Thor Industries Inc. began the new year by continuing what it has done for more than a year now, making another acquisition.

The South Bend Tribune reported that Elkhart-based Thor announced Monday (Jan. 5) the acquisition of towable recreational vehicle manufacturer Cruiser RV (CRV) and luxury fifth-wheel recreational vehicle manufacturer DRV by its Heartland Recreational Vehicles subsidiary. Thor agreed to pay $47.4 million for the separate Howe, Ind.-based businesses subject to post-closing adjustments.

The move continues a series of expansions and acquisitions the company has made in the past two years. It is doing so because the company believes the RV boom will continue, Martin said in a phone interview. “We have a strong confidence,” Martin said. “We feel like the market has a lot of potential for growth for years to come, just in looking at new buyers coming into the market place.

“A lot of what we see, these light-weight trailers, these entry-level trailers, those are the new customers. Along with that, we cultivate our core people who have lived the lifestyle for years. That fits right in with the DRV side. So we felt it was a good opportunity to partner with a company we have gotten to know over the last year.”

Martin also cited the staff of the two companies and the fact that the production facility is a little bit out of Elkhart, where he says labor is “quite tight.”

“You put all those together and it’s a nice fit for us as we continue to grow,” he said.

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, the Howe location will also give the company access to more workers as Elkhart’s labor force continues to tighten. There are no planned job cuts at Heartland as a result of the deal, said Thor spokesman Jeff Trycka.

“With the acquisition, Heartland will look at the combined production footprint and decide how to best allocate production between the two locations, based on the products produced, available resources to best meet demand for the combined product lines,” Trycka said.

Cruiser RV/DRV, which employs about 300, was owned by founder David Fought, his son, Jeff Fought, the Sidnaw Corp., and six other individuals. Although CRV and DRV were founded in 2002, David Fought has been making RVs since 1988. He worked his way up to the executive level at Starcraft RV, before venturing out on his own when that company was acquired by Jayco Inc. in the early 1990s. Fought and some partners founded SunnyBrook RV, selling it in the late 1990s before he launched DRV and then bought Cruiser RV.

For the full story in the Tribune click here. To view the Truth story click here.