Forbes: Airstream, Thor Can be Bullish on Future

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September 4, 2018 by   Leave a Comment

CEO Bob Martin isn’t exactly whistling through the graveyard to foresee continued and growing success for Thor Industries Inc., the Elkhart, Indiana-based company that owns Airstream, Starcraft, Keystone, Crossroads and other major brands of recreational vehicles.

Earlier in the summer, Martin gave investors pause as he said that the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs were boosting costs and complexity for the company. But Martin insisted that Thor would be able to keep disruptions to “minimal effect.”

And in the bigger picture, the days of economic devastation wrought by the Great Recession are long gone for the RV industry and, especially, for Thor. Business is booming as never before for the world’s largest maker of RVs and commercial buses. Sales surged to $7.2 billion in fiscal 2017 from $4.6 billion a year earlier and rose by 12 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2018. Thor’s consolidated RV backlog is $2 billion.

And the company recently broke ground on a $40 million expansion of the plant in Jackson Center, Ohio, where it builds Airstreams, the streamlined, aluminum-clad, high-end RVs that are popular with celebrities and rank-and-file aficionados.

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