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Japanese made campervans entice Aussie grey nomads

Manufacturing News

What do you do when you are an Australian company that has carved out a niche for itself manufacturing campervans in Japan for the Japanese market?

Well, you export those vans right back to the Australian market building on the strengths of your skilled Japanese workforce and suppliers and closeness to the source of the vehicle chassis themselves.

That’s exactly what Australian and NZ owned Dream Drive has done with its converted Toyota and Nissan models now vying for sales in the admittedly vigorous Australian campervan sector.

Founder and CEO Jared Campion just moved back from Tokyo to Brisbane to spearhead the company’s move into the Australian market, or as he puts it ‘to go where the customer is’.

Campion and COO, New Zealand born Mark Tan founded the business in 2018 – Tan has remained in Tokyo to manage production.

Campion said: “Originally we tried to run a van rental business where we built our own style campervans.

“But with Covid we sold off our fleet and moved into selling in Japan.”

Dream Drive has appointed its first dealers – Geelong’s Davey Motor Group and Vans West in Perth – which already import Japanese vehicles – and is on the lookout for partners elsewhere.

The company’s 30 craftsmen staff convert the vehicles at its factory in Komae in Tokyo where Campion believes costs are lower than manufacture in Australia.

“We plan in the future to add more jobs in Australia but feel its more realistic to have a larger facility in Japan at the moment.

“As a campervan manufacturer it is important to be near the OEM…and world class tier 2 supply chain.”

Campion isn’t dreaming of having a huge business, aiming to make only 100 campervans this year.

But he does plan to move into larger motor homes more suited to Australian consumers, to incorporate Australian suppliers into his supply chain, and if it makes sense to do assembly and manufacture in Australia.

But that’s for the future – for the moment he is settling his family into Brisbane and reaching out to potential partners and suppliers locally.

“I am so happy to finally launch our campervan business in Australia.”

Picture: Dream Drive/Jared Campion

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