Expect to see more Mercedes Sprinter and Ram ProMaster conversions on America's roads next year.
The RV industry in the United States will be gaining some European influence very soon. Indiana-based Thor Industries acquired German-based Erwin Hymer Group (EHG) in 2019, and became the largest global RV manufacturer in the process. Hymer focuses primarily on practical camper van conversions that have been forbidden fruit in the U.S., but that’s changing with the creation of Hymer USA.
In a recent press release, Thor Industries announced the new company and promised products for the U.S. market by the end of 2020. Hymer USA will be based in Bristol, Indiana not far from the Thor Industries headquarters in Elkhart. An investment of $8 to $10 million is being made in a renovated factory that will combine European manufacturing techniques with automation to bring Hymer products to market.
“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,” said Thor Industries Senior Vice President Troy James. “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.”
Gallery: Hymer DuoCar S Camper Van Launches With Incredible Layout
This isn’t the first time Hymer set foot on American soil, but hopefully it will be a better experience. Hymer bought a Canadian camper company in 2016 and established Hymer North America, but financial issues saw it shut down during Thor’s acquisition process last year. With the ink drying on a new deal, Hymer USA plans to have products for sale in the fourth quarter of 2020.
What will those products be? Thor Industries isn’t talking specifics just yet, but Hymer does build some cool conversions using Mercedes Sprinter and Ram ProMaster vans – vehicles that are currently sold in the U.S. market. We featured Hymer’s VisionVenture concept last September, visualizing a future Overlanding Sprinter with a raised roof and a shocking amount of space inside. We also took a closer look at the Sprinter-based DuoCar S, which was decidedly not a concept and offered a suave space for campers with amenities usually reserved for much larger vehicles.
THOR INDUSTRIES FORMS NEW SUBSIDIARY, HYMER USA, TO MANUFACTURE AND SELL EUROPEAN-DESIGNED RVS IN NORTH AMERICA IN 2020
Hymer USA to use German innovation and manufacturing processes--a first for the US RV industry
ELKHART, Ind., Jan. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- THOR Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) today announced the formation of Hymer USA, a new subsidiary focused on producing and marketing recreational vehicles (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 the fourth quarter of calendar year 2020.
The announcement follows THOR's 2019 acquisition of Europe's Erwin Hymer Group (EHG), which created the world's largest RV manufacturer, holding leading positions on both continents. Erwin Hymer Group is a long-standing leader in the European RV market and one of the largest RV manufacturers in Europe. EHG, including its Hymer brand, is well-known for innovation, design and product quality.
"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. "Delivering to the North American market the innovation, design and quality for which the Hymer brand is known will benefit consumers and dealers and further enhance THOR's leadership position within the market, which we believe will provide strong long-term value to our investors."
"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."
Initial phases of the EHG acquisition integration have been completed with the oversight of Troy James, THOR Industries Senior Vice President. James, one of THOR's most experienced company leaders, who has spent considerable time in Europe over the past year engaging with the EHG leadership team, will take on the additional responsibility of overseeing Hymer USA.
"Troy is one of our top leaders. His experience and leadership make him ideally suited to lead our newly created Hymer USA subsidiary while continuing his responsibilities with the EHG leadership team," shared Bob Martin. "We look forward to the leadership Troy will provide in introducing the Hymer product and manufacturing processes to the North American market, uniquely establishing Hymer as a global brand."
"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 THOR's skilled 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."
About THOR Industries, Inc.
THOR is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent the world's largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.