THOR Industries has announced the formation of its new subsidiary Hymer USA, which will produce RVs utilizing European manufacturing practices, automation and control standards – a first for North America’s RV industry. Hymer USA will be based in Bristol, Indiana, with initial product availability expected in fall of 2020.
THOR’s 2019 acquisition of Europe’s Erwin Hymer Group created the world’s largest RV manufacturer. THOR is not bringing the innovation, design and product quality Erwin Hymer is known for in Europe to the US.
“We are very proud of our extensive brand portfolio, which has historically allowed us to be responsive to the diverse needs of both our dealers and consumers. The Hymer brand and product offering has already received very positive feedback from our North American dealer network,” stated Bob Martin, President and CEO of THOR Industries. “We anticipate significant benefits in working together with our German team, learning from each other and, ultimately, offering unique products to provide years of enjoyable experiences for our customers. As we begin to leverage the combined talent of our companies and share best practices across the globe, we are more optimistic than ever about the future.”
Troy James, THOR Industries Senior Vice President is in charge of the transition, and has spent considerable time in Europe over the past year engaging with the EHG leadership team. “Having worked closely with EHG this past year, I’m very impressed by their teamwork, product innovation and manufacturing processes,” James said. “We are very excited to fully incorporate the EHG best practices into the operations of the newly created Hymer USA subsidiary starting on day one.”
Employees in key product development roles and with specific European manufacturing expertise will relocate from Germany to Bristol to allow Hymer USA to replicate its proven manufacturing process in collaboration with an American workforce. The Company will utilize an existing, newly renovated, company-owned facility with the expectation of investing approximately $8 to $10 million in additional capital expenditures during 2020- primarily for machinery and equipment to build out the facility for Hymer USA.
“Hymer USA will feature a very different way of manufacturing not currently seen in the North American RV industry, including automated processes that will be implemented throughout design and assembly,” James said. “Products will benefit from the world-leading quality standards set by EHG and our new work environment will feature highly skilled team members collaborating directly with employees from EHG’s European operations while incorporating the speed to market for which THOR is well-regarded.”
A number of Hymer-nameplated RVs were sold for a brief period before THOR’s purchase of Erwin Hymer through the now-defunct Erwin Hymer North America, which was not part of the acquisition of the European company. Those units are entirely separate from the new Hymer USA.