Motorhome manufacturers Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International Corp. will operate as separate Thor Industries Inc. subsidiaries even though they will share some support functions and Damon President Bill Fenech will lead the new unofficial Thor Motorhomes division.
”We still need to keep separate products in the marketplace,” said Fenech who will serve as president of both companies. ”Technically, there is no such thing as Thor Motorhomes. There is Damon and there is Four Winds. Both are still very independent companies. All we are (at Thor Motorhomes) is support for those two companies.”
With Fenech, 41, at the helm, Damon will be led by Matt Thompson, who has been appointed vice president and general manager, while Four Winds will be overseen by Dana Simon, who carries the same titles. Previously president of Damon, Fenech added the title of Four Winds president with the recent resignation of Jeff Kime.
”I believe in ‘flat” organizations,” Fenech told RVBusiness. ”I know how to keep stuff separate. I won’t let one company copy off the other just because.”
To avoid duplication within the ”motorhome division,” the two companies will share some corporate functions including general counsel, finance, information technologies, human resources and parts and service, Fenech said.
”Does the (retail) customer care about how we pay our bills or handle our personnel or who our attorney is?’ Fenech said. ‘I don’t think so.”
Sales, product development, engineering, design, purchase and quality assurance will remain separate functions. The Mandalay Luxury Division will continue to operate as Four Winds’ diesel pusher division, according to Fenech, but ”will have to live and die on its own. That doesn’t change a bit.”
”They have similar products and similar markets, but one company sees it one way and one company sees it another way,” Fenech said. ”At the end of the day, there are different cultural circumstances in each company.”
Four Winds, he noted, will continue to manufacture Class C motorhomes, where it has a strong presence in the RV rental market where Damon does not have a presence, after abandoning development last year of the Del Ray minimotorhome.
”If Damon says they need to be in the Class C business and they can be profitable, they will be able to do it,” Fenech said. ”I have to keep the two companies unique becuase at the end of the day, we need a strong Thor.”