Thor Redirects Oregon-based Komfort Division
Peter Kinden, former general manager of Stiers RV, Bakersfield, Calif., has been named vice president of sales for Komfort Corp., a towable RV manufacturer based in Clackamas, Ore. In his new position, Kinden will manage all sales, marketing and product development for the Thor Industries Inc. division, according to a letter sent early this week (April 19) to Komfort’s 90 dealers by Thor Group President Ron Fenech.
As part of the transition, former Komfort President John Attilla remains with the company, but he’s stepping down from the top job. Komfort operations are now the direct responsibility of Don Clark, president of Thor’s Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. subsidiary in Goshen, Ind.
“I would like to be open about what we see at Komfort,” Fenech wrote in the dealer letter. “Over the past few years, Komfort has lost its way. We have not been providing our dealers with the competitive products nor the responsive service that will allow us to be the dominant RV brand in the West. And that is going to change.
“The Komfort team has the basics in place to move quickly in getting us going in the right direction,” added Fenech, “and these changes are just the beginning. We at Thor are very committed to the Komfort brand and will be investing to return Komfort to the No. 1 name in the Western states, as it has been in the past.”
Although Clark will not have a Komfort title, Fenech told RVBUSINESS.com that “when appropriate” a new Komfort leader will be appointed who “will continue to report to Don Clark.”
The move comes as a number of companies appear to be positioning for West Coast market share in anticipation of the post-recession era, even though the current state of the marketplace out West continues to be “tough,” said Fenech. “The Northwest is strong, but the Southwest still has its challenges,” he said. “All in all, everything is getting better out West.”
Dutchmen has a manufacturing facility in Burley, Idaho, where the company builds entry-level, wood-and-aluminum travel trailers, while Komfort is located near Portland, Ore. Together, says Fenech, the two plants are well positioned to service the West. “Don understands the western market and will bring a lot of good direction to Komfort,” he added. “And there are efficiencies to be gained between Komfort and Dutchmen, and that will be good for both Dutchmen and Komfort dealers.”