Traveling is a kind of escape. From problems, from routine and even from yourself. A year ago, the possibility of escape was snatched from anyone with some instinct for self-preservation. Airports, planes, hotels, inns, everything has been under the shadow of the coronavirus. This is how the pandemic became the best argument for selling motorhomes: traveling with the house in the trunk, without having to line up or share the same square meter with strangers. Besides, you can dream that you are in the road movie itself.
Only you don’t go to a dealership and drive a motorhome. There are no automakers with large production lines à la Ford. The scheme is to adapt existing vehicles for other functions. It can be a van, a bus chassis, a truck chassis or a van. Some automakers, such as Iveco and Mercedes, even have bodywork designed to house a house, but it’s just the body. From there, someone needs to put all the kitchen, bedroom, living room and bathroom infrastructure inside. This is the business of Estrella Mobil, a company from the interior of São Paulo founded by Julio Lemos in 2017.
Lemos has a degree in aeronautical engineering and since 2004 he has been running a family business focused on adapting vehicles, but they were for professional use. An ambulance, for example, is an adapted vehicle.
In 2015, he started researching motorhomes and noticed that there was a growing demand. That’s when he decided to change the direction of the business to recreational vehicles (which the market calls RV, its acronym in English). Julio is dedicated to motorhomes, but there are also trailers, which have the structure of a house, but are towed, and campers, a kind of trailer supported on the back of a pickup truck.
Estrella Mobil’s work is almost artisanal. It works like this: the customer buys the vehicle at the dealership and delivers it to Julio. In this he already disburses between R$ 100 thousand to R$ 200 thousand.
The assembly is done on demand, based on standardized plans (like a real estate) that depend on the chosen chassis. There are five options.