Elkhart-based THOR Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) has created a new subsidiary, focusing on the production of recreational vehicles for the North American market, but using European-style manufacturing practices and automation.
The new business, Hymer USA, will be based in Bristol, Indiana. The company says it intends to invest $8 to $10 million to build out an existing, company-owned plant.
The move stems from Thor’s 2019 acquisition of Germany-based Erwin Hymer Group, one of the leading RV makers in Europe.
Thor says it expects to roll out its first Indiana-produced Hymer RV in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Delivering to the North American market the innovation, design and quality for which the Hymer brand is known will benefit consumers and dealers,” said Bob Martin, president and chief executive officer of THOR Industries.
The company says some employees in key product development roles in Germany will relocate to Bristol. The goal is to replicate some European manufacturing processes, using skilled American workforce on the production line.
“Having worked closely with EHG this past year, I’m very impressed by their teamwork, product innovation and manufacturing processes,” said Troy James, Thor senior vice president who will oversee Hymer USA. “We are very excited to fully incorporate the EHG best practices into the operations of the newly created Hymer USA subsidiary starting on day one.”
James says the new company will use a different style of manufacturing currently not seen in the U.S. RV industry, which includes automated processes throughout design and assembly.