

It’s perfectly legitimate though to ask why that’s the case and why buy Auto-Sleepers?

In what follows, we’ll try to outline our thinking in this respect.

Quality

It’s very difficult to define exactly what “quality” means. When you have the experience that we have in the motorhome marketplace though, you know immediately at a glance whether a given model has it or doesn’t.

Clearly, when asked why buy Auto-Sleepers, we are going to put quality of build right up towards the top of our list.

The fact is that this company doesn’t compromise on quality in any aspect of its work. From design through to build, everything is done with a quality end product in mind. That applies as much to the fittings as it does to things such as panelling and upholstery.

Couple that accommodation quality with a superb chassis and power plant contained within an Auto-Sleepers motorhome and you have an understanding of why they get a big tick from us in this domain.

Imagination

While we can wax lyrical about motorhomes in general and specifically Auto-Sleepers’ vehicles, nobody is going to pretend that there are acres of spare space inside a vehicle of this type.

That means that the layout designers have to be expert in deploying their imagination and design skills to get the best utilisation possible of the available space. We prefer to concentrate on the positives of Auto-Sleepers rather than the negatives of others but it’s worth noting that in our opinion, not all motorhomes are successful in the same way as you’ll find with an Auto-Sleepers motorhome.

This is important because comparatively few people wish to feel that their motorhome is cramped or demands extreme compromises in terms of comfort.

So, this is yet another big tick in the box as far as we are concerned.

Track record

Auto-Sleepers have been around for a long time now and their design and build expertise is second to none.

That is exceptionally important in our view.

While new faces are always welcome and the ideas they bring with them can prove to be stimulating, there is reassurance from knowing that you are purchasing from a company which has been there and done it over a period of many years rather than one which is using the motorhome concerned as a test platform for their ideas.

In fact, Auto-Sleepers are well-known for their innovation and out of box thinking coupled with delivering that in a practical way based upon extensive background knowledge.

Summary

Ultimately, the best way to see why we think it’s worth seriously looking at this manufacturer is best illustrated by using our online showroom facility to take a look inside one.

Once you do so, we suspect that you will quickly see the answer to the question “why buy Auto-Sleepers” is pretty self-evident!

Much better, of course, is to contact us for a more in-depth explanation and it’ll be even better still if you can get along to our showrooms.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Just been to the Auto-Sleepers factory for 2019 model updates prior to the NEC Show next week.



Managed to sneak a few photographs to give everyone a bit of a preview of the new Mercedes range cabs and dash and the latest wood-finish for the Mercedes range too.

The furniture finish is called Santana and is lighter than the current Valencia finish, which is still available to order.

The dash is very car-like, a huge improvement and there’s also paddle change for the “enthusiastic” drivers; still rear wheel drive and automatic too!

New Sargent control panels are very clever, updating them regularly with vital system data bursts.

Working on the Auto-Sleepers stand at the Nec next week so hopefully see some you there.

Tim – Derby Motorhomes

It’s no secret that at Derby Motorhomes we’re great fans of Auto-Sleepers motorhomes.

We developed a huge amount of experience with them over many years and we’d like to share that with you in the following Auto-Sleepers FAQs.

Do Auto-Sleepers build motorhomes?

Yes – and no!

This famous company in the Cotswolds builds coachwork and undertakes van conversions. They do not build engines, transmission systems and so on.

An Auto-Sleepers motorhome will use state-of-the-art power plants and chassis from companies such as Mercedes-Benz but everything related to accommodation and fittings will be sourced and installed themselves.

What is a van conversion and how does it differ from a motorhome?

This one comes up regularly in Auto-Sleepers FAQs.

Essentially a motorhome has had its entire accommodation unit designed and built bottom-up for accommodation purposes. A van conversion is based upon a standard van supplied by a major manufacturer which is then specifically customised and configured into luxury accommodation.

By and large, van conversions are typically smaller and have less space internally than many motorhomes.

Some people always differentiate in speech or writing between motorhomes and van conversions. Others describe them all as motorhomes.

You can use our virtual showroom facility to inspect some Auto-Sleepers motorhomes.

How do collapsible caravans fit into the picture?

These are typically trailers that have a caravan/tent folded up inside. Upon arrival, the pieces are unfolded and connected up to provide what is typically semi-rigid tented accommodation.

They are not usually considered to be motorhomes.

Is it better to purchase a new or used Auto-Sleepers motorhome?

There are multiple arguments for both. We won’t take a position!

We can though highlight a few typical considerations.

Whatever vehicle is being discussed, the logic behind purchasing pre-used as opposed to new is usually either:

  • price – pre-used vehicles are usually lower cost (if all other things are equal);
  • model – sometimes buyers might prefer a given model that’s since been discontinued, although this is rare.

In terms of price, Auto-Sleepers motorhomes typically hold their values well. Of course, a three-year old vehicle is likely to cost less than a brand new one but the difference might be less than would be the case with a typical motor car.

Some individuals prefer to own a vehicle that’s brand new in the knowledge nobody else has used it. Other buyers don’t feel strongly at all about such things.

This is very much about personal preferences. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you.

Can I customise my Auto-Sleepers motorhome?

You have options to select one of many varying configurations and décor schemes.

After purchase, you can customise your motorhome as you wish but as we’ve said previously in other Auto-Sleeps FAQs, we’d recommend caution.

If you are planning to customise your vehicle, it’s important to use a fully-qualified and highly experienced company to help. Secondly, remember that perhaps contrary to some expectations, customisation of a motorhome can actually reduce rather than enhance its resale value.

That’s because the value of an Auto-Sleepers motorhome is driven in part by its exemplary quality and superb engineering. If you start to dismantle things and replace them with someone else’s, then you may reach a point where some potential buyers and dealerships would no longer regard it as an Auto-Sleepers’ product.

That might adversely affect their valuations.

We are sometimes asked why we so clearly approve of Auto-Sleepers motorhomes.

In a word, that can be answered by saying “experience”.

Here, we at Derby Motorhomes will expand upon that a little.

Pulling everything together

Through our extensive experience in the marketplace, we know that it’s possible to see many motorhomes that:

  • are brilliantly designed in terms of their internal layouts and things such as the flexibility of their accommodation;
  • offer designer-quality internal décor, fixtures, fittings and colour schemes;
  • contain state of the art technology in terms of appliances and recreational-support activities;
  • demonstrate unparalleled build quality and which, as a result, also feel very tactile and “good in the hand”;
  • utilise only the best and proven power plants meaning superb on the road driving performance;
  • implement the best ergonomic design to provide a safe and comfortable driving experience;
  • make available an excellent value for money proposition;
  • deliver exceptional reliability and day after day performance;
  • have great external looks and bodywork etc.

However, while we have seen many motorhomes that deliver some of or perhaps even several of those things, what we like about Auto-Sleepers is that you can put a tick in all of those boxes for motorhomes constructed by this now very famous Cotswolds company.

Hopefully, it goes without saying that all of these things are important.

Reliable and luxurious

A motorhome can contain incredibly comfortable accommodation and some great facilities but none of that will count for much if it’s broken down and constantly under repair in your local garage. Similarly, being out on a trip and finding, shortly after you have parked up, that something simply “doesn’t work” is a frustrating experience and one that might spoil your precious leisure activity.

For all these reasons and others like them, we incline towards Auto-Sleepers when we are discussing quality solutions for motorhome recreational needs.

Of course, even within the Auto-Sleepers range, there will be many choices to make and not all of these vehicles will necessarily be equally suitable for an individual purchaser. This is another big advantage of Auto-Sleepers though.

Nobody wishes to face a “Hobson’s choice” when contemplating an expensive purchase. Auto-Sleepers have an incredibly flexible range of vehicles and configurations to choose from and it is highly likely that there will be one to suit the requirements of the vast majority of motorhome purchasers.

How can we prove this to you?

It would obviously be ideal if you could come and look at some of their products with us but if time or geography doesn’t permit you to do so, why not consider taking a tour of some of these vehicles using our 360° virtual tour simulator?

We would be only too pleased to offer further advice and guidance on any of the Auto-Sleepers range. We have all the required technical information including that covering the various configuration options that you, as an Auto-Sleepers purchaser, would have open to you.

We look forward to hearing from you and in the meantime, please enjoy our virtual tour inspection facility!

As you’ll know from our Derby Motorhomes site, we’re proud to offer a range of Auto-Sleepers motorhomes for sale.

However, we’re also regularly asked: “Who are Auto-Sleepers?”. So, we’d like to say a few words on the subject here.

Understanding motorhomes

There are many different types of motorhome – including the Auto-Sleepers motorhome.

Some of them have their origin in a power plant and chassis provided by a major manufacturer such as Mercedes-Benz. Once that power plant and chassis are to hand, there is then the very significant task of designing and building the accommodation unit to sit on top of it.

A slight variation on that theme is when a motor manufacturer produces what might be termed a standard van. That can then be taken and the internals can be entirely redesigned and converted so that the van becomes a smaller form of motorhome (these are often referred to as “van conversions”).

The challenge

The process described above is by no means as simple as it sounds.

It takes an extraordinary degree of design skill and engineering capability to undertake either of the above two tasks. Not only is this a technological issue but it also requires considerable imagination and design flair.

If you use our virtual motorhome inspection facility on our website, you will see the stunning and stylish interiors of some of these splendid vehicles. You’ll be able to see at a glance that maximising the use of space while continuing to achieve a designer or boutique look to the finish, is something to be admired.

These skills take many years to develop and hone – and they aren’t something that can simply be output from a computer programme at the push of a button. In many cases, this requires human know-how and craftsman-like knowledge.

This is where Auto-Sleepers comes into the picture.

Auto-Sleepers, designers and builders par excellence

Auto-Sleepers are a company based in the Cotswolds near the charming town of Broadway.

They have been designing and building coachwork plus converting vans for well over half a century. Their experience and know-how in this field are second to none.

Over time they have established an incomparable reputation for producing quality vehicles and interior design solutions that is the envy of many other people in the marketplace. You can see multiple examples of their work on our site and we think the results speak for themselves!

They specialise in Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot coach-built solutions and van conversions.

Why we choose Auto-Sleepers

As a long-standing professional organisation, we take our responsibility to our customers extremely seriously.

From our vast experience, we know that an Auto-Sleepers motorhome offers exceptional quality and comforts though at a cost-effective price. We will never compromise on our selection of vehicles to offer our clients and this explains, in a nutshell, why we are proud to have had such a lengthy association with Auto-Sleepers.

We are confident that you will find an Auto-Sleepers motorhome that is to your satisfaction and which fits your budgetary requirements and invite you to use our online tools to inspect some of these magnificent vehicles yourself. Alternatively, please pop along to our showroom.

Buying an Auto-Sleepers motorhome is a decision that many people make with enthusiasm.

The obvious question that comes to mind is, just what makes them so popular?

Quality

Perhaps the first point is that relating to interiors and quality.

The whole point of a motorhome is to provide comfortable accommodation while you are out and about exploring the world at large. As a result, you will typically want the accommodation component of your motorhome to be very comfortable, well equipped and spacious.

While nobody is going to pretend that a motorhome is ever likely to offer the same space and luxury as a penthouse suite in a top-class hotel, even so, Auto-Sleepers come close to achieving this in the vehicles they have constructed or customised.

This is partly about the quality of the materials used internally, partly about the design approach and most importantly, about the overall build quality. It’s perfectly possible to have a great design using superb materials but if they are poorly put together, the end result will be sub-optimal.

This is not a mistake Auto-Sleepers make and their interiors are widely praised.

Design

Although it is touched on above, this needs to be stressed under its own heading.

It’s perfectly possible to see some motorhomes where the design has perhaps not been entirely well thought-through. Although the materials and build quality may be fine, that doesn’t count for much if you have to climb over a table in order to reach the WC or can’t easily open a cupboard door when sitting in the lounge because it jams against a piece of furniture.

Auto-Sleepers vehicles have clearly been impeccably designed with emphasis on practical functionality. The importance of this often becomes crystal clear during the first 24 hours of using your new motorhome!

Variety

Auto-Sleepers offer a wide range of vehicle types.

Not only do they vary based on chassis and engine but also in terms of their internal configuration. You could, for example, have near identical chassis and engines but with the accommodation configured for two, three or four berth use.

The company also doesn’t restrict its activities to larger flagship motorhomes. Their van conversions are innovative and genius in terms of the utilisation of available space. This means that recreational vehicle users of all types and budgets can usually find an Auto-Sleepers vehicle to meet their needs.

Requirements

Of course, however brilliant their vehicles are, not even Auto-Sleepers can think through your requirements for you.

Whether you will be happy with a van conversion or a full-sized motorhome is very much a matter of personal choice. The same is true in terms of things such as the size of the shower room and the total number of berths. For example, some people may prefer to trade a berth if it means they have a larger shower and WC area.

These things need to be considered and a general requirements list produced before you start searching the Auto-Sleepers range. It will help focus your attention on what’s important to you.

In summary, these are simply great motorhomes and ones that are worthy of further attention if you are looking to buy a motorhome in the near future.

At Derby Motorhomes we don’t try and hide the fact that we enjoy sharing information about our motorhomes with customers – both existing and potential.

Here we’ll be taking a quick and yes, inevitably slightly superficial look at some of the jaw-dropping Auto-Sleeper coach built motorhomes based around a Mercedes engine.

The models

These Mercedes Auto-Sleeper coach built motorhomes are amongst some of the most prestigious and luxurious models you’ll see anywhere. However, they also cope with requirements for smaller and more everyday uses.

The model types include:

  • Stanton

This is the most compact camper built on the Mercedes rear wheel drive chassis – but that use of “compact” might be misleading. This vehicle quite simply reigns supreme in the luxury compact motorhomes class and offers virtually everything the discerning motorhome owner could require.

Of course, Mercedes offers excellent driving and handling comfort. It can make even the longest journeys routine and relaxing;

  • Bourton

This model takes the popularity and solidity of the Stanton and then produces an enhanced front lounge and end kitchen model.

Its voluminous lounge easily converts at night to offer the choice between full-length single beds or a very luxurious double.

  • Malvern

In the Malvern, you find a vehicle that offers the unrivalled comfort of a fixed French bed combined with the legendary style that Auto-Sleepers are justifiably famous for.

This vehicle has a flat level floor and a very spacious front lounge. That’s complemented by a fully equipped kitchen which is great for evening entertainment and which can be converted into a large double bed.

It also comes with a spacious side washroom and an entirely separate shower.

  • Winchcombe

A motorhome clearly designed with ultimate luxury in mind.

This model is a 2-berth motorhome with a very spacious front lounge. It also boasts a top of the range kitchen and very luxurious end washroom with a double shower for full home-from-home comforts wherever your voyages are taking you.

It has a magnificent overall specification as befits its flagship status and has to be seen to be fully appreciated;

  • Burford

The Burford is an “experience” aimed at delivering decadence for the highly discerning and demanding motorhome owner.

The front provides a massively spacious lounge and a fully equipped kitchen. The rear bedroom is very large and “statement” in its intent. It also offers a full-width en-suite washroom and the Mercedes driving experience is enhanced by the use of high-tech electronics

  • Burford Duo

The Burford Duo offers all the unapologetic decadence of the Burford but this time that roomy rear bedroom has spacious single beds. Of course, the super-luxury en-suite washroom is retained.

Interested?

As we said at the outset, even the most eloquent language can’t adequately describe these Auto-Sleeper coach built motorhomes.

To really appreciate them, you need to come and look around inside them – if that’s at all possible. If you can’t, our website offers a great virtual reality online inspection facility that will allow you to get at least some sense of these wonderful motorhomes from the comfort of your chair or desk.

However, we admit we’d far rather see you face to face because we know how impressed you’ll be with these vehicles.

So, if it’s at all possible, do come along and see us sooner rather than later. You’ll be most welcome!