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Erwin Hymer Marks Opening of Ontario Facility

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September 15, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

(L-R) EHG AG CEO Martin Brandt, Provincial Sen. Victor Oh, Christian Hymer, Caroline Hymer, RVIA Chairman Bob Parish and EHGNA President and CEO Jim Hammill

Nearly 600 Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA) employees, along with top management and dignitaries, gathered Wednesday (Sept. 13) to mark the company’s opening of its newly refurbished 255,000-square-foot RV manufacturing facility in Cambridge, Ontario. (To view a slideshow scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page).

The new facility will be dedicated to producing the company’s new lines of German- and Canadian-engineered Class B motorhomes under the Hymer brand and ultralightweight travel trailers under the Hymer Touring brand targeting the North American market. The new Cambridge facility is the third plant for EHGNA in the tri-city area with its original Roadtrek manufacturing facility in Kitchner, Ontario, and its component assembly and fabrication facility based in Waterloo, Ontario.

The retooled facility formerly housed the Canadian offices and repair operations for BlackBerry smart phones and was purchased in January of 2017 by EHGNA.  

Presenting at the ceremony were Provincial Senator Victor Oh; Martin Brandt, CEO, Erwin Hymer Group AG & Co. KG (EHG); Jim Hammill, president and CEO, Erwin Hymer Group North America; and Bob Parish, chairman of the Recreational Vehicles Industry Association (RVIA).

“This is a momentous occasion for us,” said Jim Hammill. “Just a year and a half ago we joined with Erwin Hymer Group as they acquired us, and the opportunity that this represented to both companies in North America was enormous. We have doubled in size in that year and a half and that has a lot to do with the enormous resources of the Erwin Hymer Group.

“But just as important are the good people involved. This is still a family business and so is the Erwin Hymer Group. It makes a big difference when you are dealing with people who care about people. It’s people who make this business strong.”

Nearly 600 gathered for the opening of Erwin Hymer’s new plant

Hammill noted that the lightweight technology and styling from Europe his company will bring to North America will have an “enormous impact” on the market, adding that the RV industry and consumers are already energized about the lightweight Hymer Touring trailer.

“We are using new, lightweight trailer building techniques to build a trailer that Erwin Hymer Group began building back in 1956,” he said. “We have modified how it’s built and made it even more lightweight, and now people are going to be able to pull it with any car they have. Consumers will no longer have to buy a larger vehicle. This vehicle can be pulled by a MINI Cooper — it’s tiny in weight but large in size.”

Traveling from Germany with a contingent of the EHG board of directors and owners, Brandt, stated, “I can give you some numbers first,” he said. “We just finished our business year at the end of August and we are up $2.1 billion Euro in sales. This is 35% over last year. Today, 6,000 people are working for us in our group worldwide. This is 1,000 more than last year and we have doubled sales in the last three years. So this was really a record year for us. But the coming year will be the next record year, of course, with Erwin Hymer Group North America.”

Brandt stressed that the new partnership had the ability to “think big and the necessary investments to execute this vision.” He reported that EHGNA had doubled in size in both facilities and product investments since the acquisition with new brands and designs poised to enter the market.

President Jim Hammill

“The overall business plan that we developed together one and a half years ago is overachieved,” said Brandt. “I would like to say thanks to all employees for our success, and the great contribution they have made to the Erwin Hymer Group. Thank you. Well done is better than well said, as Benjamin Franklin once said.”  

According to the company, 80% of the parts come from the surrounding region, a traditional automotive industrial cluster that also includes a Toyota assembly plant.

“Here you have the European design, German engineering and North American quality for the world market,” Oh said to the gathering. “Canada is host to a number of areas of innovation and technology and we are seeking a niche in the world where they can be leveraged for a competitive advantage.” He went on to state that areas such as fuel cell technologies, advanced materials and other technologies are readily available in the region.

EHGNA took advantage at the event to showcase new technologies in development. The debut of the prototype Hymer Touring travel trailer was displayed for the first time to the employees and visitors. The new towable product features a frameless shell of composites less than two inches thick. Also on display was the “Icelander” prototype. This extreme off-road motorhome built on the Mercedes-Benz 4WD Sprinter chassis is in collaboration with an Icelandic touring company that takes people on arctic tundra excursions. The Erwin Hymer autonomous, self-driving motorhome was also on display — the first of its kind according to the company.

“You have to understand that EHG built 50,000 motorhomes for the worldwide market last year,” said Hammill. “We think this new partnership is a game changer for the RV industry.”  

 

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