Category: Business News | Author: Jurgens CI - Head Office | Date posted: | Impressions: 1108748 6830
WHAT DO THE KING OF OUR GREAT OUTDOORS AND THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND HAVE IN COMMON?
Apart from their claim to royalty – Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of England and Jurgens as the King of the Great Outdoors – what else do these unlikely ‘celebrities’ have in common? This year both are celebrating 60 glorious years!
In 1952 a young girl was crowned Queen of England and in South Africa a young company, with its roots in the Netherlands, took its first steps to become the uncrowned leader in our world of caravanning.
In 1950 Mr Geert (oubaas) Jurgens, a coach builder, emigrated to South Africa with his family. Just two years later he set up his own caravan business, having built his first (horse-drawn) caravan in 1938. He and his two sons were the entire staff! But within just a year, the staff numbered 25.
Today Jurgens Ci (Pty) Ltd is southern Africa’s largest manufacturer of caravans, motor homes and specialised conversions, with dealerships throughout South Arica and Namibia, and exports to Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The company is noted for its after-sales service and availability of parts and accessories – and is unmatched for its expertise and experience.
The first Jurgens caravan, affectionately called the ‘Bokkie’, was the result of a total family effort since the curtains and cushions were hand-sewn by Mrs Jurgens. Although production of the caravan, motor homes and trailers was the main business focus, in the 1950s the Jurgens teams also built bread delivery vans, hand-crafted mobile libraries and other ‘bespoke’ items.
“It’s been an interesting journey,” says Nico Pretorius, Marketing Manager of Jurgens Ci. “We’ve had our ups and downs, being buoyed up with spectacular success during boom times and fighting to survive during those economic downturns that saw many established South African companies succumb to the stress.
The fact that we stand alone today is a tribute to the Dutch determination of the Jurgens family, combined with the integrity and expertise of those they trusted because of their business acumen and matching vision.”
The first major challenge came in the late 1950s when Caravans International (later to become Ci Caravans) appeared on the scene and launched the Gypsey Marque. Competition became even fiercer when they launched the Sprite brand. Despite these threats, or maybe because of them, Jurgens cheekily introduced the crown as a design element of their logo. It was this that eventually led to the use of ‘King of the Great Outdoors’ slogan.
While the 1960s brought competition it also saw a surge in caravanning. South Africans from all walks of life suddenly seemed to discover the caravan as the ultimate holiday home, combining excitement and adventure with economy in terms of making holidays affordable. But caravans themselves became more sophisticated, more luxurious, providing facilities never dreamed of before.
The Jurgens commitment to the great outdoors can also be seen in the exciting range of outdoor gear and equipment, now available through their Campworld dealers. This includes a huge range of tents, including rooftop tents, and an extraordinary variety of camping equipment.
“All of us are proud to be part of an organisation that offers four world-class caravan brands in addition to meeting the demands of off-road enthusiasts and 4x4 addicts – plus everything you need for your outdoor adventure,” Nico Pretorius concludes with well-deserved satisfaction.
May the next 60 years be equally rewarding through Jurgens’ traditional innovation and dedication to quality.