The Thor Motor Coach Serrano has moved into the “Top 10” best selling diesel motorhomes as of August 2011, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI), Grand Rapids, Mich.,
In a press release, spokesmen for the Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary indicate that the diesel-powered Serrano has increased by 20% in overall retail sales, which equates to a market share increase of 18.3%.
“Our fuel-efficient Serrano continues to be a hit with motorhome enthusiasts and has had great appeal with consumers looking to buy gas or diesel models,” said Adam Gudger, Thor Motor Coach’s Serrano product manager. “We have recently introduced two great new floorplans which include a 34-foot bath-and-a-half model and a 33-foot model with a full-wall slide and an option for a stackable washer and dryer.”
The 2012 Serrano product offering includes five floorplans ranging from 31- to 34-feet. Built on the reliable Workhorse W-series chassis, the Serrano is powered by a Navistar MaxxForce diesel engine rated at 230-hp with 620 ft.-lb. of torque. With a gross vehicle weight rating starting at 20,500 pounds, Thor Motor Coach said the Serrano has a great power to weight ratio – lower weight overall weight, plus big torque output, equals a smooth running motorhome designed to conserve fuel.
“Consumers are looking for a fuel-efficient diesel with the power to handle mountainous terrain and the Serrano provides these diesel benefits for the price of a typical high-end gas unit,” said Gudger. “Users are getting significant fuel economy increases compared to gas motorhomes while the 36% increase in torque keeps the engine running quieter and more efficiently than comparable gas powered models”.
New interior amenities include an MCD solar and blackout roller shade with ClearView technology, helping keep solar light and heat out of the coach during the day while providing complete darkness for sleeping at night. Sliderooms feature custom hardwood fascia, adding a finished look to the Serrano’s living area, while optional heat pumps for the air conditioners take the chill out of the interior on cool mornings and brisk evenings. Three new exterior paint packages along with two interior decors packages are also available.
For more information visit http://Serrano-RV.com.
Thor Motor Coach continues as the No. 1 retailing brand of motorhomes in North America with 22.93% share through June 2011, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
In a press release, Thor Motor Coach said the results also show the Thor Industries Inc. division as the fastest growing motorhome brand among the top eight major manufacturers with a 27.9% increase over last year. Class C sales captured the No. 1 market position with an impressive market share growth of 31.50% compared to the previous year.
“Packing in features that include camper favorites like Mega-Storage Compartments, single step entrances and molded fiberglass front caps have helped us solidify our dedication to the Class C market. Over the past six months we have introduced several new floorplans that integrate features making the coach even more livable,” said Mike Savage, Thor Motor Coach’s Class C product manager.
The company said that over the last few months retail customers have responded well to the addition of several impressive new features on the Hurricane and Challenger lines, the redesign of the Tuscany, and several new floor plans on the Windsport, Serrano and A.C.E. lines.
“Our continued focus on what retail customers’ desire helps us to bring innovative floorplans with intelligent features to the market. Our after-the-sale support programs like Concierge Connection and Rapid Response Parts along with the stability of a strong and financially sound company are added reasons consumers continue to display their confidence in our products,” stated Dana Simon, vice president of sales.
Thor Motor Coach announced today (June 23) that it will be introducing its next floorplan in the A.C.E. motorhome series in the coming weeks.
According to a press release, the evolutionary features of the open concept EVO29.2 floorplan, featuring an enclosed bathroom, will “push the A.C.E’s success even further.”
The news comes on the heels of the A.C.E. EV029.1 floorplan earning the No. 3 ranking for retail sales in April among gas Class A coaches in the latest report from Statistical Surveys Inc.
The A.C.E. debuted at last year’s Louisville Show, garnering the “Best of Show” award from RVBusiness magazine. Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Motor Coach said that the floorplan was built “with a focus on how a customer would use their coach,” combining the best features of a Class A and Class C motorhome with an entry-level price point.
“It is very gratifying to see the retail success of the A.C.E. motorhome,” said Bill Fenech, president and CEO of Thor Motor Coach. “We took the blinders off in designing the A.C.E., and it’s a home run. Our dealers love the product and many are commenting that it’s the best turning motorhome on their lot. Being No. 3 is encouraging, however, we are more focused on building great products with great support. The numbers will follow.”
“We want to be everything to everybody, by offering an extraordinary value for your family,” said Dana Simon, vice president of gas sales for Thor Motor Coach.
“Our goal is simple, to be the best, and the numbers will follow,” Bill Fenech, president and CEO, said in a press release “It has been quite some time since we’ve seen shipments this high. In my opinion, these numbers bring added validation to our team’s complete dedication to building the best motorhomes in the business. Although our dealers’ confidence continues to grow, we maintain cautious optimism by keeping our production levels in-line with retail demand.”
The company reported a 23% increase in April sales and a 36% increase in revenues for the fiscal year, highlighting “the demand for Thor Motor Coach products.” Retail demand continues to rise for Thor Motor Coach diesel products with the largest surge coming from the Tuscany and Serrano brands. The Tuscany year-to-date market share is up 36%, and the Serrano has seen a 64% hike compared to last year.
The newly introduced A.C.E. has made quite the splash in the market with both the retail dealerships and new RVer’s. Rental production is helping to catapult the increased demand. TMC continues to be one of the largest suppliers of rental coaches by partnering with the top RV rental companies in the world.
“Our market shares continue to swell on many products,” said Dana Simon, vice president of gas sales. “We attribute these successes to our market-driven ‘hot products,’ innovative designs, a continued focus on consumer needs and several customer focused programs including the Gold Star Inspection, Concierge Connection and Rapid Response Parts.”
Thor Motor Coach is a full-line manufacturer of several of the top brands on the market that include: A.C.E., Astoria, Avanti, Challenger, Chateau, Chateau Citation, Chateau Citation Sprinter, Daybreak, Four Winds, Four Winds Siesta, Four Winds Siesta Sprinter, Hurricane, Outlaw, Serrano, Tuscany and Windsport.
Thor Motor Coach introduced a new 34SS Daybreak floorplan with an innovative exterior kitchen at the 45th annual Timonium RV show in Maryland.
“We’ve seen an explosion of outside kitchens on towable products, but nothing from motorhome manufacturers. This new upscale exterior kitchen design fits our motorhome demographic and is sure to be a home run,” Mike Peterson, product manager for the Daybreak, stated in a news release.
The Daybreak 34SS floorplan launched with an optional fully functional exterior kitchen on the camp-side of the coach. It features a 15,000 BTU easy clean stainless steel LP grill, 19-inch widescreen HD TV and a 4.6-cubic-foot mini fridge. Another industry first for a motorhome is the integrated single-bowl sink. This sink drains just like the interior sinks, into the grey water holding tank. This is a very desirable upgrade compared to many trailers that simply drain onto the ground.
Bob Wilson, sales manager at Leo’s Vacation Center, was the first person to see the new kitchen when it arrived to the Timonium show. “I was blown away with the new kitchen design. Many of the trailers we carry have a kitchen outside, but to have it in a motorhome really blew me away. Our customers are the big winners on this one.”
“We understand that RVs are not ‘one size fits all,’ so when massive exterior storage is desired over the outside kitchen, the Daybreak 34SS comes standard with an oversized camp-side exterior compartment with the VersaTrac modular storage system,” Peterson said. “The customizable storage system has optional attachments such as hooks, bins, loop, etcetera that makes RV storage a snap.”
Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Motor Coach (TMC) recently released three new floorplans to its dealer network.
The Tuscany 42FK, Challenger 37KT, and the Four Winds 28Z showcase the latest examples of the consumer driven development process at Thor Motor Coach, according to a news release.
“Increased exterior storage, expandable L-shaped sofas, a feeling of “residential openness,” expansive bathrooms, centrally located televisions and modern kitchen work-spaces are among the popular improvements these new floorplans deliver,” the release stated.
“We have applied the same focus on how owners actually use their coaches as we did during the development of the successful A.C.E. on all new product development including our latest floorplans. These already popular, exciting new floorplan designs are destined to be winners,” said Bill Fenech, Thor Motor Coach’s president and CEO.
Following are more details on the TMC changes.
Tuscany 42FK – Tag axle diesel pusher with enough power to climb any mountain:
- Smooth riding Freightliner chassis with Cummins ISL, 450-HP & 1250-lb,ft torque.
- Colossal basement storage with full pass-through access.
- Expandable sofa that maximizes seating and comfort.
- Custom built residential entertainment center with a 40-inch LCD TV.
- Spacious kitchen with abundant LG Hi-Macs solid surface work space.
- Residential 12-inch by 24-inch polished porcelain tile.
- King bed master suite with substantial wall-to-wall wardrobe.
Challenger 37KT – Class A gas motorhome with diesel-like amenities:
- True residential living with three zones of comfort.
- Large, roomy feeling in every room due to the increased ceiling of 82-inch ceiling height.
- Private living space with 32-inch Sony LCD TV and home theater.
- Side-hinged baggage doors provide easy access to the pass-though basement storage.
- Large kitchen area with a camp side dinette and additional LCD TV in the kitchen area.
- Double entries to the bath allow for easy access from every room.
- Large 34-inch by 34-inch shower.
- The King Bed master suite has a large wardrobe with hanging and drawer space.
Four Winds 28Z – Class C RV with a mid-ship LED TV:
- New single slide floorplan with mid-ship TV.
- Razor thin Vizio LED backlit LCD TV mounted mid-ship, viewable from the sofa, dinette and bunk overhead.
- Kitchen is angled to provide more usable work space without blocking the TV, so the cook can be in the kitchen while the guests are in the living area enjoying the game.
- All-in-one back provides privacy without impeding the walk way to the bedroom.
For more information on Thor Motor Coach motorhomes, call (800) 860.5658, visit http://ThorMotorCoach.com or write Thor Motor Coach, Inc., PO Box 1486., Elkhart, Ind., 46515.
Thor Motor Coach rolled out its “Gold Star Inspection” program today (Feb. 10).
The new program requires every motorhome to pass a 200+ point Gold Star Inspection before it ships to the dealership, according to a news release. In addition, after the dealer accepts delivery of each coach they will be contacted by a Thor Motor Coach customer service representative.
The Gold Star Inspection will include testing of the appliances, LP, electrical, heating, air conditioning and water systems. Each coach will also undergo a road test, high pressure 360 degree rain test, and a detailed review of the coach’s fit and finish.
“Requiring every motorhome we manufacturer to pass our extensive Gold Star Inspection process gets us closer to our goal of a ‘zero-defect’ coach. Our dealers need to know that when they are receiving a Thor Motor Coach product it’s in show ready condition,” said Bill Fenech, president and CEO of Thor Motor Coach. “The dealer’s feedback from the Gold Star Inspection program will be instrumental. It provides us the opportunity to be pro-active with our quality control and customer service efforts, and allows us to make improvements immediately”.
“The personal contact with each dealership is another way for us to let our dealers and customers know that Thor Motor Coach is committed to building a quality product while providing the best service experience in the industry,” stated Janaé Kurtz, vice president of customer service for Thor Motor Coach.
More details are available at http://ThorMotorCoach.com/gold-star-inspection.php.
The Florida RV SuperShow set a new attendance mark with 53,117 people passing the gates of the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa when the show concluded Sunday (Jan. 16) — an increase of 4.7% over 2010.
”There was good attendance and good sales,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA). ”We’ve had good attendance all along (at other SuperShows) but sales at some of the others have lagged a little bit.
”Everybody that I talked to was well into double-digits on sales and some dealers were into triple digits as far as sales are concerned.”
The show missed by fewer than 18 hours severe weather that swept across the Sunshine State spawning rain, high winds and tornado warnings, which hampered workers Monday (Jan. 17) as they were disassembling show displays.
”Thank heavens, it didn’t happen yesterday,” said Andy Baer, general manager of KZRV LP, Shipshewana, Ind., who reported strong sales during the five-day show.
Billed as among the largest RV shows in the U.S. with more than 450 vendors and 1,065 display coaches registered this year, the Florida RV SuperShow often sets the stage for the late-winter retail season.
”I’ve been coming to the SuperShow since 1994, and I’d have to say this was one of the best I’ve been too,” Baer said. ”And I’m not talking just about sales. It’s so nice to talk to people who are so very positive. It’s like someone flipped a switch. Everybody was very upbeat.”
”There was a lot of buying going on,” said Andy Cripe, a division manager for Keystone RV Co., Elkhart, Ind. ”I’m not going to say it was record-breaking, but it was sustainable. We saw real prudent buyers and even with the more stringent financing terms, a lot of people put cash down and bought.”
”Hopefully, this is a sign of what is going to happen in 2011,” said Matt Thompson, Elkhart-based Thor Motor Coach diesel division vice president, who reported that the company’s new A.C.E Class A motorhome sold particularly well. ”If it is (a sign), it should be a very good year for the RV industry. Thor Motor Coach did very well at the show as a company.”
Ed Kinney, Carriage Inc., Millersburg, Ind., vice president of sales and marketing, termed attendance and sales ”incredible.”
”The high-line fifth-wheel market was really hot,” Kinney said. ”The SuperShow always sets the tone for the year. For Carriage, it’s going to be an unbelievably great year.”
Based on Tampa and initial returns from other early winter shows, meanwhile, 2011 is looking pretty good for Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc.
“Taking into account the first two weeks of shows, Pittsburg was a good show and the Cleveland Show was the best we’ve had in years,” National Sales Manager Jeff Babcock told RVBUSINESS.com. “And the Tampa Show, finishing up this past weekend, ended up better than years past. So, it’s a great start, and we’re looking for a good year.
“We think it’s going to break loose here this year.”
Roger Martin, Winnebago Industries Inc. vice president of sales and marketing, said the Forest City, Iowa-based motorized manufacturer, was ”thrilled with traffic and sales activity” at the show.
”Dealers representing us there reported sales activity nearly three times better than last year, Martin said.
Thor Motor Coach, manufacturer of Class A gas and diesel, Class C and Class B+ motorhomes, has announced the addition of veteran motorized sales executive Adam Gudger to its staff.
Gudger, the new U.S. Southeastern Territory district sales manager for the diesel division of Thor Motor Coach, brings with him over 10 years of diesel motorhome sales experience, according to a news release. Gudger is already familiar with the Southeast, as he managed it from 2001 until 2006. In addition to dealer training, account development, and servicing the dealer network, Gudger will be involved with diesel product development.
A graduate of the University of Oregon, he is relocating his family to Northern Indiana to be based out of the Thor Motor Coach sales headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.
“Words cannot describe how excited I am to join the Thor Motor Coach diesel team. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to work with such a talented group of people,” Gudger said. “My 10 years in the business has evolved into a real love for diesel motorhomes and a constant desire to help create more competitive products. Additionally, I look forward to building strong relationships with my new dealer partners, and doing my part to help further their retail sales success. With this team and our hot products I see a very bright future here at Thor Motor Coach.”
“Adam brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with a great understanding of our retail customer’s perspective. We have built a phenomenal diesel team and he’s a great addition. I’m sure Adam will become a valuable asset to Thor Motor Coach and our dealers in the Southeast,” said Matt Thompson, general manager of the Diesel Division for Thor Motor Coach.
Gudger can be reached at (574) 584-3646 or AGudger@TMCRV.com
Thor Motor Coach President and CEO Bill Fenech is calling the latest Louisville Show a “huge success” for his Thor Industries Inc. division.
“The Louisville show was a huge success,” Fenech stated today (Dec. 14) in a press release. “The dealer attitudes toward all our products and company were phenomenal. The new ‘Best in Show’ A.C.E and our diesel pushers stole the show.”
“This is a very good indication of future business and we anticipate strong production rates for the upcoming year,” added Fenech, who created Thor Motor Coach this year by combining two Thor divisions, Four Winds International Corp. and Damon Motor Coach, that previously had been separate operations under his divisional management.
Prior to the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky, Thor Motor Coach maintained its increased production levels throughout the fall with anticipation of additional increases for the upcoming year, the release states.
Rental orders are strong as well, which helps to support the production projections. “With increased production rates,” the release notes, “there is an elevated overall optimism, providing an opportunity to invest towards the future.”
Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor Motor Coach also reports that it:
- Just committed to the largest rear diesel chassis order to date and placed large Ford Class A & C chassis orders as well.
- Has purchased additional lamination equipment and is expanding its lamination facilities.
- Will shut down for only one week for the Christmas holidays.
- Is now utilizing as standard equipment the Cummins ISL 450HP diesel engine in its tag-axle Tuscany motorhomes, including a new 42FK floorplan.
For more information, go to http://ThorMOtorCoach.com.
There were plenty of innovative new RVs on display at RVIA’s 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., and that’s no surprise because tough economic times tend to bring out the best in many companies as they turn up the R&D focus to better compete for market share in a tight market.
Among the most eye-catching were Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC’s starkly different Element travel trailer, Fleetwood RV Inc.’s innovative rear-slide Tioga and Jamboree Class C, Monaco RV LLC’s futuristic Holiday Rambler Trip Class A, Earthbound RV’s chic new travel trailer, Airstream Inc.’s classy Eddie Bauer Edition Airstream, Open Range RV Inc.’s patio-equipped fifth-wheel, Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.’s new high-end Voltage toyhauler and Winnebago Industries Inc.’s redesigned Winnebago Tour/Itasca Ellipse Class A.
But the RVBusiness staff’s unanimous choice for “Best of Show” was Thor Motor Coach’s A.C.E. Class A motorhome.
“In our view, the A.C.E. – an acronym for “Class A & C Evolution” – is a prime example of a post-recessionary motorhome that addresses the changing tastes – and wallets – of American consumers yet retains in the process a degree of style, dignity and even a touch of class,” stated RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg.
Bottom line, the A.C.E., designed on a 16,000-pound GVWR, gas-fueled Ford chassis to combine the best attributes of Class A and C motorhomes, is a sharp-looking, kid-friendly, entry-level coach with full body paint, electric jacks, rear-view camera, kitchen slides, optimal storage, pet-friendly accoutrements and an electric drop-down cockpit bed that retails for under $80,000.
“You’ll see show specials for $69,995,” said Thor Motor Coach President and CEO Bill Fenech, “which will be a great deal for the customer, and the dealer should be very happy with his margin on that. We want our dealers to make money, but we want our customers to be able to get into the coach. They are going to get into it for not much more than a Class C price point.”
“The ACE is a real neat project,” added Fenech. “It started out as an entry-level motorhome. We wanted to get into that price segment even more than we were. We wanted to be aggressive. So, instead of just coming out with a price piece that is just another me-too motorhome, we looked at the market a little differently. We looked at the Class A and Class C markets, and there are some advantages to both products for the buyer. We looked at the two, hence the name A.C.E. – A & C Evolution.”
Floorplan, eye appeal and price are the key ingredients that appeal to the retail buyers, said Fenech, and the A.C.E. was designed with those three priorities in mind.
Consistent with a market that in some cases has consumers looking for smaller vehicles, the A.C.E. is a relatively short 29 feet, 7 inches, in length – shorter than some Class C motorhomes – yet it offers 84-inch headroom.
The cockpit tends to appeal to more of a Class C buyer, with a moderate exterior eyebrow in a front cap that houses an overhead front bunk and smaller windshield with an integrated visor that, according to Fenech, limits distracting direct sunlight and heat. “Women are saying that this doesn’t feel as overwhelming as a big bus,” says Fenech.
In addition, drivers can check out the coach’s passenger side with a uniquely placed floor line window while a large conversation mirror above the driver’s seat affords a good view of the living space.
Storage capacities, on the other hand, lean more toward the traditional Class A, with exterior “mega-storage” including a relatively huge rear curb-side compartment.
Major passenger-side basement storage compartments are located under the patio awning, while noisy heat-generating appliances are located on the driver’s side of the coach away from the activities. Campsite hookups are situated on the driver’s side rear of the coach.
Incorporated in the entry step is a storage drawer and toolbox for keeping tools, gloves and other RV gear without having to track through the coach, and there’s a broom and coat closet at the entry door in addition to a “Motorhome Mud Room” at the main entrance door for dirty shoes and gear.
In the final analysis, however, the fact that the A.C.E. is inordinately pet-friendly – with an “integrated tiedown” for dogs outside plus an inside “Kibble Station” for feeding pets – was the icing on the cake in opting to name Thor’s A.C.E. “Best of Show.”
“We tried to do a price leader coach before,” added Fenech, “but we could never get it right. Everything we put in this coach, we did for a reason. Every single dollar we spent or dollar we took out, we did it for a reason.”
Thor Motor Coach’s innovative A.C.E. motorhome drew crowds of enthusiastic dealers during the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., last week, the company announced in a news release
“There was a non-stop flow of dealers and press from the start of the show until the end, waiting to hear the full story of the A.C.E.” said Dana Simon, general manager of the gas Class A and C division of Thor Motor Coach. “Listening to the input from dealers and paying attention to what the retails customers actually want, our staff put together a truly exciting product that is clearly a hot product that’s a winner in today’s market.”
Bob Green,General RV’s general manager, stated, “Looking at the A.C.E, I have to say, Thor Motor Coach has really captured what the market is asking for and hit a remarkable price point. I have no doubt, with their continued commitment of providing high-value coaches for less, Thor Motor Coach will be successful.”
The “Class A & C Evolution,” or A.C.E., backed up its hype with a story behind its long list of features and benefits while hitting its price point, the release continued. The evolution begins in the cockpit where the windshield and front cap’s integrated visor are designed to help eliminate distracting direct sunlight and heat. The driver will get enhanced vision of the passenger side of the coach with the window on the floor line. The driver also benefits from a well-positioned large conversation mirror above the driver’s seat giving a complete view of the living space.
“The functionality continues with Camp-Sense, the company’s answer to basement storage that properly locates major storage compartments on the passenger side, under the patio awning, keeping it dry and easily accessible on the camp side. A Camp-Zone design centrally places the noisy heat-producing appliances on the driver’s side of the coach away from the activities. Intelligent design can be found with the A.C.E.’s Camper’s Corner that conveniently locates all the campsite hookups to the driver’s side rear of the coach,” the release stated.
The majority of RV owners are pet owners and the A.C.E. introduced a solution to the overwhelming demand for a pet friendly motorhome. “Owners have always had problems finding a good place to attach their pet and often had to resort to using the entry handle as an anchor for their pet’s lease creating a tripping hazard around the entry point of the motorhome, but that will never be an issue with the A.C.E.’s Pet-Link, integrated exterior tie down. The coach also has a Kibble Station, an integrated food bowl that is FDA approved. The paw and claw friendly linoleum is an absolute must have for a successful outing at even the muddiest campground,” the release continued.
“Intelligent design is also found in the extra wide entry door area that hides numerous storage spots, including a Motorhome Mud Room to store dirty shoes and gear. A storage drawer and tool box are incorporated in the entry step which is great for storing tools, gloves and other RV gear without having to track through the coach. Even a well-placed broom and coat closet at the entry door follow the conveniences typically found in a home,” the company stated.
Livable elements are found elsewhere in the EVO29.1 floorplan, including a family-friendly electric overhead bed, pantry storage in the kitchen, dual linen closets in the bathroom area and a dish work station with 12-volt and 110-volt connections. Find more information on the A.C.E. at http://acemotorhome.com.
Bill Fenech, Thor Motor Coach’s President and CEO, said, “At an unbelievable price point the A.C.E. has hit the market with unique industry changing features never seen before. A lot of the excitement comes from common sense innovations that will change our industry. We are incredibly excited for our dealers and retail customers.”
Shares of Thor Industries Inc. moved lower Tuesday (Nov. 30) by 12.22% to $29.53 after posting a first-quarter profit increase that missed estimates. Approximately 2.72 million shares traded with market capitalization of $1.65 billion, EFPR reported.
Net income for the first fiscal quarter climbed 1.3% to $23.7 million or 44 cents per diluted share, compared to $23.4 million or 42 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. The reported net income missed the analysts’ estimate of 54 cents a share driven by heavier discounting.
Sales increased 21% to $606.7 million from $502.6 million in the year-ago quarter. RV sales advanced 30% to $506.56 million from $389.93 million last year, benefiting from the remnants of dealer restocking as well as a significantly easier competitive landscape, with many players going out of business or faltering in recent months, which has led to market share gains for Thor. The recently acquired Heartland RV (late September) added $50 million of towable sales. Bus segment sales of $100.12 million were down from last year’s $112.62 million, with orders related to the 2009 economic stimulus having all but flowed through backlog.
The company’s gross margin declined 130bps year over year to 12.6%. The margin was affected by cautious dealer purchasing during the seasonal slowdown and increased promotional activity as manufacturers appear to be aggressively competing for dealer space.
The company also saw incremental expenses of roughly $8.0 million in the quarter related to its Heartland acquisition, an ongoing SEC investigation, and trademark impairment charges related to the combination of its Thor Motor Coach operations.
Thor Motor Coach announced today (Nov. 29) the “New Era Begins” at the 48th Annual National RV Trade Show, which takes place Tuesday through Thursday at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.
The company will introduce new floorplans, upgraded standard features and an evolutionary product called A.C.E.
The Class A & C Evolution, or A.C.E., is the motorhome with a story. Blurring the line on what traditionally was called a Class A or Class C, the A.C.E. creates a class of its own, according to a news release. This class of motorhome was designed, inspired and dedicated to the retail customer and the demand for a shorter, fuel efficient, ultra functional and affordable motorhome. “It’s truly innovative in design and functionality, and priced for the masses. It is my job to make sure we build motorhomes that function into the future, and the A.C.E. is the motorhome of the future,” said Ann Spratt, vice president of operations at Thor Motor Coach.
Bill Fenech, Thor Motor Coach’s president and CEO, said, “With input from dealers, retail customers and using motorhomes ourselves, we were able to load the A.C.E with several all new innovative features. I believe the A.C.E is the most practical and user friendly motorhome on the market. It truly combines many of the best features of a Class A and a Class C motorhome with some unique features never seen before at an unbelievable price point. This product is so exciting, I can’t wait for dealers to see it.”
Dealers and the media are invited to come early to visit the Thor Motor Coach booth 1101 at Louisville, to get the show started with the most innovative product for the new year.
Keeping the customer in mind, Thor Motor Coach has expanded their already powerful diesel lineup. The Tuscany, a sophisticated combination of high-end living features and elegant automotive design, is now equipped with a 450-HP Cummins Engine standard on all tag models. This addition makes the 42’ Tuscany’s the most affordable 450-HP motorhome on the market. The Tuscany will also introduce the new 42FK floorplan with a front kitchen and L-Shaped sofa.
The Astoria ushers in the dawn of a new era in affordable luxury. Building on the already popular 40KT’s success at the Hershey Show, the new Astoria will add a 40-foot Bunk model to the lineup. The new 40BQ will debut at the 2010 Louisville RV show.
The Serrano, with its European exterior styling and the comfort you have come to expect, introduces the 33A floor plan. The 33A continues the aerodynamic exterior design and fuel efficiency you expect from the Serrano. This innovative floorplan design will include lighted countertops, a retractable 32-inch LCD TV in the Living area, a functional bathroom, with an extra wide sofa and chaise lounge.
On the Class A & C gas front, Thor Motor Coach will introduce several new floorplans and leading-edge features. The Hurricane will introduce the 31J with a queen AeroBed mattress, and drop-down bunk. The electric bunk is kid friendly, and comes complete with wrap-around netting, and electric switch with parental shut off for added piece of mind. The Windsport, has a new 32D floorplan that includes a capable kitchen design with spacious countertops that allow for a practical food prep area. The 2011.5 Challenger has new front caps, freshly upgraded interiors, ingenious floor plans like the 37KT, offering triple zone living. The Daybreak now features premium Toshiba electronics and a new 27PD floorplan. The Four Winds and Chateau will introduce a new 28Z floorplan, designed with retail and rental customers in mind.
Bill Fenech, president and CEO of Thor Motor Coach, and Matt Thompson, vice president of diesel sales, along with several other Thor Motor Coach employees and a few friends and family, met with four Marines out on a training exercise at the Elkhart Municipal Airport this week, the company reported in a news release.
The mission was simple: break bread, give thanks and allow Thor Motor Coach engineer Del Littrell to visit with his son, Marine A.J. Littrell.
The Marine crew, stationed in Johnstown, Pa., flew into Elkhart’s airport in their Bell UH-1N Huey. Marine Gunnery Sgt. A.J. Littrell has served for 15 years and was accompanied by Staff Sgt. John Lastinger (eight years), Lt. Colonel Charles Watkins (21 years), and their pilot Capt. P. Byrd (15 years).
Gunnery Sgt. A.J. Littrell has over 1,000 hours as a flying crew chief and door gunner. In eight years Littrell has had seven combat tours in the Middle East. His wife, who is also a gunnery sergeant, has three combat tours in the Middle East. A.J.’s father, Del Littrell, also served his country 40 years ago in the Vietnam War, and has another son and son-in-law in the military.
After a brief tour and photo shoot, the crew was transported to a local restaurant in a 2011 42RQ Tuscany for lunch and fellowship. “Thor Motor Coach is humbled by these men, we honor them for making the choice to serve our country, and feel proud to know them,” the release concluded.
You can find more photos here: http://thormotorcoach.com/news.php?id=7.