The battle between Australian made products versus imported products has been raging ever since….well, who knows!
But there is no sign of it slowing down, and it’s no different in the Australian made campers industry.
As the non-for profit organization Australia Made has been pointing out for years, making the wrong decision can have dire consequences. In this article, we use the Australian made camper industry to discuss the implications.
The aim isn’t to throw bad light on imported campers, as there is nothing malicious about people making campers outside of Australia, or importing foreign campers in. Everyone’s just trying to get by in this big crazy world! Even though we are a proud Australian owned company, specializing in 100% Australian made campers, we ourselves export slide on campers to other parts of the world, so we aren’t against the export/import industry.
What we want to do is shed light on why Australian made campers are such a great option for Australians, or those wanting to explore Australia.
Australian Made Campers Benefits Overview
There is no doubt that Australian made campers provide big benefits for Australia, and those wanting to explore it. These benefits are the same across Australia made products:
Let’s tease apart each benefit in more detail. We’ll look to Trayon Australian made campers for examples, because we cannot vouch for the quality of all Australian companies.
We will also address the common opinion that ‘Australian made’ comes with higher price tag.
Australian Made Campers: Support for the Australian Community and Economy
The need to retain and create jobs in Australia underpins a huge majority of today’s political decisions and debate.
For example, here’s a snippet of every Australian news outlet, every day of the week….”jobs…jobs jobs jobs, we need more jobs…this new policy will create more jobs….politicians have raised their salaries again, but don’t worry, they say it’ll create more jobs!”
(Tongue-in-cheek, of course!)
Although the often heated job debate dominates media headlines, there is one fact in there amongst it which no one can deny……a sufficient amount of jobs is crucial to a happy, functional and satisfied community. So much so, that political decisions about employment are made despite huge, potentially global implications!
For example, why do you think Donald Trump (love him or hate him) pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement? One of the reasons is, he didn’t support the push away from fossil fuel exploration and use, which could cost American jobs by making America non-competitive on the international manufacturing market.
Whether you agree or disagree with these drastic measures, is not the point. The point is, it demonstrates just how far some governments will go to protect and foster jobs… SOME!
The reasons for this are clear.
Jobs Have Huge Flow on Impacts for Society
It’s a very well proven and understood concept:
More jobs → less people living under the poverty line → a larger middle class → more prosperity → more spending on domestic products → economic and business boosts → more jobs!
It is a cycle which leads to a better quality of life for everyone. Raising unemployment levels can lift entire countries out of poverty and the third world!
Okay, we already have a very good quality of life here in Australia, but to some extent, that’s because we support our manufacturers and products. This is why we have non-for-profit organization’s like Australia Made, reminding us how important it is to choose Australian made products and foster that support for local jobs and business.
Forget What the Politicians do in Their Ivory Towers
Despite what politicians would have you believe, they are not our savior’s. The reality is, our actions have a huge amount of influence over Australian jobs and prosperity.
We can directly boost Australia’s job market, economy and local communities through our purchasing habits.
This is one of the key objectives of the Australia made campaign.
Why do you think Australia’s job market is better than most other countries around the world? While politicians claim it is their decisions we have to thank, a big portion is likely due to the fact that Australians can trust in Australian made products, and in general, like to support Australian products and communities.
(Hold that thought, we’ll talk about why we trust Australian made products later on!)
Buying Australian Made Campers Creates Jobs
Here’s an example of the flow on impact of buying Australian made camper for jobs.
If you buy one single Trayon slide on camper, you are helping to employ around 190 Australian workers, for different amounts of time, over a two and a half month period.
Here’s a Breakdown of the Jobs Created Through a Single Trayon Australian Made Camper:
|Employment Type||Number Of Jobs|
|Trayon factory employees||11|
|Trayon sales team employees1 (agents and resellers)||16|
|Subcontractors2 employed by Trayon for specialized tasks||5|
|Employees in other Australian companies2 involved in Trayon specific manufacturing||94|
|Secondary supplier companies3||64|
1. Trayon employees are employed on a full time basis, solely dedicated to building and managing the sales of Trayon campers.
2. ‘Non-Trayon’ employees are employed anywhere from two days to three weeks, fulfilling Trayon specific component orders which occur every two months (i.e. every batch of campers).
3. ‘Secondary supplier companies’ refers to entire companies with unknown staff numbers. Although some of them are not Australian companies (e.g. Webasto, Narva), they still employ Australians (i.e. sales reps and branch staff). To account for this, we have allocated each of the 64 companies ‘one employee count’ in the job list column, resulting in at least 64 additional jobs.
By retaining these jobs, we are encouraging another key component of a successful, robust economy; skill retention and development.
Why is Skill Retention and Development so Important?
Countries rely on niche industries to provide work and prosperity for communities. Niche industries are underpinned by specialized skill sets.The Australian camper industry and skill base is certainly unique, and as a result produces some of the best campers in the world!
Keeping these kinds of niche industries retains and fosters the unique skill sets required for them. In turn, this ensures the industry continues to improve and flourish, and continues to deliver jobs, prosperity and support communities well into the future!
The flow on impact is, more people want the high quality and fit-for-purpose products produced by healthy niche industries.
So it’s a cycle in itself:
A healthy niche industry skill base → high quality, specialized, proven products → more consumer trust → more sales → expanding business → more jobs, training and skill development → an even healthier skill base!
That is one of the reasons why we have turned into industry leaders! Our healthy and unique employee skill base is able to deliver the high quality, specialized and proven Australian made campers which Australians can trust!
The Impact of Imported Options on Skill Retention
A direct result of buying imported products, is the outsourcing of skills involved with making those products, to other countries. While this is good for them and their economies, Australia gets the short end of the straw, with the following potential consequences:
- Closing down of Australian businesses who depended on a unique skill sets which is now outsourced; and
- The gradual loss of our own unique skill base here in Australia.
The impact of this is potentially serious. If an Australian loses his or her job due to less work in their field (because it’s outsourced internationally), they might have to find another job in another field, instead of what they are trained in, good at and passionate about.
Conceivably, if this happened on a large scale, this skillset could be lost to Australia in as little time as one generation, potentially altering the Australian workforce permanently, and moving those skills offshore indefinitely.
The impact on those people who depended on that industry for a living will flow down every layer of society, causing businesses and customers of all variety to keep their wallet that little bit tighter.
Conversely, the positive impacts of retaining those jobs are clear.
We’ve Now Built and Sold Over 1000 Australian Made Campers
If the production of one of our Australian made campers has a part in employing around 190 people, imagine the positive impact of one thousand of our Australian made campers!
It directly translates to retaining and increasing Australian jobs, fostering a strong and unique Australian skill base, and ultimately, supporting Australian communities.
Australian Made Campers Support Australian Made Prosperity
- Australian made campers = reliable trusted products, more Australian jobs, skill base retention and Australian prosperity
- Imported campers = uncertain product quality, less jobs, skill loss, overseas prosperity
Now, let’s look at why Australian made products, such as Australian made campers are so reliable and trustworthy in the first place.
Australian Made Campers: High Product Quality and Trust
This interesting quote hits the nail on the head:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
The Poor Man Pays Twice Principle
This isn’t about social status. What this means is, those who choose to buy the cheapest options, often end up paying the most in the long run!
For example, say you need a screwdriver. So you go out and buy a brand new $5 dollar screwdriver made overseas, as opposed to the $20 dollar Australia made one. You justify this to yourself with the argument; that for the number of times you will use the screwdriver, the $20 option is overkill. You reassure yourself that if the $5 version breaks, you can always go and buy another $5 version…….and potentially another (…and another!).
Eventually, what you realize is, you could have bought the one Australian made option first, saving yourself time and money eaten up by replacing the poorly made cheapy many times over your life.
The Buck Doesn’t Stop With Screwdrivers!
It’s exactly the same for Australian made campers, in particular the off road kind. Except the potential consequences are ten fold!
The big difference is:
- it’s so much more tempting to save thousands on a cheap imported camper, than a cheap imported screwdriver; but
- the risk involved with going for the cheapest option is much more serious!
The Risk of a Cheap Imported Camper
A cheap imported camper is not going to break in your garage, the driveway, down the road, or up the highway….ohhhhh no. It’s going to break when you’re hundreds of kilometres from civilisation down a long dirt track, with no one around, and no nearby camper shop you can waltz into and buy a new one!
A breakdown in the Outback can have seriously bad consequences:
- The costs of being rescued and recovering your vehicle can be astronomical (for example, professional vehicle recovery costs in Cape York can be several thousand dollars!).
- Waiting times for help, support and repair from your international manufacturer can be long (more on this later).
- Extreme weather, landscapes, wildlife and other vehicles can pose serious safety risks or even loss of life.
- In the end, it can spell the end of your trip, and a stiff back-hand to your wallet.
On top of this, there’s the stress caused by the whole time consuming and expensive event!
Stress reduction is meant to be one of the benefits of camping, not stress creation!
Australia Made Gear Has a Top Quality Reputation
The risk are drastically reduced with Australian made campers.
Australian products are subject to a high of level standards for build quality, safety and product testing. Our standards are higher than many other countries around the world.
What you get, isn’t going to break when you’re highly vulnerable in the Outback, and there’s far less chance you’ll need to pay for it twice!
For example, Trayon have been making Australian made campers since 1994, around 25 years. We know the ins’ and outs’ of travelling and camping in the roughest parts of the Australian Outback, and we build our campers to suit that.
That’s why you get a ten year structural warranty, which also applies to your off road travel (which you won’t need to use anyway!). We wouldn’t offer that if we had any concerns whatsoever about quality.
Always Ask Where a Product is Made
To make sure you’re getting Australian made quality, don’t ask “where is the camper from?” Ask “where is it made?”
Asking where it’s from gives salesman a loophole! They might just tell you the location of their Australian warehouse, when it’s actually made overseas.
And don’t stop there, ask as many questions as you need to satisfy yourself that the camper is full of Australian made quality, for example:
- Where is the frame assembled?
- Where is the steel made?
- Where is the canvas made?
All these things have a huge effect on the quality of a product.
Analysis of a Trayon Australian Made Camper
This is how we achieve such high standards of quality:
- We know exactly what is needed to explore the roughest of landscapes with a camper.
- We use high quality Australian materials to build our Australian made campers.
- We have the unique skill base to build it too the requirements, right here in Australia.
Here’s a few examples:
- A Trayon aluminium frame is riveted and glued together like an aircraft, not welded; zero welds = zero weld cracks.
- The frame is Australian aluminium, so it’s super strong, lightweight, and outmatches the capabilities of imported fibreglass campers.
- The Trayon ‘slide on’ system and weight distribution set-up is built to survive rough travel, and shift as much weight as possible, as far forward and low down as possible. This allows the vehicle’s suspension to work properly, thus reducing strain on the vehicle’s chassis.
- We use a unique scratch resistant finish to reduce damage caused by exploring tight, overgrown tracks, stone damage, or wild weather.
- We make sure any products fitted into a Trayon, which are not made by Trayon, are of the highest quality (for example fridges, pumps, batteries etc.).
- We use Australian made canvas, which is renowned for being some of the best in the world!
In fact, Trayon Australian made campers are built so strong, resilient and fit-for-purpose, they often outlive the vehicles that carry them! We’ve heard many accounts of a vehicle being sold or rebuilt, while the Trayon is still sitting pretty, doing it’s thing year after year!
Trayon number #1, now over 25 years old is still going strong!
These days, people aren’t use to their gear lasting so long!
How Did Our Expectations Get So Low?
Our grandparents were used to their equipment lasting a lifetime.
But in our modern, online dependant world, global economies are so interconnected that very cheap options, made overseas, are available for everything.
As a result, we have become accustomed to the cheapest versions of everything, available at the click of a button, and replaced even quicker! Products are flying and floating all over the world from one country to another, faster and faster, and in greater quantities than ever before!
The risk is:
- We know very little about what materials, chemicals, processes and labour go into making these products; and
- It requires a huge amount of energy (i.e. fuel and electricity) to ship them around the world, increasing global emissions by who knows how much. Whether you’re worried about climate change or not, increased pollution is not a good thing in anyone’s book!
Where’s the Help When you Need it?
The other risk is, once you get your cheap imported gear, it lacks the accessible help and support you get with Australian made products. This leads us to the last overarching Australian made benefit.
Australian Made Campers: Easy Access to Help, Support and Products Services
The final key benefit of our Australian made argument is about the easy access to help and support available inside Australia.
In terms of warranties and insurances, international competitors cannot match the help, support and certainty of domestic brands.
When you’re deep in the Outback, those assurances go a long way!
For example, Trayon offer help and support Australia wide. We have contacts and repair options all over the country, so it doesn’t matter what happens or where, you’re covered with Trayon Australian made campers.
While your travel buddy with an imported camper may struggle to contact their international supplier to discuss warranty issues, or be unable to organise the repair service they were promised (touch wood!).
Does High Quality and Support Equal Higher Cost?
We’ve demonstrated the big benefits of supporting Australia made products. But there is an elephant in the room still waiting to be explained:
Australian made = more expensive, right?
More often than not, this is true. But, here’s the counter points to address that fact, and highlight why buying an imported option is not the solution:
- You are getting exactly what you pay for, and the same goes for cheaper imported models. You’ll get lower quality materials, build strength and support, and ultimately a shorter camper lifespan, which means in the long run the price of Australian made campers can balance, or even win out because you only pay once!
- If you can’t budget for Australian made campers, instead of going down the imported path, it‘s better to buy a good reputable Australian made brand, second hand! When it comes to campers, and the reliability you need when exploring remote areas, you really want the best, even if its pre-loved!
- Trayon produce a slide-on camper called the Traymate camper, that is Australian made, and built using proven and trusted Trayon quality. It’s a good option for those who want the Trayon peace of mind but need a cheaper price tag. It means you aren’t forced down the imported path!
Conclusion: Australia Made is the Way to Go!
Australian made campers, like the majority of Australian made gear, will:
- Support the Australian community and the economy through job creation, skill retention and prosperity.
- Provide a high level of product quality and trust.
- Come with a better, Australia wide support network.
While imported options:
- Can have lower material and build quality, and thus more risk of breakdowns or equipment failure.
- May involve difficulties with manufacturer communication, warranties and repairs.
- Importantly, will reduce Australian manufacturing demand, resulting in less jobs, reduced skill base and reduced prosperity.
By using your purchasing power, you can choose Australian made quality while making sure Australian jobs and communities come first!