German standards for RVs made in the USA
Thor Industries announces the creation of "Hymer USA". The new subsidiary wants to produce motorhomes according to European processes and standards at its Bristol / Indiana location. The first vehicles are scheduled to roll off the assembly line in 2020.
“Hymer USA” - that's what the Swabian manufacturer had dreamed of in 2017 when the group bought the Canadian brand Roadtrek. This should make it possible to take the big step across the pond onto the North American market.
However, these plans did not work out, since 2019 the Erwin-Hymer Group has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US company Thor Industries, and Thor has since been the world's largest manufacturer of leisure vehicles. Roadtrek was repelled after several scandals.
Hymer USA: vehicles with European standards
Despite the problems: The market interest in motorhomes with a European cut seems to be unbroken in the USA. "The Hymer brand and product offering have already received very positive feedback from our North American dealer network," said Bob Martin, President and CEO of THOR Industries. According to Martin Brand, Managing Director of Hymer, US customers particularly appreciate the expertise in lightweight construction.
That's why Thor just wants to turn things around and produce leisure vehicles in the United States with "Hymer USA" based on the European or Swabian model.
Overview: This is how US and European motorhomes differ
"Hymer USA will have a completely different type of production that is currently not found in the North American RV industry," said Troy James, Thor's senior vice president. "This includes automated processes that span the entire design and assembly process." At the same time, however, the high speed of market launches that Thor Industries is known for should be maintained. Production of the vehicles is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The camper study Hymer Vision Venture has already shown that projects within the Thor Group can also be implemented quickly together with Hymer. The implementation took just 10 months from the idea to the world premiere at the Caravan Salon 2019.
The team and location have already been determined
Troy James traveled a lot in Europe in 2019 and is enthusiastic about the manufacturing processes and quality standards of the Erwin-Hymer Group. The new company Hymer USA will move into existing, newly renovated plants that are located in Bristol, Indiana. A place just 10 minutes drive from Thor headquarters. Thor plans to invest 8 to 10 million dollars this year, the majority of which will be used for machinery and equipment.
As Vice President and Managing Director, Jochen Hein from Germany is responsible for the US production site. He has seven years of production experience from Bad Waldsee. However, he is not the only one who is sent to Indiana from Upper Swabia. A core team of Erwin Hymer Group employees will start in the United States in 2020 and will launch production there over the next two years.