|Wade F. B. Thompson (left)
and Peter B. Orthwein (right)
Thor Industries was founded in 1980 by Wade Thompson and Peter Orthwein with the purchase of Airstream. Thor Industries went public in 1984 and since that time, Thor has grown both organically and through strategic acquisitions in both recreational vehicles (RVs) and buses, though the Company divested its bus business in 2013 to focus on its core RV business. Today Thor is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent one of the world’s largest manufacturers of RVs.
Over the years Thor has received many honors for its growth and management success. In January, 2000, Forbes included Thor in its Platinum 400 list, and in April, 2004, Thor was added to Standard & Poor's Mid-Cap 400. Also in 2004, Forbes declared Thor to be one of the "Best Managed Companies in America." In 2005, Fortune called Thor one of "America's Most Admired Companies," and Industry Week ranked Thor as one of the fifty best U. S. manufacturers from 2005-2008 and again in 2013. Thor was ranked 636 on the "Fortune 1000" list in 2014, with an industry rank of 17th among Motor Vehicles and Parts companies. Thor has become one of the most admired and respected companies, not only in the RV industry, but in American business as well.
Throughout its history, Thor has been known in the industry for the strength of its leadership team. After the passing of Wade Thompson in 2009, Peter Orthwein assumed the role of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Thor until 2013 when Board and Senior Management implemented a succession plan. Bob Martin, a long-time veteran from the Keystone subsidiary was named President and Chief Executive officer, while Mr. Orthwein became Executive Chairman of the Board. Today Thor’s Senior Management team includes Peter B. Orthwein, Executive Chairman of the Board; Bob Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer; Colleen Zuhl, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; W. Todd Woelfer, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary; and Kenneth Julian, Vice President of Human Resources.
August 29, 1980 - Thor Industries, Inc. was founded
Thor Industries, Inc. was founded on August 29, 1980, when Wade F. B. Thompson and Peter B. Orthwein acquired Airstream, the most recognized name in the industry. Despite its venerable image, Airstream had not fared well during the economic downturn of the late 1970s. By focusing on improving quality while reducing costs, Airstream returned to profitability in its very first year under the new Thor management.
1982 - Thor purchases General Coach
By 1982, Thor was strong enough to purchase the Canadian company General Coach, a manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
1984 - Thor becomes a publicly traded company
In 1984, Thor became a public company listed on the over-the-counter market. In 1986, Thor was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That same year, Forbes Magazine ranked Thor sixth out of the "200 best small companies in America."
1988 - Thor enters the small and mid-size bus industry
In 1988, Thor entered the small and mid-size bus industry with the acquisition of ElDorado Bus. In 1991, National Coach was purchased and the two companies operated under the ElDorado National trademark, with plants in California and Kansas.
1991 - Thor acquires Dutchmen Manufacturing
In 1991, Thor acquired Dutchmen Manufacturing, now one of the leading brands of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
1992 - Thor acquires Four Winds International
Four Winds International, a manufacturer of Class A and Class C motorhomes, was acquired in 1992.
1995 - Thor acquires Komfort Corporation
Komfort Corporation, a builder of travel trailers and fifth wheels, became part of the growing Thor family in 1995.
1996 - Start Up of Thor California
Thor California was a start-up in 1996, which became one of the most successful RV start-ups.
1998 - Thor acquires Champion Bus
In 1998, Thor solidified its leadership in the bus industry with the acquisition of Champion Bus.
2001 - Thor joins forces with Keystone RV
When Thor acquired Keystone RV in 2001, the company achieved an unprecedented dominance within the RV industry.
2003 - Thor acquires Damon
In 2003, Thor acquired Damon, a manufacturer of Class A motorhomes, raising its profile in the growing motorized RV market. In that same year, Thor acquired Breckenridge, builder of park trailers.
2004 - Thor joins forces with Crossroads RV
With the addition of Crossroads RV in 2004, Thor solidified its industry leading position in towable RVs.
2005 - Thor acquires Goshen Coach
In 2005, Thor acquired Goshen Coach to round out its holdings in the small and mid-sized bus industry.
2010 - Thor acquires SJC Industries, Inc.
In March 2010, Thor acquired SJC Industries, Inc., the second largest ambulance manufacturer in the United States.
2010 - Thor acquires Heartland RV Company
In September 2010, Thor made its largest acquisition to date when it purchased Heartland RV Company, further cementing its companies’ combined position as the world's largest producer of towable RVs.
2012 - Thor acquires Krystal Infinity, LLC, and bus operation assets of Federal Coach
In 2012, Thor made two strategic acquisitions in the luxury bus market when it acquired Krystal Infinity, LLC., dba Krystal Enterprises in September, and the bus operation assets of Federal Coach in December. Both purchases have enabled Thor to expand its bus business into the luxury coach market.
2013 - Thor subsidiary acquires Wakarusa RV production campus
In 2013, Thor's subsidiary, Thor Wakarusa, LLC, purchased the RV production campus in Wakarusa, Indiana that was formerly operated by Navistar International Corporation. The facilities are comprised of nearly one million square feet of total production space located on more than 150 acres. In addition to the production space, the complex includes more than 35 paint booths designed specifically for painting RVs. The campus was purchased to support the ongoing growth of Thor's businesses.
2013 - Thor subsidiary acquires the assets of Livin' Lite
In 2013, Thor acquired the assets of innovative RV maker Livin' Lite through a wholly-owned subsidiary. Livin' Lite is known for its advanced lightweight aluminum construction applied to a variety of smaller RVs, including travel trailers, toy haulers, camping trailers and truck campers.
2013 - Thor exits bus business
In 2013, Thor exited the bus industry when it sold its bus business to Allied Specialty Vehicles. Thor's bus business included Champion Bus, Inc., General Coach America, Inc., Goshen Coach, Inc., El Dorado National (California), Inc., and El Dorado National (Kansas), Inc., which combined represent one of the largest producers of transit and shuttle buses in North America with bus segment sales of approximately $450 million for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
2013 - Thor acquires net assets specialty trailer manufacturer Bison Coach
In 2013, Thor acquired the net assets specialty trailer manufacturer Bison Coach through a wholly-owned subsidiary. Founded in 1984, Milford, Indiana-based Bison is known for its rugged, high-quality and affordable specialty trailers. In 2003, Bison began adding living quarter conversions to their production process resulting in the development of a complete line of equine trailers with living quarters.
2014 - Thor acquires K-Z, Inc.
In 2014, Thor acquired K-Z, Inc. a leading manufacturer and marketer of towable recreational vehicles that offers unmatched quality and value to consumers in North America. K-Z markets a comprehensive product line, which includes travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers.
2015 - Thor subsidiary Heartland acquires Cruiser RV and DRV Luxury Suites
In January 2015, Thor announced that its Heartland subsidiary acquired towable RV maker Cruiser RV (CRV) and luxury fifth wheel maker DRV Luxury Suites, both based in Howe, Indiana.