It celebrated its Golden 50th year in 2014, with the launch of SMART HT, the first fully composite caravan without any timber and ply in the body, and using a patent pending aluminum jointing systems and a patent pending floor construction .
Swift was founded in 1964 by Ken Smith. The company started with the single Swift brand of caravans, based on a distinctive tri-front window design (all of which opened - unique at the time), which also allowed easy see through to the rear for the driver whilst travelling.
Following the break-up of the travelling caravan business of Cosalt plc, in 1994 the company acquired the Cosalt brand of Abbey, followed in 1994 with the purchase of Sprite leisure and the Ace brand in 2001. Since late 2008 Swift Leisure has dropped the Abbey and Ace brands of touring caravans. Within the Swift International division, the company has operations in Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The company moved manufacturing from Hedon Road, Kingston upon Hull to Dunswell Lane, near Cottingham in 1970. In the early 2000s the company moved to an adjacent site in Cottingham to allow expanded production facilities.
Key events in the companies history:
- 1964 Swift Caravans founded
- 1986 Swift Motorhomes launched
- 1992 Abbey Caravans purchased
- 1994 Sprite Leisure purchased
- 1995 Sprite Leisure renamed Sterling
- 1996 Bessacarr Caravans purchased
- 1997 Bessacarr Motorhomes launched
- 2001 Ace Caravans purchased
- 2001 Ace Motorhomes launched
- 2004 Swift Holiday Homes launched
- 2004 Sprite Caravans relaunched
- 2008 Autocruise purchased
- Caravans (until 2008)
- Caravans (until 2008)
- Motorhomes (until 2008)
- Autocruise (purchased in 2007)
- Caravans (until 2006)
- "Caravans – the bee's knees as far as Hull is concerned". Yorkshire Post. 28 August 2001. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Dave King; Liz King (30 October 2007). "Down the line". www.outandaboutlive.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Caravan comeback". www.managementtoday.co.uk. 8 January 2005. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Swift celebrate 50 years with more product innovation". Swift Group. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Swift Leisure :: Swift International Archived 6 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- "Plans Unveiled for Multi Million Pound Scheme to Safeguard Jobs and Ease Traffic Problems". www.hull.co.uk. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "'Remarkable' spirit of a community". This is Hull and East Riding. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
..Cottingham's own caravan maker, the Swift Group, based at Dunswell Road. The story of Swift Caravans is a rags-to-riches affair, since a company that in 2007 had sales of £191.3 million, began life in 1964 as a small operation located in a garage on Hedon Road, Hull. The company moved to Cottingham in 1970 and since then has expanded its facilities there with a training centre and a new factory complex
- "Caravan firm expansion approved". This is Hull and East Riding. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Swift Leisure :: History Archived 20 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Official website
- Official Swift Owners Club UK website
- Sprite Sterling Swift Caravan Owners Club website