Swift Group was founded on a simple principle of making products that innovate in the key areas of design, quality and value for money. Currently operating in three different markets; touring caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes, and, all under one brand name – Swift is the UK’s no.1 leisure vehicle brand.
Swift turnover £209 million annually, operating alongside other successful leisure vehicle manufacturers.
They operate from two sites in Hull and East Yorkshire, with some production elements of the business operating 24 hours a day, particularly in areas where they have invested heavily in capital equipment.
In 2017, Swift invested £8m in a new purpose built modern manufacturing facility at the Cottingham headquarters. The new facility will house production of the company’s Holiday Homes and Lodges.
Leading the way for the UK's holiday home market
Swift Group’s touring caravans have around 40% of the market in the UK. When the company started, the raw materials required to make up the main elements of touring caravans were imported into Hull, making it the ideal location to invest here.
The industry has grown over the years, so much so that over 80% of the UK’s holiday home market is now manufactured in Hull.
Other UK manufacturers of touring caravans include Coachman (who are based in Hull), Bailey, Elddis, and Lunar. Recently it has also seen an increasing presence from European manufacturers, many of which are German; however Adria, a Slovenian manufacturer has also entered the UK market in recent years.
Swift Group is the UK’s largest motorhome manufacturer and in the top 3 manufacturers for holiday homes in the UK. The other two major manufacturers being Willierby and ABI, whose factories are both located within 10 miles of the Swift Group sites.
James Turner, Managing Director at Swift, said:
“A competitive environment is always healthy in business and good for consumers. Swift has a significant influence on the expectations in the industry and aims to lead the way regardless of competitor activity”.
Swift Group is the only company in the UK to manufacture all three types of leisure vehicle, making it imperative to operations that it stays ahead of the competition and market trends. As with other similar industries, there are increasing demands in terms of customers’ expectations, products and services.
James explains: “with circa 50% of the UK’s touring caravans and over 80% of holiday homes being manufactured in Hull, there has always been a vested interest in these markets from the public and local media, which in turn has led to many positive PR stories for the company”.
Swift Group sources its materials for manufacture on a global scale, however it also works collaboratively with local suppliers, several of which are major contributors to the production facility, who Swift has built longstanding relationships with.
Speaking of the UK market and the opportunity in the Humber for suppliers and distributors in this sector, James said:
“Swift supplies a network of over 100 UK dealers, some of which are located within the region also. One of the industry’s major exhibitions and largest annual product showcase ‘The Lawns’ is run by The Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Caravan Manufacturers’ Association and is located just a few miles from the Swift factory. It attracts visitors from all around the UK and this helps to demonstrate the strength of the link between the region and industry."
Committed to DEVELOPing its people
Swift employs over 1200 people and is committed to recruiting locally whenever possible. The staff turnover is below the national average and Swift is extremely proud to have a large number of employees with over 20 years of service. More recently, the Swift Academy has been launched which encourages students and graduates into the business where they are supported to help them to further develop their skills internally. Swift has developed its customer service offering significantly, launching its own dedicated social media channel – a service completely unique to Swift and its customers.
James explains: “Swift is the only manufacturer to communicate with its customers via a dedicated social network, ‘Swift Talk’ making it unique in the market. 16,000 members are currently signed up and directly linked to the technical team. Swift also operates a system called Swift Connect - a dedicated online interface allowing customers and dealers to be informed with regards to their products from Swift”.
The attention to detail and ability to fulfil customer’s needs has led Swift to win industry recognition and many awards for product design and innovation - recently winning two major manufacturing awards at Insider's annual Made in Yorkshire awards.