Thor Industries

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Thor Industries, Inc.
Traded asNYSETHO
S&P 400 Component
IndustryRecreational vehicle (RV)
(through acquisition of Airstream)
FoundersWade Thompson and Peter Busch Orthwein
Key people
Peter Busch Orthwein, Robert Martin
RevenueIncrease $7.25 billion USD (2017)
$374 million USD (2017)
Number of employees
17,800 (2017)
SubsidiariesSee 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.[1]


Thor Industries, Inc. was founded on August 29, 1980, 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. Airstream had not fared well during the economic downturn of the late-1970s, losing $12 million the year before it was acquired. Thor restructured Airstream—laying off managers. They reduced fraudulent warranty claims by dealers, and changed the product line, returning Airstream to profitability in its first year under the new Thor management.

The company continued to grow through effective management and a series of acquisitions:

  • 1982—Thor purchased the Canadian company, General Coach, which manufactures travel trailers and motorhomes. Also part of this acquisition was Thor America, which manufactures Citation and Chateau travel trailers and fifth wheels.
  • 1984—Thor became a public company and in 1986 was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That same year, Forbes magazine ranked Thor sixth out of the "200 best small companies in America."[2]
  • 1991—Acquisition of Dutchmen, a brand of fifth wheel and conventional travel trailers.
  • 1992—Four Winds International, manufacturer of class A and C motorhomes acquired.
  • 1995—Komfort, a maker of fifth-wheel and conventional travel trailers, and Skamper, a builder of folding camping trailers, became members of the Thor family.
  • 1996—Launch of Thor California and the introduction of the Tahoe and Wanderer brands of trailers and fifth wheels. These products became instant hits among the recreational vehicle (RV) community and the fastest-growing brands on the market.[citation needed]

With the acquisition of Keystone RV in 2001, Damon RV in 2003, and CrossRoads RV in 2004, Thor Industries became the largest RV manufacturer in the world.

Additional milestones include:

  • 2010, September—Thor Industries' subsidiaries Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International merged to form Thor Motor Coach. THOR Motor Coach has become the top retail== selling motorhome manufacturer in North America.[3] Thor Motor Coach produces several brands of Diesel Pushers, Class A, Class B Plus, Class C Motorhomes that are distributed in the Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Canada, and the United States.
  • 2010, September—Acquisition of Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC, a privately held RV manufacturer based in Elkhart, Indiana, for $100 million in cash and 4,300,000 shares of Thor Industries, Inc. common stock, subject to adjustment. The acquisition was Thor’s first major purchase since 2005 and just two weeks after its 30th anniversary.
  • 2013—Acquired Livin Lite RV, a manufacturer of lightweight aluminum trailers sold under the CampLite and QuickSilver brands.
  • 2016—Purchased Jayco, Inc for $576 million.[4]
  • 2018—Purchased Hymer.[5]

Market position[edit]

In 2017, Thor was number one in the RV market with a 48% market share. Forest River was second with about 34% of the market, followed by Grand Design and Winnebago with about 3% each. In fiscal year 2017, 71% of the Thor's sales was in towable RVs, 27% in motorized RVs, with 2% in other segments. During that same period 91% of sales were in the United States.[6]


Recreation vehicles

  • Airstream
  • Bison Coach, horse trailers with living quarters
  • Breckenridge
  • CrossRoads RV
  • Cruiser RV (CRV)
  • DRV
  • Dutchmen RV
  • Entegra
  • Heartland RV
  • Highland Ridge
  • Hymer
  • Jayco
  • Keystone RV
  • KZ RV, founded by Daryl Zook in 1972 and acquired by Thor in 2014.
  • Livin Lite RV, founded by Scott Tuttle and acquired by Thor in 2013. KZ took over management in March 2016.
  • Redwood RV
  • Roadtrek
  • Starcraft RV
  • Thor Motor Coach (combined Four Winds International and Damon Motor Coach)
  • Venture RV


  • Postle Aluminum Co.

Former subsidiaries[edit]

Commercial bus unit was sold to Allied Specialty Vehicles, now REV Group in 2013.[7] Until that time, Thor had been the largest mid-size bus manufacturer, having acquired ElDorado Motor Corp., National Coach, Champion Bus, Heartland and Goshen Coach companies between 1988 and 2012.[8]

Ambulance manufacturing company, SJC Industries, sold to Allied Specialty Vehicles, including the McCoy Miller and Marque brands also in 2013.[9]


  1. ^ "Thor Basics, A Company Introduction" (Slide presentation). Thor Industries. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  2. ^ "History of Thor Industries, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  3. ^ Data provided by Statistical Surveys (January 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012)
  4. ^ Tribune, South Bend. "Thor acquires Jayco in $576 million deal". Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Riding The RV Market With Thor Industries" (news). Seeking Alpha. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  7. ^ "Thor Sells Bus Business - Newsroom - Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick". Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  8. ^ "Thor Industries - About Thor - Our History". Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  9. ^ "Allied Specialty Vehicles, Inc. Acquires Ambulance Manufacturer SJC Industries" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-01.

External links[edit]