The Burstner History
Making caravans for over 50 years
"Sophisticated fixtures and fittings of the middle price range, durable
materials and safety are the focus of our thinking on model strategy. With this
concept, and its identity as a supplier of ideas, Burstner has grown to become
one of the biggest manufacturers in the caravan and motorhome industry"
The industry associates the name Burstner with a long tradition in the development and manufacture of caravans and motorhomes. The make's first caravans appeared back in the '50s and were entirely handmade. In the '80s, the production programme was expanded to include motorhomes and holiday homes.
The Burstner story begins with the founding of a joiner's workshop in 1924, which was then renamed Jakob Burstner KG in 1953. The first caravan models, produced with painstaking manual work, were delivered to private customers at the end of the 1950s. These sleeping quarters on wheels were not entirely new, as the first caravans were already motoring along German roads as early as the 1930s.
Interest in Burstner caravans increased dramatically relative to the economic conditions of the time. The first production expansion occurred in 1961. That same year marked Burstner's first appearance at the "Caravan Salon", which was then held in Essen.
1973 - Founding of Burstner GmbH
The history of Burstner GmbH began in 1973 with the renaming of Jakob Burstner KG. This promising development soon demanded additional production areas that were not available at the Neumuhl location. Burstner found a suitable site in 1976 in the Alsatian town of Wissembourg, where it bought a former joinery and furniture factory. Immediately afterwards Burstner S.A. was founded as well, representing the start of a shift in orientation from being an exclusively German manufacturer towards becoming a European producer.
Market success brought with it strong growth. Whereas 8,500 units were produced in 1977 (sales: ca. €35.1m), demand rose steadily and in 1982 15,000 units rolled off the production lines (sales: €74.3m).
Renewed space problems at the company's first plant in Neumuhl, which could not be expanded to create urgently needed space, led to a new approach. Up for sale not far from Neumuhl, on the Kehl waterfront, was a huge production space that up to that time had been used to manufacture high-quality residential doors. This property including the facilities was bought in 1986 and part of the production was moved there. In 1989, the company's 1,150 employees produced some 20,000 units at its two locations. Sales reached €156m.
Sustained sluggish growth for the market as a whole in the early 1990s impacted Burstner, too. Drastic measures were introduced starting in 1993 that saved the company from bankruptcy. A year later, the company and its employees proved that they still had enormous potential, as 520 workers produced 8,500 units in Burstner's factories ( with a sales value of €76.7m).
Finally, in 1996, all of the company's German divisions were concentrated at the port of Kehl on the Rhine River. The promontory between the Rhine and the harbour basin represents a strategic and well-selected location. Once again, cramped quarters forced Burstner to adapt the production process to the ideal materials flow.
1998 - Incorporation into Hymer AG
A new chapter in the firm's history began with the incorporation into Hymer AG, Bad Waldsee in 1998. The trickle of growth became a broad river. Just 2 years later, Burstner's contribution to the company's total result amounted to €148.2m and 11,000 units produced. The workforce grew to 710. The production launch of the A747-2 alcove motorhome marked another milestone. Burstner now ranks among the major players in the luxury-class motorhome segment.
Burstner - Prepared with the right model policy!
Beside the ongoing expansion of the model programme, also responsible for the success of recent years was the continuation of our interior expertise with sophisticated design worlds. Intensive customer surveys, which have now been conducted three times, led to clear improvements in fulfilling customer wishes and demands. The consequences of this included both a streamlining of some model lines (see the Amara programme) and an expansion of others (see motorhome on Renault Master).
The success of the redesigned "I-Elegance" series to kick off the 2004 season is further proof of Burstner's long-standing tradition of luxury-class motorhome competence.
Into the future with a focus on customers and service
One of the most significant investments in the company's history will be completed in 2004 with the new Customer Service Centre at the former company headquarters in Neumuhl. In addition to 22 factory jobs and a central spare-parts warehouse for Europe, another visible sign of customer orientation will be a new showroom highlighting the latest models. Modern conference rooms meet the increased demand for in-house training. Naturally, Burstner customers will also find motorhome sites with a supply- and waste station. The opening celebration is planned for August 2004.
Also greatly improved will be the entire vehicle logistics system. The Rhine port of Kehl is the site of a new Transport Centre, with an investment volume of just under €1.5m. The opening is planned for June 2004.
From its humble beginnings, Burstner has today grown to become one of the leading manufacturers in the caravanning industry. The company currently employs nearly 1,000 workers at its two locations. For FY 2003 / 2004, ending on 31.08.2004, we expect a sales performance of around €250m.