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Quite likely Thor Industries Inc. decided to buy Class A motorhome manufacturer Damon Corp. because Damon has gained a lot of positive momentum recently.
During the first half of this year, Damon’s retail sales, in terms of units, increased by 27% when compared with the same portion of 2002, according to recently released figures from Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Damon ranked No. 7 in terms of retail market share in Class A’s during the first half of this year with a 5.1% market share, Statistical Surveys reports.
The only other Class A manufacturer in the Top 10 to experience nearly as much growth as Damon during the first half of this year was No. 4 Newmar Corp., which achieved almost 24% growth in terms of units. Newmar had a 6.6% retail market share in Class A’s during the first half of this year.
Both Damon and Newmar are out-pacing the Class A retail market as a whole by wide margins. Class A retail sales, in total, were up 7.3% during the first half of this year, when compared with the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Thor, which agreed to pay $46 million in cash for Damon, ranked No. 9 in terms of retail market share for Class A’s during the first half of this year. Thor had a 3.4% retail market share in Class A’s during the first half of this year, although its retail sales, in terms of units, declined almost 7% when compared with the first half of 2002.
Damon has been successful of late because it has been “very stable” in terms of its brand line-up “and we continue to improve our quality,” said Gary Groom, Damon’s president.
“Some of our units are getting pretty bulletproof, it’s hard for consumers to find anything wrong with them, which is gratifying,” Groom said. “And the retail sales people want to sell a unit that won’t come back the next day (as a warranty claim).”
Damon, which was acquired by Don Pletcher, its current majority owner, from Dan George during 1988, builds the DayBreak entry-level gas; the Challenger mid-price gas; the Intruder highline gas; the Ultrasport entry- to mid-range diesel and the Escaper mid-range raised rail diesel pusher.
George also was the founder of Georgie Boy Manufacturing, another Class A motorhome manufacturer which he sold to Coachmen Industries Inc. during the mid-1990s.