The recent news surrounding the acquisition of Jayco Inc. by Thor Industries has been nothing but positive. While there is always some apprehension around such a significant sale – both internally and externally – RV consumers and dealers should expect a “business as usual” and positive approach for both the short and long terms.
Thor Industries – the parent company of more than a dozen RV subsiduaries –purchased Jayco Inc. for $576 million in a cash deal that includes the acquisition of Jayco, Starcraft RV, Highland Ridge and Entegra Coach. According to Thor Industries, Jayco Inc. will operate as its own entity with no changes to its executive management or to its long-standing focus to consumers and its 800-plus dealer base. The sale was announced July 1.
“With Thor Industries, we will certainly continue to develop new products and stand behind the quality of our model lines as we have for the past 48 of years of being an independently family-owned company,” Derald Bontrager, President and CEO of Jayco Inc. said to RVlife.com. “Consumers should have tremendous confidence with this acquisition. It will be a seamless process for them – as well as for our internal people and dealers – and we are continuing on with the same philosophy, values, and quality of product.”
Following the acquisition, it was reported that Jayco Inc. generated an impressive $1.5 billion throughout 2015 and was considered the largest privately-owned RV company in the world. According to Thor Industries, one of the key benefits of the acquisition is the strengthening of Jayco Inc.`s company resources and the addition of many competitive brands to Thor Industries` RV portfolio. This includes Jayco Inc.’s travel trailers, folding camping trailers, plus Class A and Class C motorhomes. As a result, consumers and dealers can expect continued efforts for the company to be aggressive in the RV marketplace.
“Our goal is simple,” adds Thor Industries’ CEO, Bob Martin. “Jayco Inc. will continue to operate and manage the company the same way they have done for years and warranties and service will remain the same. We are not coming in to change everything. I think people are expecting that and that`s not going to happen. It would be foolish of us to change the great ways they do business or change up the management. When we buy a successful company we add to its success. ”
Jayco Inc. will Keep Meeting Market Trends
Following the acquisition, Thor Industries`subsidiaries account for approximately 47 percent of retail registrations in North America, making it one of the largest companies on the RV landscape.
“We strive to be the best, not the biggest,” said Martin. “We have enjoyed a lot of organic growth since the downturn in 2008 and with this purchase, it wasn`t about becoming the biggest. We don’t think that way. It was really about the opportunity. Jayco is a great company and we are adding some very popular brands to Thor Industries, and like all of our subsidiaries they work hard to be the top brands in their segments.”
With a keen eye to the future, the Bontragers will stay at the helm of Jayco Inc. steering the company forward and recognizing bigger and better things that are to come for the RV industry in North America and beyond.
“I see the RV market continuing to be very strong in the U.S. and Canada and Jayco will keep meeting market trends. We will also grow and compete like we have done in the past,” said Bontrager. “We are very excited about this and it will be a seamless transition not only for everyone involved, but for all of our customers as well.”
Thor Industries’ Operations Now Include:
Tom Brennan says
You people are shameless homers. This article isn’t analysis, it’s toadying.
Steve Fennell says
Thanks for reaching out to us. As stated in the story, Jayco Inc. has some 800-plus dealers, thousands of owners across North America and a series of company model lines. With an acquisition as significant as this, the direction of Jayco Inc certainly deserves coverage as it concerns a lot people (and what it means to them). While it is a positive story (which is a good thing) it simply reflects what the facts were and what the two Chief Executives explained to us. It was a positive move for both companies and its customers…with many advantages.
Tom Brennan says
Thanks for printing my contrary expression.
John Merriman says
First Jayco and Entegra, now Tiffin were bought by the Quality Giant, Thor. 🙄 The Bontragers built nice products and stood behind them. Bob Tiffin built a good product and he stood behind his products. Thor could care less about quality or the customers. I learned the hard way after buying a slightly used Thor product that apparently the original owner was dumping because it was falling apart and he could get no help from Thor. I figured it couldn’t be all that bad and I’m pretty handy and felt I could take care of the problems. Ooops, I messed up. Now, the same thing will probably happen to Tiffin’s as Thor will quickly make Tiffin another one of their eco- engineered products. It’s all about the dollar to Thor. Not quality or the customers…just dollars. Get used to it. It’s a shame. I used to be in the TV business and the quality coming out of many factories today is bad. Yes, there are new more modern amenities but the build quality and component quality is not good. Rving is great. But if all you get is “heartburn” from owning an rv, why bother spending the big bucks? And it seems a RV park that is any good is so expensive, that by time you factor in the cost of the RV, your maintenance costs, fuel and the campground costs, you could have stayed at the Ritz.
my comment is why did Thor Build a 10,000# Smaller Class A on a 1 ton E350 Van Chassis, I find this a lot of weight for this light duty Chassis?
J. King says
So, in light of this expansion, are the rumors about Airstream buying a fiberglass trailer manufacturer true?
Steve Fennell says
Hi Mr. King,
Yes they are true. The line is called Nest Caravans. You can see some details by visiting the company at http://www.airstream.com/nest/
Also, we will be doing a more in depth story on this soon, so be sure to check back for details.
Thanks for your interest.
Paul Myhre says
I don’t view this as a positive for the consumer. It reduces competition as Thor gets a larger share of industry pie. I currently own a Thor/Dutchmen product. The merger with Keystone didn’t improve the quality of the Dutchmen – or there customer service -and I sure hope the poor build quality doesn’t end up trickling over to Jayco. I was going to purchase a Jayco North Point and now will seriously reconsider that move.
It’s my understanding that Thor is a holding company and allows each subsidiary to operate independently . That being said, what Thor provides their subsidiaries is easier access to capital so they can expand their factories, make their own acquisitions and survive through tough times. I would not base my decision to buy (or not) a certain product from any of their subsidiaries based on what the parent company is doing. That would be like saying I’m not going to buy a Jeep because Alpha Romeo’s have had customer service issues or I won’t buy a Chevy because my Cadillac had lots of issues.
I agree with your theory, Andy. Nor, would I purchase an Airstream, Starcraft, Cruiser, Keystone, etc. because of Jayco’s lack of responsibility to fix a problem they started at their factory. That wouldn’t be the normal thinking of any consumer. I do believe someone at Thor should be aware of how one of their children operate when following through with a two-year bumper to bumper… best in the industry warranty to one of its long term customers. Would you invest moneys and assets in a company that is going to loose customers and sales because of their inapt to follow through with their policies? I for one, would not or I would see to it someone at Jayco understands who the new parent is. These things contribute, most certainly, to hard times in a company structure. Look at the whole picture. I do.
C LaFountain says
Maybe Thor should look at Jayco a little closer. They sell, but don’t back up the warranty. Going on 4 months with nothing being done and only back and forth phone calls to Jayco. One dealer refused to handle the fix, the entire floor needs to be replaced on a 2016 unit after only 6 weeks of camping, and now trying not only to get a dealer to fix, but to get Jayco to respond with parts and/okay warranty the floor has been a nightmare. Are we going to be without a camper for the season? We have yet to find out! Unfortunately we don’t know who to call next…
Albert Cerf says
It is a good thing that Thor is leaving Jayco alone. Because if there customer service became anything like keystone’s, it wouldn’t take long before Jayco would have a bad reputation like many of the other Thor subsidiaries.
Kevin Rustausky says
My experience with Jayco is second to none ! Case in point ! Bought a Jayco class c , Loved it but had some serious problems with it .We notified Jayco with only fifteen days warranty left. We were then were instructed to take it to camping world , they made the leak repair to the leaking side wall and did a great job Picked up the motor home and brought home, this was in the late spring so I decided it was time for a full wash down, got on the roof and found a dip in the roof🤔called camping world back and they request I return it, we did, they called back and said the factory would like to fly a driver down to drive it back ,They did that promptly , about a week w ent by and Jennifer Bontrager called me and was very gracious and very helpful , she told be we had several other leaks in our motor home and it was there fault . As the unit was now way out of warranty they were still going to cover it , great I said , she said the only problem is it would take several months to repair the damage we were fine with that👍After several other conversations Jennifer said that corporate would be calling to ask some questions, after more pleasant conversations They said that they were going to build us a brand new 2018 class C they also said we could have anyone from our 31 ft class C on down if we wanted to change models or trade up for an additional charge, We opted to stay with the same model. So as the story unfolds we asked to pay for up grades to the unit, and we would pay for them about 6 different ones they said no we can’t , ok I said no problem! Well about 4 months later we were notified it was ready, they were willing to deliver it were ever we wanted wow! We asked them if we could come to the factory and pick it; They said they would be delighted to have us and we could stay in there rv park while we changed every thing from one motor home to he other . upon arrival we met with Bob Harland of Jayco and took us to our new motor home which was beside the other as we went to see it all the upgrades we asked for, they were all installed and free of charge, after lunch we got a factory tour and they explained how they made the mistakes on the old motor home and how they corrected them , So with that being said Jayco took care of all the paper work, filled with fuel ⛽️ and we were on our way, So with all the horror stories you hear about manufactures this was not one of them , We love ❤️ our new class c and this is a true story Thank you Jayco best warranty in the business
Paul myhre says
I see your point and it is valid however only time will tell what actually happens. Typically various people at all levels move between companies and bring “their” policies and practices with them.
Less competition is never a good thing for the end consumer.
Albert Cerf says
I am glad to see that Thor is staying out of Jayco’s hair! They have a bad habit of turning a good products into junk! They are more interested in the bottom line, then building a long lasting quality product!
Jimmy crumpler says
I don’t agree that’s positive for Jayco owners and for the RV industry. I want to cancel how I get this
Marla Bumgardner says
Buying a travel trailer or RV is a big decision with a big price tag. It’s a pain in the butt because the prices vary from one dealer to next. I will say I was looking at Thor Rv but will NOT purchase becuz I see reviews of badly made product….back to Jayco where I have had better service. Try Terrell’s in Sherrills Ford NC. Honest people! Stand behind the product.
I purchased a Thor ruv and it turned out to be a lemon. After one and a half years of dealing with Thor and their attorneys and ever changing tactics and shenanigans, they are finally settling with me. My question is, if I buy a Jayco rv and it turns out to be a lemon also, will I be dealing with the same Thor representatives and attorneys?
Bluebird Bob says
My wife and I looked at a Jayco years ago because the wife liked the layout.
Did my due diligence and saw how Thor and Jayco made their products.
Went out and bought a Bluebird Wanderlodge 12 years ago and haven’t had a SINGLE problem with it. We updated some of the mechanicals, but not because we have to.
We ran an RV park in Arizona for 6 years and saw the Thor and Jayco products and now Airstream crap that came into the park.
Will people ever learn?
Larry Todd says
Jayco is JUNK…visited Johnny Walker RV in Vegas Nov 2018…viewed 3 BRAND NEW class c units…all 3 had more issues than my 2006 Tioga class c..(.flooring had wrinkles ,cabinets painted black with un-sanded areas and poor fitting,,wall paper seams loose,overhead bed plywood ruff exposed edges,screws loose inside storage area,.right out of the factory!!) Johhny JR said no problem all is fixable..I said WTF??? where is the quality control people at the factory!! Thor please wake up your new child.
And it’s not just Thor and their children. Winnebago is also going done this path and now have a new bouncing baby Grand Design! And we don’t even want to talk about Camping World, or do we? Where does it end? The RV industry is not a good investment. With all the buy outs, less competition is not good for consumer pricing. It’s fun to be outdoors and camp with yogi, but when the problems/cost out weight the benefits, it’s time to leave the market, and fast!
Speaking of Winnie, I just read a week or so ago that they have just added Newmar to their stable. I was thinking when I read that, that at least they weren’t bought out by Thor. Lesser of 2 evils, possibly?
J King says
We have had 3 Entegra Cornerstones over the years and any problems, which any coach will have were taken care of. Most problems were minor and parts were sent and I was able to make repairs. We attended Entegra coach in the past and they inspected the entire coach. My last coach needed a new radiator and chassis builder Spartan took care of the problem and handled all costs and appointments with the truck repair facility.
Ken Parker says
Its really a shame there is no shortage of bad reviews on all RVs. A lot of people get one shot at affording a RV and get stuck with a piece of junk. I tell my friends that are interested in the RV fun life if you can do without it stay that way. Another option is enjoying the RV life through someone else depreciation. Buy one 10 years old for 30 to 40% of the original value and modify, you will be much happier in the end.