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Kimberley Kampers closes its doors

After a rather tumultuous 12 months of voluntary administration and last ditch efforts to save the company, Kimberley Kampers closes its doors. 

Once known for being arguably the most advanced and well built rear-fold campers on the market, the company was put into voluntary administration late last year. Guarantees were given at the time by company director Bruce Loxton, that customers waiting on orders for their campers and caravans would receive them.

“There is absolutely no need for uncertainty for customers and no issues for people who have put down deposits,” Loxton said at the time. Loxton’s resignation came not long after that statement was made, with  Todd Cannock taking over the company from then. Now, just 7 months on, the company has entered liquidation. 

As reported in Time to Roam, “all of Kimberley Kampers’ staff have been told they’re no longer employed, and there are security guards at the gates of the premises preventing anything, or anyone, going in or out”.

Cannock is said to ‘have invested millions in the business’ over the past eight months attempting to get the company back on track, however as of July 26, the front gates were locked, security guards watching the premises, and staff only finding out that morning that “the company had ceased trading” and “your employment with the company has been terminated.”

As is understandable  staff are frustrated that it has come to this, with access only being granted to remove personal items from the property. Many are owed entitlements, with insolvency firm SV Partners being appointed liquidators. 

Also facing a nervous wait are prospective customers who had laid down deposits and orders in recent months for new campers and caravans from the manufacturers. It is the end of an era as Kimberley Kampers closes its doors after 24 years in business.

 

38 Comments

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  • I bought a Karavan in 2012. It was nothing but trouble. It fell apart (chassis cracked) in a few hundred Km of dirt road. KK did everything to obstruct me in my claiming warranty. I took them to QCAT and KK and the dealer were ordered to financially compensate me. Bruce Loxton and the dealer both appeared at the hearing and tried to snow the adjudicator. I have no sympathy for Loxton. My guess is that he has only suffered a loss to his gigantic ego. I have full sympathy to the staff who were micro-managed and were not permitted to do the right thing in respect to warranty claims.
    It is sad for the original owner of KK who produced a product that built a tremendous reputation which the new ownership exploited and now pay a price.

  • To Wayne
    Could you email the name of the company whom you purchased your camper trailet from please Wayne?
    I am keen to purchase a camper but need it to be tough for outback and offroad travel etc.
    Like the KK but now concerned about buying secondhand because of spare parts etc.
    Thankyou. Regards Jenny

  • I own a camper and, I am not an idiot. I did not buy it because I was seduced, I bought it because anything else I looked at was crap. Nothing has failed on mine and I have put it through some tough stuff. I love the layout and I love the fact that you can see over it when reversing. For sure they are expensive but it stands to reason that people who can afford them haven’t won a lottery, they know real value when they see it. So, here’s to all the complaints that arise from those who thought that such a trailer could be bought for under fifteen thousand!

  • Look at all you complaining. KK like other specialists Australian made off road manufacturers are employing Australians and paying high taxes along the way. There is a market in Australia for pure off road vans and if you can’t afford it then stop winging. They did not close from being overpriced or being greedy.

    • Totally agree. There is demand and a market at current prices and we will soon see the comeback. Greater attention to quality control in some areas and improved customer support is needed and I am confident this will be realised with new ownership; but overall wonderful engineering design and materials concepts, showcasing innovative, well built Australian manufactured camping products and delivery systems promoting energy sensible synergies to the world is at least the legacy of the previous owners and is already at a very good standard. I am a proud owner of 2015 Eco Suite and would not have anything else (and yes I have tried many other brands). Used primarily for NT & WA remote travels, inspired by low environmental footprint for reliable, sustainable camping; based in Darwin. What I am saying overall is that it is my belief that Kimberley are already very close to the mark for product realisation versus demand expectations and I feel that the new owner will realise an even better balance (there is enough guidelines over recent years to indicate marketing strategies to avoid) that I am sure will ensure long term success of the brand. It is just too good to lose all of that design innovation over two decades to mean nothing for such an iconic and proud Aussie brand.

  • The only thing wrong with the Kimberley Kampers business was the owners both old and new. The designs are brilliant and given good management I am sure the original staff could have produced a top product. Hopefully someone that will listen to the users will pick up the pieces and revive what should be a great business.

  • What a shame…There goes another great AUSTRALIAN product.
    Yes the price is high, but the AUSTRALIAN quality built products LAST FOREVER.
    What have we become? A lets buy cheap rubbish country and replace it 2 or 3 times and let all our AUSTRALIAN companies bring their standards, wages and quality down to suit buyers price range by importing poor quality products, labour and materials.
    Come on!!!! AUSTRALIA keep our GREAT companies alive and save your money by not buying cheap crap and wait till you can afford to buy quality products that last a lifetime.
    Just like we did years ago. Think back to your parents and grandparents and how many times they
    had to replace their Cars, Campers, Caravans, White goods etc etc.
    AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE

    • @Rod, I think a great company is one that firstly accurately identifies it’s market a sticks with it whilst running the business sustainably.

  • Its a simple equation, they are not value for money. We have a fully equipped off road camper (Australian Made via a reputable accredited make) and it only cost us $16,500. it provides everything we need including a fully secure, full enclosed and water proof annex.

  • Most of these caravan companies charge over the top and they all say it’s to do with Aussie wages etc , but here in lies the bs wages do not keep up with the cost of living, have you seen your grocery bill go down I doubt it, but there is an ever increasing prices of vans or campers from a multitude of manufacturers just to see what the customer will bear, even if a product is super reliable and therefore expensive it’s only a matter of time before they fold, the dollar dictates this ,and the camper trailers coming out of China is staggering, they all say made in Aust that might be the case, but I would suggest assembled in Aus more likely.

  • It is unfortunate but when I was after a caravan/camper K Kampers were way out of my price range.
    I do hope that the employees receive their full entitlements and that the customers who had paid do get their product.

  • I own a 2005 Kimberly platinum trailer, 13 years of travel and still looks new, top quality and there is no way I would trade it in for any of the new models. They are over designed and too technical and much too expensive. Its sad to see them fold but I think they misjudged the market which is a shame.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail perfectly on the head Eric.
      Too much complication in anything is a weakness and if buyers are not aware of that prior to purchasing, they will learn it at their leisure.

  • Gotta say that it’s not surprising when I look at some of the comments. Too often Australian Companies will charge to an all encompassing motto.” What the market will bare”. In other words what the mugs will pay.
    KK lost my vote several years ago when I discovered a US site of theirs offering KK product at 30% less than Aus listed price landed in California Docks and that was 30% off Au price so not accounting for exchange rates.
    I understand the want to break into a big market like the US but really? Mugs/Aussies should never be treated with such disdain. Prepared to pay properly for quality but not subsidise another marketplace.

  • I f you want to be informed The Northern Star newspaper has been doing a series of articles plus on no surprise. My Brother and I are both Kimberly Karavan owners and he has had a long list of major electronic and mechanical problems ever since he had received the most expensive ( $120,000 ) high spec compact Karavan that they had made up to 2014. Once he paid the money the factory management they wiped their hands of him when the plethora of problems in the first year plagued him. KK was constantly upgrading with the latest innovations to the point where if any of the Lithium batteries died in the battery bank, the electronic control systems all failed to operate. Weeks were spent with my Aircraft Engineer trained brother trying to talk to anyone who could advise him in the black arts of Lithium Iron battery / electronics knowledge so that he could get his van on the road to head to the Gulf. He had only got one day out of Brisbane…and is still there! Trip ruined. Two days before the gates were locked by the Liquidators he had $3500 worth of new Lithium Iron batteries replaced at his expense. Up to this point the fantastic people at the now defunct KK Dealers SEQ Campers at Caboolture had gone out of their way to advise, repair and help him keep his KK roadworthy from brand new. With all the devastated KK Dealers now gone and the factory closed we will all be scratching around to get the last of original factory made parts if available and then trying to find an ex KK mechanic/ technician to sort out the electronic gremlins in the power systems when all that shuts down on the road as my brothers did, rendering the Caravan an expensive obsolete ornament that you cant raise the roof on, pump water, use the inverter, and not be able to cook…let alone sleep in.

  • Saddened to hear the story. As a long time supplier to KK we would be glad to help any KK owner out there that needs to replace tent poles/roof bow frames

  • Sorry to here this news we have a 2007 Limited Edition
    There were problems from the start and I went to fair trading who said take it back to seller
    when problems were manufacturer
    I told everyone I met about Bruce Loxton’s attitude
    If others had similar issues with him
    its no doubt it went belly up

  • Sad… but inevitable! The demise has been coming for a long time and was there for all to see based on the recent history of struggles and positive spruiking in an endeavor to remain solvent (or become solvent). I imagine KK have been trading insolvent for some time, and taking new orders at shows etc to hold back the inevitable permanent closure. Right out of the Australian RV industry playbook ! Next step based on that playbook? If the company has a future place in the RV landscape, the receivers will depreciate value to next to nothing then do a deal and become part owners in the rebuild of KK.

  • The government poured billions into Holden and Ford trying to keep them manufacturing in Australia. How about some of that generosity to the little guys as well.

  • I own a 2008 KK Karavan It is a complex setup and very expensive to do any type of work on Getting items repaired like the diesel heater can run into the thousands When it actually works it’s brilliant Try getting something simple like a basic wiring diagram for it Not a hope When the lifting mechanism fails to work No diagrams or pics for that either The KK owners group has been a lifesaver and have been providing support that the factory in Ballina should’ve been doing I also own a Cub Camper Very basic but absolutely bullet proof Even without the fancy off road suspension the KK has it has been across some of the roughest parts of Australia It has even done the Telegraph Track! Most spare parts are available at Bunnings! Contact Cub Campers and they fall over themselves to help you My point is that in my opinion KK started building far too complicated and incredibly expensive off road vans that have frequently been a nightmare for their owners to repair My travelling mate has a KK canvas camper It has also been bullet proof Why?Because it is dramatically less complicated than my KK Yet they stopped building the KK camper Classic When KK moved it up a notch to even more complicated vans the writing was on the wall If they just got back to building more reliable basic vans and campers they might just survive I have just come back from the USA where they tried to break into that marked Reviewers were shocked at starting prices of over $US100K when you can buy a fully equipped Winnebago for less than that

  • Not to mention customers with warranty claims are also left high and dry, some being put off and delayed for many months only to find they have closed

  • It’s a sad day when any small Aussie company closes like this . Now watch as the rapacious banks, the ATO, and of course the battery of accountants from SV Partners ( paid first always) ,circle for their money. Clients, customers, investors, suppliers and loyal employees always come last, fighting for what’s left . A brilliant line of campers gone .

    • MARK
      I had a building company go bankrupt on my small business and SV partners sucked all what was left out to pay them selves a ridicules amount for there efforts then had the nerve to ask all us hard working aussies to tip in more The law sucks and should look after the workers first they do pay all the taxes to keep this country running. It is sad to see Kimberly Karavans go down as I have had a trailer first to a Kimberly Karavan and have been to some outback fishing spots and never once doubted the ability of both to get there when you see the cheaper versions stuck on the side of the road What A shame

  • I am not surprised. Regardless of their reputation for a quality trailer, their prices were way too expensive. Yes, many other camper trailer companies also have very expensive “over-priced” units, and there’s the problem. ALL of them are over priced and cost prohibitive to the larger percentage of prospective camper trailer buyers. The only reason that so many of them are still in business, is that there has been a camper trailer / caravan boom in interest over the recent years. This is now starting to change. The cost of living has now increased significantly and home mortgage rates and on the rise, for the first time in many years. People now can not afford or justify $15k plus for any camper trailer. I see these sales starting to plummet over the coming years. I think they need to focus on camper trailer market under the $15k barrier, as they will remain popular with new buyers, because they are affordable and cost effective.

    • Yeh I believe that you are right Barry. You see it all the time. Companies trying to get rich quick, over price the equipment and out they go. Kimberly made a great trailer but way over priced. There will a lot of caravan companies go the same way when interest rates start to climb, and they will. If they only though that if I priced my van at a lower price I would sell more instead of a overinflatied price and only selling a couple. GREED

      • the greed is not the company it is the people working for it in this country we cannot compete because our wages are to high that’s why a lot of caravan manufacturers get their gear made in China and Thailand

  • So sad we love our Kimberly Kamper it has taken us all the way around Australia and I still marvel at the workmanship and reliability its canvas is the best on the market it is a shame not sure why they have folded they were the best in the business sad

    • With the price of fuel skyrocketing ,there will be a lot more caravan and camper trailer makers out of buisiness. Just came back from a trip around Australia. It cost me a fortune in fuel .More than 5 Grand. For that money ,you can have a very good holiday overseas. SO. The government can do something for the Caravan industry. They can do something about the price of fuel.

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