Jayco, Inc

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Jayco Inc.
Subsidiary
Industryrecreation vehicles
Founded1968
FoundersLloyd and Bertha Bontrager
Headquarters,
USA
OwnerThor Industries
Number of employees
3,200
Websitewww.jayco.com
collapsible trailer patented by
Lloyd Jay Bontrager 1967
Jayco collapsible trailer 2004 model

Jayco, Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries, is an American manufacturer of recreation vehicles. The company manufactures fold-down (also called "pop-up") camping trailers, conventional travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth-wheel travel trailers, and motorhomes (Class A and C). 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.[1]

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1968 by Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager.[2] Bontrager developed a trailer fold-down system in 1967 and started the business of making travel trailers in two chicken houses and a barn. In the first year of operations the company sold 132 trailers, and by the end of 1968 it had 15 employees. The company continued to grow and in 1970 built another plant in Harper, Kansas.[3][4]

On Easter Sunday,1985, Lloyd Bontrager was killed when his small airplane crashed in the vicinity of Muncie, Indiana. His wife Bertha became Chairman of the Board at Jayco, and later her sons Wilbur and Derald assumed leadership roles within the company. Currently, Derald Bontrager is President and CEO.[5][6]

In addition to the Jayco brand, Jayco acquired Entegra Coach in 2008, Starcraft RV in 1991 and Highland Ridge in 2014.[7]Jayco currently manufactures about 50,000 RVs per year, and reached the 1 millionth manufactured RV milestone in April 2016.[8]

Models[edit]

Jayco is known for their Jay Flight model, which became available in 2001. Since 2005, the Jayco Jay Flight has been the #1 selling travel trailer brand. [9] In 2006, the Jay Flight brand expanded its model lineup with the addition of the seasonal model, Bungalow. As part of an exclusive deal with the legendary American company, Jay Flights began featuring tires from Goodyear® with Durawall® technology standard. Jay Flight was the first to be listed as a Gold Medal Green Certified RV.

Current Model Range

Model Class Fuel
Hummingbird Travel Trailer Towable
Jay Feather Travel Trailer Towable
White Hawk Travel Trailer Towable
Jay Flight Travel Trailer Towable
Jay Flight SLX 7 Travel Trailer Towable
Jay Flight SLX 8 Travel Trailer Towable
Jay Flight Bungalow Travel Trailer Towable
Eagle HT Travel Trailer Towable
Eagle Travel Trailer Towable
Eagle HTX Fifth Wheel Fifth Wheel Towable
Eagle HT Fifth Wheel Fifth Wheel Towable
Eagle Fifth Wheel Fifth Wheel Towable
North Point Fifth Wheel Towable
Pinnacle Fifth Wheel Towable
Octane Super Lite Toy Hauler Towable
Talon Toy Hauler Towable
Talon Platinum Toy Hauler Towable
Seismic Toy Hauler Towable
Redhawk SE Class C Gas
Redhawk Class C Gas
Greyhawk Class C Gas
Greyhawk Prestige Class C Gas
Melbourne Class C Diesel
Melbourne Prestige Class C Diesel
Seneca Class C Diesel
Alante Class A Gas
Precept Class A Gas
Precept Prestige Class A Gas
Embark Class A Diesel

Sustainability[edit]

In 2010, all of Jayco's products were green certified by TRA Certification, an accredited certification. This made Jayco the first major RV manufacturer to be 100 percent green certified and fully recognized for building products with green manufacturing processes and materials.[10]

In 2013, Jayco Inc.'s three operating divisions, Jayco, Starcraft and Entegra Coach, recycled 1,284 tons of wood, 13,221 tons of scrap metal and 1,801 tons of cardboard and paper, saving 59,900 mature trees.[11]

Jayco has had a recycling program in effect since the early 1980s, and has received several recognitions for its recycling efforts including a Governor's Award of Excellence.[10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2015 RVDA Titan Award (Bertha Bontrager-Rhodes and Lloyd Bontrager)[12]
  • Jay Flight America's bestselling travel trailer 14 years running[13]
  • Travel Trailer - Trailer Life 2015 Bronze Award Winner - Readers' Choice Award[14]
  • Best of Show - New Unit by RV News (2018 Octane)
  • Motorhome Silver Award Winner - Readers' Choice Award 2015 (Class C)[15]
  • Quality Circle Awards[16]

International[edit]

Jayco partnered with a UK-based company in the late 1970s and produced a tent camper for the European market.[3] Jayco Australia Ltd was founded in 1975, and production commenced there the following year. Jayco of Australia soon became the largest player in the Australian camper/caravan industry.

Energy crisis[edit]

The company was hard hit in the energy crunch of the 1970s, and several of their plants were closed temporarily.[3] In the late 1980s and early 1990s they also suffered another slowdown due to the high price of gasoline.[3] The company recovered to become the second largest U.S. manufacturer of towable products to the second largest by 1995.[3]

Jayco Travel Club[edit]

Jayco developed a special travel club called "Jayco Travel Club" that has yearly vacation plans.[17][18] It has over 100 chapters in the United States and Canada for their customers. The chapters are called "Flights" and often contain references to the blue jay, which is Jayco's logo and mascot.[19]

Video of RV assembly at Jayco factory

Factory tour[edit]

Year-round, Jayco conducts free factory tours. The tour starts at the "Griner House," an old restored farmhouse originally built in 1880 that serves as the visitor center, with a 15-minute video on the company's history and production methods. [20]

Purchase by Thor Industries[edit]

Jayco was acquired by Thor Industries in July 2016 for $576 million.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UPDATE: Jayco expansion to create 360 jobs in Twin Falls". Magic Valley.
  2. ^ Booker, Ted (2 July 2016). "Thor acquires Jayco in $576 million deal". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Jayco, Inc. company history". Fundinguniverse. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 13. St. James Press, 1996. 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Jayco Factory Tour in Middlebury, IN". Watch it Made in the USA. Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg. 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  5. ^ Stephanie + Jeremy. "RVFTA #210 Jayco's 50th Anniversary Celebration with Bertha Bontrager Rhodes". RVTA.
  6. ^ NEWS, THE GOSHEN. "Wilbur Bontrager retiring from Jayco Inc". Goshen News.
  7. ^ "Thor Announces Acquisition of Jayco for $576 Million". pr newswire.
  8. ^ Booker, Ted. "Jayco hits milestone with 1 millionth RV". south bend tribune.
  9. ^ "RV Executive Today: Top-Selling Brands For 2017". RVBusiness.
  10. ^ a b MacNeal, David. "Jayco Reports Its RVs are 100% Green Certified". RV Pro.
  11. ^ "Jayco's EcoAdvantage Program Meeting Goals". RV Business.
  12. ^ "Jayco Founders Honored with RVDA Titan Award". RVDA.
  13. ^ "RV Executive Today: Top-Selling Brands For 2017". RV Business.
  14. ^ "Good as Gold … and Silver and Bronze". Trailer Life.
  15. ^ Bunker, Kristopher. "And the Winners Are …". Motorhome.
  16. ^ "Quality Circle Award". RVDA.
  17. ^ "Jayco Travel Club - Tours". www.jaycorvclub.com.
  18. ^ "Jayco Travel Club - About". www.jaycorvclub.com.
  19. ^ "Jayco Travel Club - Chapters". www.jaycorvclub.com.
  20. ^ "Page Not Found | Jayco, Inc". www.jayco.com.
  21. ^ Tribune, South Bend. "Thor acquires Jayco in $576 million deal". Retrieved July 1, 2016.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]