Thor Industries Inc., already the retail market share leader in travel trailers and fifth-wheels by a wide margin, will become the No. 4 producer of Class A motorhomes when it completes the acquisition of Damon Corp. as expected on Sept. 2.
In buying Damon, which builds gas and diesel engine Class A’s, Thor Chairman Wade Thompson will achieve his goal of becoming a more significant player in the motorhome sector, where profit margins per unit generally are wider.
Three years ago, Thor attempted to become a bigger motorhome producer through the acquisition of Coachmen Industries Inc. However, Thor was rebuffed when Coachmen’s Board adopted anti-takeover measures.
Damon held the No. 7 position in terms of retail market share in the Class A category with a 5.3% market share during the first five months of this year, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Meanwhile, Thor was No. 9 in Class A’s with a 3.5% retail market share.
When combined, Thor would rise to No. 4 with an 8.8% retail market share, passing the current No. 4, Newmar Corp., which had a 6.7% retail market share in Class A’s during the first five months of this year, Statistical Surveys reports.
However, Thor would still trail the top three Class A producers by a wide margin. During the first five months of this year, Fleetwood was No. 1 in Class A’s with a 21.5% retail market share, followed by Winnebago at 16.9% and Monaco at 16.7%, according to Statistical Surveys.
Thor currently builds Class A’s at its Airstream subsidiary in Jackson Center, Ohio, and its Four Winds subsidiary in Elkhart, Ind.
Four Winds also is a major producer of Class C motorhomes, occupying the No. 2 position with a 16% retail market share during the first five months of this year. Four Winds trails only Winnebago, which had a 23.6% share of the Class C retail market during the first five months of this year.
Thor became the No. 1 producer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels when it acquired Keystone RV Co. during November 2001. Thor had a 29.7% share of the retail market for the larger towables during the first five months of this year, placing it well ahead of its nearest competitor, Forest River Inc., which had a 15% market share during the same period.
The Damon acquisition also makes Thor a major player in the park model category. Damon’s Breckenridge subsidiary occupied the No. 2 position with a 23.2% retail market share in park models during the fist five months of this year, Statistical Surveys reports. It only trailed Skyline Corp., which had a 24.5% share of the retail market for park models during the period.
Thompson’s strategy clearly is for Thor to grow internally and through acquisitions. He said during an investment bankers conference a little more than a year ago that he believes the RV industry is ripe for consolidation and that he intended Thor to be the consolidator.