Pete Liegl, the founder, president and CEO of Forest River Industries Inc., Goshen, Ind., has acquired Vanguard Industries of Michigan Inc., manufacturer of Palomino brand folding campers, truck campers and ultralight and expandable travel trailers.
Liegl’s acquisition of Colon, Mich.-based Vanguard was effective Oct. 1, according to Vanguard spokesman Dan Culberson.
Vanguard, a 245-employee firm, was sold by Vern Landey, who wanted to retire, said Culberson, a 26-year veteran at Vanguard who was vice president and general manager under the previous ownership. Culberson said he currently is “functioning in the same capacity” as he did when Landey owned the company, although his new title has not been designated yet.
Culberson said he does not know why Liegl, as an individual, bought Vanguard, rather than Forest River, which was the buyerf in several recent acquisitions.
Terms of the transaction were not revealed.
Vanguard’s Palomino brand was ranked No. 7 in retail sales in the folding-camper category and No. 20 in travel trailers for the first seven months of this year, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Under Liegl’s ownership, Vanguard will work “the hardest and the strongest at the beginning” on expanding its folding-camper business, although the goal is to expand the company’s market share in all of the categories in which it competes, Culberson said.
There also are plans to extend Vanguard/Palomino into new product categories, he added.
Concerning Vanguard’s new owner, Culberson said, “He (Liegl) is a strong presence in the industry, he’s been very successful. I have confidence in him.”
The closely held Forest River ranked No. 2 in retail sales in the combined travel-trailer/fifth-wheel segment for the first seven months of this year, Statistical Surveys reported.