Kurt Verlin
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Hymer USA to Bring European Campers to the US

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Bob Martin & Martin Brandt by Hymer RV
Bob Martin (left) and Martin Brandt
Photo: Erwin Hymer Group

In 2019, Indiana-based Thor Industries acquired German-based Erwin Hymer Group, in the process creating the largest RV manufacturing group in the world. More recently, Thor announced it created Hymer USA, a new subsidiary that could be the key to finally bringing Hymer’s popular and practical van conversions to the United States.

Compared to their American counterparts, European recreational vehicles are typically compact and reasonably priced. But in the past, whenever one would ask if one of Hymer’s RVs would be available in the U.S., the answer was a resounding “no.” That finally seems about to change.

“Delivering to the North American market the innovation, design and quality for which the Hymer brand is known will benefit consumers and dealers, further enhance Thor’s leadership position within the market and will provide strong long-term value to our investors,” said Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries.

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It’s not the first time Hymer has tried to get a foothold in the U.S. In 2016, it purchased the Canada-based Roadtrek and formed Hymer North America, introducing small, pop-top camper vans such as the Carado Axion and Atkiv 2.0. However, the market was unreceptive and this, coupled with financial improprieties uncovered during Thor’s acquisition of the company last year, led to the North American branch being severed from the corporation.

Hymer will thus have a second go at capturing North American buyers, and Thor is taking it seriously. The RV company will invest approximately $8 to $10 million to renovate an existing facility to serve as Hymer USA’s base of operations. Though neither Thor nor Hymer volunteered information about the types of products they would offer, they clearly see a lot of room for smaller, more convenient recreational vehicles in America.

“We see growing potential for [the camper van] product category in North America,” Martin said. “Last year, the camper community there grew by 1.4 million households — 56 percent of which are millennials. These new participants are often returning to the roots of campervanning and prefer a lifestyle that involves less effort while offering more adventure and experiential quality.”

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