Hoefer Group, owned by American Charles Hoefer and his wife, Andrea Kine, has begun its expansion into North America. Following years of R&D to develop subultralight RV body structures offering durability and leak-free exteriors in the country of Eswatini (Swaziland), Africa, its entry into the U.S. market became definitive Wednesday (May 15) through an agreement with Mekkelsen RV of Vermont to exclusively retail all models in the northeast region.
According to a press release, the partnership has historical significance as Charles’ father, Dave Sr., and Mekkelsen RV President Bruce Mekkelsen partnered early in the start-up of Dutchmen RV, which Hoefer co-founded and continued to oversee for a number of years with Thor Industries Inc. Mekkelsen noted, “Dave and his partners made Dutchmen so easy to sell and so much fun to be a part of. They were different, creating a better customer experience that made the product sell itself.”
Mikkelsen noted, “What I see is a passionate family who isn’t interested in short-term profits, and they proved it by investing in R&D for over three years. We’ve spent weeks discussing the product and seeing the difference, and I have never seen anything like it. When Charles and I first started discussions, I said, ‘I don’t believe you, but if it’s true we will want it,’ and as he showed us more, we realized it was true.”
The Hoefer product offers a body structure and cabinetry that are assembled without screws and are impervious to leaks, while the chassis is a semi-monocoque design with aircraft aluminum rails. The body is designed for road shock management, while still being two to three times lighter than traditional towable.
Hoefer noted, “It has been so much fun to work with Bruce and Connie, to see their passion for change in the industry, and to be a part of it with them. We hope Hoefer RVs will create revolutionary new industry standards in many ways. We are setting benchmarks in weight, towability, lifespan, usability, build quality, durability and warranty. With all the industry consolidation we’ve witness the past few years from suppliers to manufacturers to dealers, we knew product innovation would come more slowly, and it’s been great to have a long R&D runway and launch in the northeast with a multi-generation family dealer.”
Several Hoefer RV models are in the works for North America and should begin arriving at Mekkelsen RV by late 2019. The focus will be on high-spec Euro-inspired designs at aggressive price points.