Born Free Triumph

Born Free Triumph

Humboldt, Iowa-based Dodgen Industries Inc., the  family owned manufacturer of Born Free Class C motorhomes, has been sold to HBF Investments, Des Moines, Iowa.

The company’s new president is Jeff Butler, former head of engineering for Forest River Inc. subsidiary Dynamax, who took over Tuesday (Jan. 27). The sale for an undisclosed amount closed Jan. 14.

”We were looking for an investor to take us to the next level and grow the business,” said Brandon Dodgen, who formerly served as Born Free general manager and is staying on as product manager. ”An investment turned into a purchase.”

Butler said Born Free’s reputation drew him to the company.

”Born Free has a solid reputation for high quality and superior customer service for many years,” Butler said.

Born Free, founded by now-retired John Dodgen in 1946, builds traditional Class C and Super C motorhomes as well as police command centers and ambulatory units. In 2014, Born Free ranked 13th nationally in Class C sales with a .26% market share having sold 36 motorhomes, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Butler said the new owners hope to increase Born Free’s market share.

”When HBF Investments decided to purchase the company their intention is to build on the legacy of the Dodgens,” Butler said. ”There isn’t any targeted number. We figure we can grow the numbers, and where we are at now, we are fairly confident with that.

Brandon Dodgen reported that some Born Free product modifications can be expected.

”Our 2016 model year change happens in June, he said. ”We are gearing up for that. There definitely will be some changes, but we don’t know exactly what they will be yet.”

Born Free was to sponsor a rally Feb. 9-11 at the Lazydays campground in Seffner, Fla., and in Tucson, Ariz., March 6-9. A factory rally June 9-12 in Humboldt is expected to draw upwards of 100 Born Free units.