1990s

A further site in Dunswell Road is acquired paving the way for a period of substantial investment throughout the 90s that will see Swift establish one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in Europe. It will feature not only the very latest manufacturing plant, but specialised spare parts buildings and systems, an on site training centre for dealers and the latest CAD Cam car industry design systems for state of the art product development.

Swift Capri motorhome

1991

The new Cotswold Celeste range is launched at the luxury end of the market and the Rapide name returns to the Swift range offering Swift quality at the budget end.

Motorhomes continue to grow with an expanded Kon-tiki range and the launch of the Capri, an entry level motorhome.

Working with MIRA and chassis manufacturer AL-KO, new product testing regimes that include high speed test track sessions to monitor stability, brakes, tyres and suspension, linked to test rigs designed to simulate 25,000 miles of normal use, put every product component to the ultimate test before manufacture.

24 hour speed record at Millbrook test track

1992

More speed and durability records with Chairman Peter Smith joining a team of three drivers who average speeds of over 100mph, over 24 hours, non stop driving a Vauxhall and Swift Rapide to cover 2,329 miles. Another Swift Director then sets the record for driving non stop from Lands End to John O’ Groats, a distance of 870 miles, in just 14 hours and 34 minutes, in another Vauxhall towing a Swift Corniche 15/4, averaging 59.73mph.

This is also the year Swift purchases Abbey Caravans from Cosalt PLC and moves production to Cottingham.

The new Euroland for the Dutch market

1993 - 1994

Swift step up their export activities with the launch of the Euroland range in Holland. Specifically designed for this market it gained instant success and provided the blueprint for ongoing success in this market over the coming years.

The motorhome operation continues to expand with the launch of the first Swift van conversion, the Carrera.

August 1994 also saw the acquisition of the Sprite Leisure Group in Newmarket, along with the world famous Sprite, Eccles, Elite and Europa brand names. A purchase that put Swift’s UK market share over 30%.

The Carrera van conversion

1995

Swift became the UK number one manufacturer of motorhomes following the launch of the Sundance coachbuilt range, a product that would quickly sell more than all the other Swift motorhome ranges in its own right.

This year also saw Swift launch ranges of ‘dealer special editions’ enabling the larger dealers to select their own soft furnishings, exterior graphics and a degree of individual specification, another industry first.

It was also the year when the Swift Supersure extended warranty provided the first 3/5 year warranty on both touring caravans and motorhomes, giving customers increased peace of mind, and setting the scene for warranties to eventually cover up to 10 years in key areas.

The original Sundance motorhome

1996 - 1998

Swift purchases luxury tourer manufacturer Bessacarr and move production to Cottingham. The qualities of the Bessacarr brand are later to be utilised in a new range of luxury Bessacarr motorhomes.

A further £3 million is invested in new computer controlled machinery in the factory, more state of the art design computer systems and updated production lines for both tourers and motorhomes. Swift also gain the prestigious Investor in People Award.

Swift become the first caravan or motorhome manufacturer to embrace the internet with the launch of www.swiftgroup.co.uk, the company’s first web site. Over a million people visit the site in the first 18 months.

The interior of an early Bessacarr Cameo tourer

1999

As the decade draws to a close three more “firsts” are clocked up. The Bel Air, the first Swift A-Class is launched, the Challenger 500SE the UK’s first fixed bed touring caravan appears and Swift Group is the largest manufacturer in the UK.

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