Damon Motor Coach, a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary, has felt the economic crunch over the past year, but is bouncing back.
“We actually increased market share during the past 12 months,” Matt Thompson, vice president of sales, stated in a news release. “In recent weeks there is some very positive news for us and hopefully the industry.”
Damon Motor Coach designs and manufactures a full line of Class A motorhomes. Brands include the Astoria, Tuscany and Essence diesel pushers; the Avanti front diesel puller; and the gas-powered DayBreak, Challenger and Outlaw models.
Damon has announced it is back to five full days of production and now has a backlog of orders.
“This is a rarity in the hard-hit RV Industry, especially Elkhart County,” said Bill Fenech, Damon president.
“Although encouraging, it’s too early to call this a recovery,” Fenech said. The company is cautiously optimistic about the recent improvement in business. He went on to say that he and his staff will be watching production closely, and matching that with demand.
He also announced that Damon has hired back a group of previously laid off workers and intends to hire more. “Exact numbers will be dependent on sustaining current sales trends, however, Damon dealers are becoming more optimistic about future business,” Fenech concluded.
Jim Colton of Colton RV in western New York, one of Damon’s newest dealers, said Damon product is moving fast. “We received our first Daybreak model recently and it sold in two days,” Colton said. Lazy Days SuperCenter in Seffner, Fla., one of the nations largest RV dealers, has also noticed increased Damon sales. “Things are looking up,” the dealership said.
Damon’s all-new Avanti high-mileage Class A diesel has been a star performer. “We had seven retail customers purchase these units in the past two weeks… this is outstanding,” says Ken Jacobson, Sales Manager for Lazy Days.
An Elkhart-based RV dealer is also encouraged by the recent trend. Hank Schrock, owner of Total Value RV, said Damon product is helping his business.
“We’ve sold five Damon Class A motorhomes in the past few weeks… this is a great sign,” said Schrock. In March, Damon shipped nearly 10% of the entire Class A market, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) wholesale shipment reports. On the retail side, Damon’s Astoria model gained 25% market share and the Challenger model came in at just over a 19% gain.
Damon has invested in a new production facility during the downturn. The new production plant has been modernized and streamlined to help make the entire process, from design to finish, more flexible and efficient. The company, because of the full production week, is back to its regular schedule for customer factory tours.