“Look at dual cabs,” Steve says, sitting under the Marlin Escape Deluxe’s awning in the Gold Coast, as he paints an analogy of the camper trailer market. “You’ve got the Ford Raptor. It’s flashy, it dazzles, it’s go-anywhere. Then you’ve got your Great Wall, that’s 20 grand less. You might ask why, and there are reasons, but ultimately it’s just a different product and a different mentality.
“Where I see Marlin though, is like the D-Max, which I recently bought. It’s reliable, not flashy, it does what I want it to do. It does the job and does it well.”
The relevance of dual cabs doesn’t stop there. As Steve points out, people are increasingly using their dual cab utes or 4WD wagons to facilitate camp living. For a share of the market at least, the role of the trailer is changing.
“We always ask our customers, do you want a kitchen, do you need power?” Steve says.
“A lot of people nowadays are running that side of things out of their dual cab. The next evolution of the car is that it does all the living. The camper has returned again to just storage and a bed.”
Not that you need a 4WD to tow a Marlin, Steve adds. You don’t even have to buy a new car, as you may have to with some heavier trailers. That, and the price point, are part of the appeal of a Marlin camper, Steve acknowledges.
“In a way, I am competing against people’s decision of whether to use equity of the house, to refinance the mortgage, or whether to get one of our campers,” he says.
“The most common thing we see on forums, every single day, is that a new person posts, it’s a husband and wife with two kids and a budget of about 10k. They want a bed, storage, somewhere to cook, a bit of power and water.”
Those few elements, together, get you camping in the same way a more expensive unit does. But, Steve says, while the lesser inclusions account somewhat for price, there are other ways in which Marlin keep their value for money for exceptional.
“There are other ways to achieve the price point we do,” Steve says. “I run a low overhead style of business. Buy direct from the factory of the manufacturer. Don’t have sales guys, or a showroom. I have a shed, where I can show people my campers. All of this keeps operating costs down.”
As Steve says, “I’m not trying to be everything for everybody.” What he is doing is servicing a segment of the market to an exceptionally high standard.