As 2018 draws to a close, it’s only natural to reflect on the year that is past. Such reflection conjures up thoughts of a smooth whiskey, a slow-drawn pipe, and a view of the African sun melting into the horizon as I relax in my favourite armchair. Lol, if only!
Truth is, year-end in a manufacturing company is far from serene. Perhaps it’s better described as me gulping whiskey while anxiously clawing at a deeply-worn armrest, with my eyes blankly staring into the unknown, all the while wondering how we’re going to deliver all the outgoing stock before the factory closes for the year.
It’s been a mother of a year! The guys need their well-deserved break as they’ve all done an amazing job. We’re very proud of them.
On a more recent note, we’ve just completed our annual dealer conference, with our global distributers flying in from the far corners of the world. Everyone is super-excited about 2019, and it’s ‘all systems go’ here at Alu-Cab: we’re strapping in for a big year of adventure, manufacturing and cross-border travel.
This year brought more product launchers than I could keep track of, which came with some amazing engineering feats and stresses: things like the Canopy Camper, Roof Box, and some exciting surprises that we’re going to reveal only early next year, so stay tuned and remember to sign up to our newsletter for updates.
Warwick and I spent a great part of 2018 flitting around the globe visiting our international distributors and partners, all the while forging stronger relationships and making many new friends along the way. I also had the privilege of squeezing in two African adventures. It’s going to be a tough year to beat!
But, aside from all the travel, the biggest highlight for us was getting to know so many Alu-Cab enthusiasts from so many different countries around the world. For us Africans (based right down at the bottom of the continent) it’s been brilliant, and we’ve loved every minute of it (except, perhaps, the economy class travel). Oh… and maybe your beer; I’m going to need a bit more convincing about your IPA. But I’m willing to hear (read: sample) as much convincing as it takes.
Some big highlights for the year…
The re-introduction of the canopy camper. When we first started building this camper some 10 years ago, the demand wasn’t high enough for us to make it a production item. Now, however, with the world market opening up to our products, that trend is fast changing. Thanks to our canopies laying the groundwork for the Alu-Cab product range, many new buyers are coming in, and bringing with them new demands, new perceptions and new ways of travelling.
The fundamental benefit of the canopy camper is that it’s a compact mini-camper that opens the door to many optional setups. As they’ve proven themselves in the rental fleet market for many years, we know that the Canopy Camper is a tried-and-tested success, particularly for modular applications. So, whether you’re a weekend camper, long-haul overlander, or even an adventure-seeking sportsman, the Canopy Camper has you covered.
The product also offers loads of packing space; and, with the ability to stand up inside, is a big game-changer in terms of convenience. Throw the Shadow Awn in the mix, and you couldn’t have a more complete, lightweight and customisable solution.
Another winning feature that sets the Canopy Camper apart from many of its competitors is the vertical rear door. This feature makes entering and leaving it so much easier; and to top it off, you can use the door to carry the spare wheel or alternative equipment.
Then there’s our new Roof Box…
I love this box! Our quick release MAXTRAX tray fits to the lid of the box, so it’s up and out the way, but still easy to get to. You can also fit the box with load-bar extensions that allow for an extra jerrycan holder to be placed on either side of the box. The Roof Box is perfect for storing firewood, extra gear, or rubbish that you may need to keep with you and remove from a national park.
And that brings us to our pride and joy, the new 4-sleeper Khaya. I did three long trips in the Khaya this year. Some in the full spec, and some in the weekender mode. The Khaya covers every need, and is unquestionably our flagship product. There’s little you can do to beat this camper: it just keeps getting better and better every time we evolve it. We’ll bring you a more in-depth look at the Khaya’s features in an upcoming newsletter and blog post.
Until then, we would like to thank everyone who’s been a part of the Alu-Cab journey. We’ve learnt so much this year, and we owe it all to our friends and customers, who (as far as we can see,) are one and the same. So, thanks again for a terrific 2018; and we’ll catch you all on the flip side of 2019. Have a happy festive season, and travel safe.
Jeremy and team