Thor Industries

Last updated
Thor Industries, Inc.
Traded as NYSE:  THO
S&P 400 Component
Industry Recreational vehicle (RV)
(through acquisition of Airstream)
FoundersWade Thompson
Peter Busch Orthwein
Key people
Peter Busch Orthwein(Chairman)
Robert Martin(CEO)
RevenueIncrease2.svg $7.25 billion USD (2017)
$374 million USD (2017)
Number of employees
17,800 [1]  (2017)
Subsidiaries See subsidiaries below

Thor Industries, Inc. is an American manufacturer of recreational vehicles (RVs). The company sells towable and motorized RVs through its subsidiaries brands including Airstream, Heartland RV, Jayco, Livin Lite RV, and others. The company's headquarters is in Elkhart, Indiana. It has manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho, and Oregon. [2]

Recreational vehicle type of vehicle

A recreational vehicle, often abbreviated as RV, is a motor vehicle or trailer which includes living quarters designed for accommodation. Types of RVs include motorhomes, campervans, caravans, fifth-wheel trailers, popup campers and truck campers.

Airstream brand of luxury recreational vechical

Airstream is an American brand of travel trailers which are easily recognized by the distinctive shape of their rounded and polished aluminum coachwork. This body shape dates back to the 1930s and is based on designs created by Hawley Bowlus, who had earlier overseen construction of Charles Lindbergh's aircraft, the Spirit of St. Louis.

Jayco, Inc

Jayco, Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries, is an American manufacturer of recreation vehicles. The company manufactures fold-down camping trailers, conventional travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth-wheel travel trailers, and motorhomes. Jayco is based in Middlebury, Indiana, and about three-quarters of its 3,200-person workforce is from the Amish and Mennonite communities of Indiana.



1980–1987: Foundation, acquisition of Airstream, going public

Thor Industries, Inc. was founded on August 29, 1980, [3] when Wade F. B. Thompson and Peter Busch Orthwein acquired Airstream from Beatrice Foods. The name "Thor" combined the first two letters of each entrepreneur's name. [4] Airstream had not fared well during the economic downturn of the late 1970s, losing $12 million the year before it was acquired. [5] Thompson and Orthwein had also previously acquired the Hi-Lo Trailer Company. [5] Thor restructured Airstream and returned Airstream to profitability within one year. [6]

Peter Busch Orthwein is an American heir, businessman and polo player. He is the co-founder and Chairman of Thor Industries.

Beatrice Foods Company was a major American food processing company. In 1987, its international food operations were sold to Reginald Lewis, a corporate attorney, creating TLC Beatrice International, after which the majority of its domestic (U.S.) brands and assets were acquired by Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR), with the bulk of its holdings sold off. By 1990, the remaining operations were ultimately acquired by Conagra Brands.

In 1982, Thor acquired the Canada-based General Coach, a manufacturer of travel trailers and motorhomes. [7] The company went public in 1984 and joined the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker symbol "THO" in 1986. [6] In 1986, it was listed among Forbes ' "200 best small companies in America". [7]

New York Stock Exchange American stock exchange

The New York Stock Exchange is an American stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at US$30.1 trillion as of February 2018. The average daily trading value was approximately US$169 billion in 2013. The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of 21 rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building and the 11 Wall Street building were designated National Historic Landmarks in 1978.

<i>Forbes</i> American business magazine

Forbes is an American business magazine. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law. Its headquarters is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Primary competitors in the national business magazine category include Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek. The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings, including of the richest Americans, of the world's top companies, and The World's Billionaires. The motto of Forbes magazine is "The Capitalist Tool". Its chair and editor-in-chief is Steve Forbes, and its CEO is Mike Federle. In 2014, it was sold to a Hong Kong-based investment group, Integrated Whale Media Investments.

1988–2012: Expansion into bus market, further RV acquisitions

In 1988, Thor acquired the small bus manufacturing division of the Kansas-based ElDorado Motor Corp. [8] It would later acquire the California-based bus manufacturer, National Coach, in 1991. [9] Thor merged the two bus divisions to create ElDorado National. [10]

Kansas U.S. state in the United States

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

ElDorado National

ElDorado National is an American bus manufacturer owned by REV Group. Heavy-duty buses are built in Riverside, California, and cutaway buses and mobility vans are built in Salina, Kansas. It was owned by Thor Industries, but sold to Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV) in August 2013.

Thor also continued acquiring RV and travel trailer makers, including Indiana-based Dutchmen in 1991 [11] and Four Winds International (also based in Indiana) in 1992. [12] By 1994, Thor Industries was the second-largest manufacturer of RVs in North America. [13] In 1995, Thor acquired two RV makers: Skamper (an Indiana-based manufacturer of folding travel trailers) and Komfort (an Oregon-based travel trailer company). [14] In 1996, the company established Thor California, an RV manufacturer based in its namesake state [15] with models like the Tahoe and Wanderer. [16]

Thor added to its roster of bus manufacturers by acquiring the Michigan-based Champion Bus for $11 million in 1998. [17] The company finalized a $145-million deal in 2001 to acquire Keystone RV, an Elkhart, Indiana-based manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth wheels. The deal was one of the largest in the history of the company and gave Thor a 25% market share in travel trailers and fifth wheels. [18] In 2003, it added Damon Motor Coach of Elkhart, Indiana which it purchased for $46 million in cash. Damon's park trailer subsidiary brand, Breckenridge, was also included in the deal. [19] The following year, Thor acquired Topeka, Indiana-based CrossRoads RV for $27 million. [20]

Michigan U.S. state in the United States

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Champion Bus Incorporated

Champion Bus is a bus manufacturer owned by Allied Specialty Vehicles (ASV) of Orlando, Florida, United States. It was formerly owned by Thor Industries of Imlay City, Michigan, United States. ASV purchased it from Thor in August 2013.

Topeka, Indiana Town in Indiana, United States

Topeka is a town in Clearspring and Eden townships, LaGrange County, Indiana, United States. The population was 1,153 at the 2010 census. Topeka is located approximately eleven miles south of Shipshewana, Indiana.

In March 2010, Thor acquired SJC Industries, an Elkhart-based manufacturer of ambulances, for $20 million. SJC's brands of McCoy Miller, Marque, and Premiere were also included in the sale. [21] In April of that year, the company sold its Canadian General Coach subsidiary to management. [22] Later in 2010, Thor acquired Heartland RV, another Elkhart-based maker of fifth wheels and lightweight RVs. [23] The company also consolidated Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International to create Thor Motor Coach that year. [24]

2013–present: Acquisitions of Jayco and Hymer

In 2013, Thor acquired Livin Lite RV's assets. [25] In July 2016, Thor acquired Jayco Inc. for $576 million. Jayco, based in Middlebury, Indiana, had been the largest privately-owned RV maker in the world prior to the sale. Jayco's subsidiares (including Starcraft RV, Highland Ridge, and Entegra Coach) also came under the Thor umbrella. [26]

In September 2018, it was announced that Thor had agreed to purchase Hymer, a German manufacturer of RVs, in a deal worth $2.45 billion in the largest acquisition in the company's history. Hymer is the largest RV manufacturer in Europe. As a result of the deal, Thor Industries became the largest RV manufacturer in the world. [27] The sale was officially finalized in February 2019. [28]


Photo of an Airstream trailer taken in 2018. Airstream Hulle Tag 3.jpg
Photo of an Airstream trailer taken in 2018.


Airstream is manufacturer of travel trailers and motor homes, known for its distinctive all-aluminum models. It was founded by Wally Byam in the 1930s and has had manufacturing facilities in Jackson Center, Ohio since the 1950s. It was sold to Beatrice Foods in 1967. In 1980, it became the foundation of Thor Industries after it was acquired by Wade Thompson and Peter Busch Orthwein. [29] Airstream sells numerous models including the Flying Cloud, Classic, Nest, International Signature, and Basecamp. [30]

Heartland RV

Sundance fifth wheel trailer manufactured by Heartland RV. HRV WC SD TT 2011Ext 02.jpg
Sundance fifth wheel trailer manufactured by Heartland RV.

Heartland RV is an Elkhart, Indiana-based manufacturer of fifth wheels and travel trailers. It was founded in 2003 by Brian Brady and was acquired by Thor in 2010. Heartland produces a range of brands including the BigHorn line, Sundance and Cyclone models. [31]


Hymer is a German manufacturer of RVs based in Bad Waldsee. It was founded in 1923 by Erwin Hymer, but did not create its first caravan (travel trailer) until 1957. It was acquired by Thor in 2019 as Thor's first acquisition outside of the United States. [32]


Dutchmen is a manufacturer of RVs based in Goshen, Indiana. It was founded in 1988 by Dave Hoefer, Glen M. Syvester, and Larry Schrock and became the second-largest manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth wheels in the United States by 1990. It was acquired by Thor Industries in 1991. [11] Dutchmen manufactures brands like the Aerolite, Coleman, Denali, Kodiak, Aspen Trail, and others. [33]


Starcraft fold-down camping trailer, manufactured by Jayco, being pulled by a Toyota Land Cruiser in 2017. Toyota Land Cruiser Prado + Jayco Starcraft, Bunda Cliffs, 2017 (01).jpg
Starcraft fold-down camping trailer, manufactured by Jayco, being pulled by a Toyota Land Cruiser in 2017.

Jayco is an RV maker based in Middlebury, Indiana. It was founded in 1968 by Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager and was acquired by Thor in 2016. It makes a variety of fold-down camping trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, toy haulers, and other travel trailers with brands like Starcraft RV, Highland Ridge and Entegra Coach. [26]

Keystone RV

Keystone RV is a Goshen, Indiana-based RV manufacturer. It was founded in 1996 by Cole Davis and was listed at number 2 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing companies in 2000. [34]

Additional subsidiaries


Related Research Articles

Elkhart, Indiana City in Indiana, United States

Elkhart is a city in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. The city is located 15 miles (24 km) east of South Bend, Indiana, 110 miles (180 km) east of Chicago, Illinois, and 150 miles (240 km) north of Indianapolis, Indiana. Elkhart has the larger population of the two principal cities of the Elkhart-Goshen Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn is part of the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka Combined Statistical Area, in a region commonly known as Michiana. The population was 50,949 at the 2010 census. Despite the shared name, it is not the county seat of Elkhart County; that position is held by the city of Goshen, located about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Elkhart.

Michiana geographic region in Indiana and Michigan, United States

Michiana is a region in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan centered on the city of South Bend, Indiana. The Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County, Indiana defines Michiana as St. Joseph County and "counties that contribute at least 500 inbound commuting workers to St. Joseph County daily." Those counties include Elkhart, La Porte, Marshall, St. Joseph, and Starke in Indiana, and Berrien and Cass in Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population of those seven counties was 856,377.

Forest River (company)

Forest River Inc., is a US manufacturer of recreational vehicles, cargo trailers, utility trailers, pontoon boats, and buses.

Motorhome type of vehicle

A motorhome is a type of self-propelled recreational vehicle (RV) which offers living accommodation combined with a vehicle engine.

Hymer company

Hymer AG is a motorhome and caravan manufacturer, located in Bad Waldsee, Germany. One of the largest manufacturers of motorhomes and caravans in Europe, the listed company Hymer AG owns several brands, including; Burstner, Carado, Sunlight, Etrusco, Elddis, Hymer, Laika, LMC, Niesmann + Bischoff, Dethleffs, Eriba, and Roadtrek, as well as camping equipment wholesale Movera. In February 2017 it acquired The Explorer Group based in Consett, UK adding the Elddis, Buccaneer, Compass and Xplore brands to its portfolio.

Wallace Merle "Wally" Byam, (1896-1962) was one of the pioneer manufacturers of the travel trailer. He founded the company, Airstream Inc. From the 1930s until his death in 1962, Byam was a leader in developing both a romance and enthusiasm associated with the automobile and recreational vehicle culture, as well as product features as the United States became increasingly focused on highways and automobile travel.

Lazydays RV is an American company specializing in the sales and service of recreational vehicles, RV rentals, parts and accessories. The company was founded in 1976 and operates 6 locations in 5 states, including Tucson, Arizona; Denver and Loveland, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Knoxville, Tennessee; and its headquarters in Seffner, Florida.

All American Group was an American company whose divisions produced pre-fabricated housing. Based in Elkhart, Indiana, it was founded in 1964 as Coachmen Industries. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COA until 2009, when it was delisted for failing to maintain continued NYSE listing standards.

Northern Indiana Region in Indiana

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Fleetwood RV, Inc. is a producer of recreational vehicles (RVs). Founded in 1950, Fleetwood RV produces some of the most iconic names in the industry, including Bounder and Discovery. Fleetwood RV is part of the REV Group family of brands. Rev's recreation division includes Fleetwood RV, American Coach, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Renegade RV, Midwest Automotive Designs, and Lance Campers.

Monaco Coach Corporation

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Holiday Rambler

Holiday Rambler Corporation is an American corporation which primarily manufactures recreational vehicles. It was founded in 1953. In 1961, Holiday Rambler’s introduction of aluminum body framing ushered in a new era of lighter, stronger and more durable recreational vehicles (RVs). This aluminum frame (Alumaframe) became the standard for lighter and stronger RVs for 40 years. Holiday Rambler was also responsible for many firsts; built-in refrigerators, holding tanks and aerodynamic radiused corners. As Holiday Rambler moved into motorhomes, they were the first with tag axles and the kitchen slide-out revolutionized "interior engineering" in the field. Holiday Rambler was sold to Harley-Davidson in 1986 and later in 1996 to the Monaco Coach Corporation where its future, then under Navistar International Corp., was difficult in 2010 as it was for most motorhome manufacturers.

Heartland Recreational Vehicles

Heartland RVs is an American manufacturer of recreational vehicles located in Elkhart, Indiana. Founded by former Damon Corp. CEO Brian Brady in 2003, it was purchased and became a subsidiary of Thor Industries in 2010.

Millennium Luxury Coaches Florida based manufacturer of custom luxury motor coaches

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REV Group is an American manufacturer of specialty vehicles, including buses, fire trucks, ambulances, and recreational vehicles.

RV/MH Hall of Fame

The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a 100,000 sq. ft. museum in Elkhart, Indiana that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. The foundation states that their primary goals are to "To create a display of historic RV/MH products in a museum for the education and enjoyment of the public."

Livin Lite RV

Livin Lite RV was an American manufacturer of recreation vehicles sold under the CampLite and QuickSilver brands. It was based in Shipshewana, Indiana. The company was most recently managed by KZ Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries. Livin Lite made truck campers, fold-down tent camping trailers, travel trailers, and toy haulers. They were known for their advanced lightweight aluminum construction techniques.


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