Bill Fenech, president of Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International, today (Sept. 8) announced a strategic plan to consolidate the operations of Damon and Four Winds to form Thor Motor Coach.
Today, Damon and Four Winds combined are the No. 1 retail selling motorhome in the industry, Fenech said, referring to Statistical Surveys Inc., year-to-date through June sales figures. This consolidation is a natural progression of bringing these two companies together to form one company to maintain this market leading position, he stated in a news release.
Fenech reaffirmed the reasons for the consolidation: “The most motivating reason for this consolidation was to help our dealers and retail customers by building incredible brands supported by a strong name. This new structure will help us to leverage the Thor name, which is known for its strength and stability, while allowing us to better focus on our value oriented individual brands. Developing hot, innovative products through intense dealer and retail customer feedback is critical to our success and will continue to drive how we do business and will only improve with this increased focus. Damon and Four Winds were always lean operations but this consolidation will help to make Thor Motor Coach even leaner, driving our costs down which we will pass on to our dealers and retail customers.”
Product development and sales will be structured for maximum product and dealer focus by dividing up the Thor Motor Coach brands into three separate sales and product development groups – gasoline Class A’s, Class C’s and diesels.
- Dana Simon, a 20-year veteran of Four Winds, will be the vice president and general manager of the gas Class A and Class C brands which include Hurricane, Windsport, Daybreak, Challenger, Four Winds and Chateau.
- Matt Thompson, a seven-year veteran of Damon, will be the vice president and general manager of the diesel brands which include the Serrano, Avanti, Astoria and Tuscany.
“This is absolutely the best move to better serve our dealers and retail customers. We are truly a great company to work with. We always put our dealers and customers before ourselves. I personally believe our customer service and parts are among the best in the industry,” said Thompson.
“With the accumulated efforts of our excellent employees from both divisions I’m sure we will provide the best products and services to our loyal dealers and retail customers. We have made fantastic strides in our quality, and I feel our quality ranks up there with higher priced products. This an exciting time for all of us; especially our dealers,” said Simon.
Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International and now Thor Motor Coach are part of Thor Industries Inc. Jackson Center, Ohio.
Bill and Kristin Fenech increased their personal donation to the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) Education Foundation’s RV Learning Center by $10,000, making their total contribution $50,000, according to a news release from the RVDA.
The Fenechs have been supporters of the RV Learning Center since 2004. Bill Fenech is president of the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiaries Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International.
“A gift to the RV Learning Center is one of the best ways to improve the availability of continuing education for RV dealership employees,” said Bill Fenech. “Kristin and I are pleased to be able to support these important industry programs that help improve the sales and service process for RV buyers.”
“Industry support is vital if the RV Learning Center is to develop and maintain its educational offerings,” said RVDA Education Foundation Chairman Rick Horsey of Parkview RV Center in Smyrna, Del. “We thank Bill and Kristin for their ongoing support for RV dealers and the RV Learning Center.”
The RV Learning Center is dedicated to providing dealers and their employees with innovative ways to operate RV dealerships through an array of education resources including publications, distance learning, live workshops, online products, training, and certification programs for RV dealership personnel. Participation in RV industry certification programs was a key recommendation of the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence Task Force reports, which studied consumer satisfaction.
The RV Learning Center is in the midst of a 2010 Fundraising Challenge campaign to support industry education programs. For more information on the Foundation’s RV Learning Center and to contribute, visit www.rvlearningcenter.com, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a fax to (703) 359-0152. The RVDA Education Foundation is a tax exempt organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions may be tax deductible as charitable donations.
Owners of Four Winds International and Damon Motor Coach diesel products are being welcomed into the newly formed Thor Diesel Club, formerly known as the Mandalay Travel Club.
The club is extending an invitation to all owners of the following Class A diesel coaches: Damon Avanti, Astoria, Essence, Escaper, LX400, Tuscany and Ultrasport; Four Winds Serrano and Monteceito; and Mandalay Presidio, Mandalay and Valencia.
Thor Diesel Club will host its first rally Oct. 3-8 in Goshen, Ind. Jim Larocca, president of Thor Diesel Club, extended an open invitation to all the qualifying owners to stop out and become a charter member of the newly formed Thor Diesel Club.
“Damon and Four Winds will sponsor this event and have staff available at the rally. The Thor Diesel Club will continue their traditions of the past and you will find seminars, vendor support, giveaways, food, golf and tech service during the week for all attendees. Jim Larocca promises that this will be a great way to get more enjoyment with your coach and meet new friends while learning about your coach,” according to a news release.
For more information go to www.MyMotorhomeClub.com or contact the Rally Master Fran Watkins by e-mail: email@example.com
Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International are subsidiaries of Thor Industries Inc. Jackson Center, Ohio, the world s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.
Four Winds International Corp. today (July 7) announced a substantial increase in Class A motorhome production to keep up with demand for the Hurricane, Windsport, Serrano and Montecito brands in the market.
The Class C Four Winds and Chateau have also seen a significant rise in overall production levels for the first six months of this year, according to a news release.
“We are thrilled to be able to increase our production,” commented Dana Simon, general manager of Four Winds International. “The commitment from our dealers has been outstanding. Product changes and the introduction of hot, new floorplans have had a considerable impact on this production increase.”
The boost for the Four Winds products came on the heels of the innovative “Summer Sizzler” program. A special retail price for select motorhome models was the emphasis of the “Summer Sizzler.” Retail customers are taking advantage of aggressive $49,995 retail pricing on the 23A model Four Winds and Chateau brands, along with $69,995 retail pricing on the 31D Hurricane and Windsport models.
“The Summer Sizzler package has really driven retail awareness of all Four Winds products. We are seeing the benefits of this program at the dealer and customer level,” Simon said.
In addition, the Serrano Class A continues to build a great following in the market. The new 31X is now arriving on dealers’ lots. Serrano models feature expansive exterior storage areas and fuel-sipping aerodynamic design. The X-model is the first floorplan to offer a bedroom slide while still maintaining the compact and easy-to-maneuver overall length. The front kitchen design is highlighted by the large leatherette U-shaped dinette. The 32-inch LCD TV is positioned mid-ship which can be utilized while traveling.
The new 31X Serrano is retail priced at $119,995.
Four Winds International is a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.
Stony Thornburg was named to head up the new personal service advocate program for Thor Motorized Services (TMS), serving owners of Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International Corp. products.
TMS announced in December creation of the new program for retail owners called “Concierge Connection.”
The program was developed to establish a personal relationship with new retail owners of Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International motorhomes. With this program now in full swing, brand new owners will be contacted by their personal service advocate, Thornburg.
When a dealer submits the retail sold registration for a new motorhome, Thornburg will call the new customer to introduce himself and Thor Motorized Services. The goal for the Concierge Connection is to provide a person at the factory who can provide helpful information or advice to new retail customers, according to a news release.
Thornburg has been in the RV industry for 17 years and has worked with suppliers and manufacturers in various positions. “He has a wealth of knowledge in customer service, technical troubleshooting, and dealer and owner relations,” said Janae’ Kurtz, TMS director. “Stony has been part of the customer service team for nine years and is a natural fit as our concierge. Stony has not only the knowledge of this position, but he has the experience and training to make him successful. As a veteran of our armed forces, he understands leadership and how to implement a successful game plan. I couldn’t be happier with our choice for the job.”
“Working with customers is what I love to do. Fostering new relationships and treating people with the utmost respect is what keeps me coming back to the office everyday. After only five months I can tell we are making a difference,” said Thornburg.
Elkhart, Ind.-based Four Winds International has beefed up its sales staff with a trio of appointments and promotions.
Industry veteran Mark O’Connor has joined the Four Winds International sales team, effective April 1, as the sales manager for Hurricane and Windsport Class A’s, along with Four Winds and Chateau Class C motorhomes for the western United States, according to a news release.
O’Connor will be an instant asset for dealers as he has held positions on the wholesale and retail side of the business. Most recently, he held the position of national director of aales for the Fleetwood towable division, and prior to that he was the inventory manager for Mike Thompson’s RV in California. Dealers can contact O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barry Hughes will be leading sales development in the middle section of the U.S. for the Serrano and Montecito diesel-powered Class A products. He has held positions on both the wholesale and retail sides of the business. Hughes rejoins the Four Winds team, after a successful year in the retail side of the business. Previously he managed the Midwest for Four Winds Class A and C products. Dealers can contact Hughes at email@example.com.
Elliott Bond has been promoted to the sales manager for the West Coast for the Serrano and Montecito diesel-powered Class A products. Bond will be responsible for dealer development and training in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Utah, California and Nevada. He joined the Four Winds team last year as the West Coast sales representative for the Ventura Class B product. Dealers can contact Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four Winds International is a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) expands its presence in the motorhome industry by entering into a new multiyear exclusivity agreement with Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International, which are both divisions of Thor Industries Inc., according to a news release.
The agreement is for upcoming model years of all Damon and Four Winds rear-diesel Class A motorhomes including the Astoria, Astoria Pacific Edition, Tuscany and Essence from Damon and the Montecito from Four Winds.
With the new agreement, FCCC’s XC-R raised-rail chassis will be the exclusive chassis offered on the Damon and Four Winds diesel models. The XC-R chassis provides excellent durability and performance, superior maneuverability and a comfortable ride for passengers. Furthermore, the XC-R raised-rail design allows for increased pass-through storage beneath the coach.
“Our new agreement with Thor Industries, the largest manufacturer in the RV industry, enables us to expand our presence within the Class A diesel motorhome market,” said Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. “This partnership will allow Thor Industries’ customers to experience our reliable, comfortable and durable chassis and access to our first-class customer service.”
“Both Damon and Four Winds have had a long relationship with FCCC, and we value our partnership with them,” said Bill Fenech, president of Damon and Four Winds. “We feel they are the premier rear diesel chassis manufacturer, and we are pleased to renew our agreement to build our rear diesel models exclusively on their chassis.”
For more information about the FCCC XC-R chassis and all FCCC products, visit the company Wewebsite at www.freightlinerchassis.com.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van and school bus and shuttle bus markets. It is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.
Effective in December, Motor Home Specialist, located in Alvarado, Texas, has joined the nationwide dealer network for Four Winds International Corp., a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary.
Motor Home Specialist easily caught the attention of Four Winds, due to the RV dealer consistently holding its position as the No. 1 volume selling RV dealer in the state of Texas since 2007, according to a news release.
Four Winds approached Motor Home Specialist because “they wanted an RV dealer who sells high volume,” said Donny O’Banion, Motor Home Specialist CEO. “We sell in large volume, and we sell for less. Instead of earning a huge profit off of a few sales, we would rather sell more RVs to more customers at a larger discount.”
With a 22-acre lot located just south of the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, Motor Home Specialist now sells new models of Four Winds’ luxurious Hurricane Class A RVs, with several floorplans to choose from, including RVs with basements and semi-basements. The Texas RV dealer will also sell Four Winds’ Class C models.
“Many buyers who research several RV manufacturers will lean toward Four Winds International and Thor Industries Inc. because of their solid name and history,” said O’Banion. “Thor remains strong in this economy, and the RVs hold their value.”
O’Banion said that Motor Home Specialist has been selling Four Winds’ pre-owned RVs since the dealer’s inception in 1995.
Four Winds International (FWI) saw increases in both Class A and Class C sales sparked by new dealers taking on FWI products at the recent National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of the show, especially the huge increase in the number of motorhome dealers bringing in new motorhome inventory,” said Dana Simon, FWI general manager, in a news release. “I believe the commitment we are making to the overall industry and the retail customers coming into the RV industry is being seen by our dealers. With the continued support and financial stability of Thor we are able to further design and upgrade our products, which was evident to dealers in our Louisville product mix.”
The Serrano Class A continued to impress the dealers and the media, as the two models on display experienced constant traffic. The Hurricane Class A continued to see sales success as dealers looked for a solid performer in an entry to mid-line gas motorhome, Simon said. Dealers spent large amounts of time reviewing and ordering the new Montecito and Windsport Prestige, two new models introduced at the show.
The introduction of the “Concierge Connection,” a follow-up program for new retail owners, was rolled out along with an overview of Thor Motorized Services, the customer service and warranty arm of Four Winds.
“The show provided great exposure for the new programs we are rolling out at Thor Motorized Services. The new Concierge Connection is going to set the benchmark for all manufacturers,” noted Janaé Kurtz, director of Thor Motorized Services.
“The team is making a commitment to take Four Winds to the next level,” said Bill Fenech, Four Winds president and CEO. “Since coming to Four Winds in June, Dana and his team have taken on a lot of different responsibilities. I brought a change in thinking to Four Winds and we can see it paying off in the products we are building and the commitment we have made to our dealers and retail buyer.”
Four Winds continues to excel in the Class C market, and dealers are flocking to the Four Winds and Chateau Class C models for retail and rental purposes, Fenech noted. Both models offer eight floorplans, with a combination of slide and non-slides, so the product can be customized to meet a dealers needs.
Four Winds International is a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio.
The Workhorse W-20D/W-22D front-engine diesel chassis with its International MaxxForce 7 engine has taken a big leap in improving motorhome fuel economy, while providing outstanding torque for Class A motorhomes along with the quietest V8 diesel engine you might ever drive, according to a news release.
Independent tests at Bosch Proving Grounds in South Bend, Ind., had this chassis-engine match-up achieving up to 13.2 mpg, an almost unheard of figure for a Class A motorhome. The tests were conducted with a 32-foot Four Winds Serrano coach body and loaded to the maximum 20,500-pound GVWR. The Serrano has been drawing heavy consumer interest throughout 2009 and was named a “Best of Show” at the September Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show by RVbuddiesonline.com. The W20D chassis and MaxxForce 7 engine are both on display at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville this week along with the Serrano.
The latest version of the MaxxForce 7, V8 tuned for motorhomes generates 230 hp and 620 pound-feet of torque. “This high volume, rugged mid-range diesel engine is the heart of many International medium duty trucks. Now it is making its mark in the RV industry,” said Tony Monda, Workhorse Custom Chassis Corp. vice president of marketing. “Coupled with the six-speed Allison transmission, our W20D and W22D front engine diesel platforms do not sacrifice power and performance in order to achieve better fuel economy.
“These platforms have incredible grade ability and pulling power. Our proprietary RV consumer research indicated that class A potential buyers still want power and performance — but they are also demanding better fuel economy and that is what the new W-Series delivers. Our strategy is to continue to integrate MaxxForce engines into Workhorse products where applicable, creating synergies with (parent company) Navistar(International Corp.) along with true market differentiation.”
Quietest diesel V8
Drivers will also immediately notice that MaxxForce 7 is quiet. The noise level measured at 68.9 dBA in a low idle test. A high-pressure common rail fuel system, piezo actuated fuel injectors and a block and head design with a single-piece nodular iron bedplate are among the features that contribute to reduced noise and vibrations, a key to the MaxxForce 7’s front-engine application.
Presently, the Serrano coach from Four Winds International exclusively uses the W20D for both its 31Z single-slide out and 31V double slide out models. Four Winds Director of Marketing Jon Krider said dealerships with the product find that “it retails quite quickly. They’re seeing consumers that traditionally look at diesel pushers and longer coaches. These customers are finding many features with the coach and chassis that they like, starting with things like storage and the whole aerodynamic look and contemporary feel of the coach. So instead of spending $200,000 to $300,000 for a bigger coach, they can get a lot of what they want at a much lower price point.”
Regarding the W20D and Serrano matchup, Krider said, “Retail customers comment on how quiet the cockpit is for having a diesel engine right under their feet. We get a lot of comments about just how well the coach drives because of the 50-degree turning radius and being able to turn a short coach around in a tight area. And we get many good comments about the overall stability of the coach moving down the road.”
For such reasons, Krider believes spring sales of the Serrano will be even better.
High performance technology
The series sequential EVRT turbocharger provides exceptional response over a wide range of engine speeds for impressive acceleration, grade climbing, towing capability and high altitude performance. The turbo is tuned to improve fuel economy while also making the vehicle very responsive to the driver. The MaxxForce 7 also provides unaided cold-starting performance from -20° F within four seconds. Routine maintenance is economical, with oil changes every 10,000 miles.
Workhorse is an affiliate of Navistar International Corp.
For additional information about Workhorse, call (877) 294-6773 or visit www.workhorse.com.