Marine & RVs

This RV Brand Owns Almost Every RV and Camper Model You Can Buy

There are so many RV and camper models you can buy on the market. There are names like Keystone and Jayco. Then you have others like Airstream and Dutchmen. How do these differ? In fact, they all have one major thing in common. Each of these RV and camper models is owned by one large conglomerate brand.

You’ve probably heard of the Thor brand in the RV world if you’ve shopped around at all. However, you may not have known that the Thor name envelopes a very long list of prominent RV and camper models you can buy. Because a primary owner could have an impact on the quality and manufacturing of any given model for campers or RVs, it’s probably wise to know how Thor ownership affects the models under its umbrella.

It began with Airstream

According to their website, Thor Industries began in 1980 when it acquired the prominent Airstream name. Though Airstream campers where highly popular and widely known, the company didn’t do well when the economy took a dip. At that point in time, Wade F.B. Thompson and Peter B. Orthwein founded Thor Industries. The official day of founding is August 29, 1980.

Upon staking its claim on Airstream, Thor Industries RV and camper company grew. The investment group ultimately came to own nearly every RV and Camper model you can buy. Well, a vast majority of them at least.

An Airstream travel trailer with a solar panel kit
An Airstream travel trailer | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

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According to the Thor Industries Wikipedia page, between 1980 and 1987 the brand gained not only Airstream. Thor Industries acquired a list of RV and camper model interests as the group forged its way to the public marketplace. Already in ownership of Hi-Lo Trailer Company when Thor acquired Airstream, the brand then bought Canada-based General Coach and McPheters Machine Products, a motorhome manufacturing company.

vintage Airstream RV and Camper model trailer parked on the grass at an event
vinage Airstream trailer | Airstream

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How did Thor Industries get its name?

The name ‘Thor’ is a prominent name in Norse mythology. However, this son of Odin has little to do with the name of this massive RV brand. In fact, the name of the company comes from the names of the founders. Wade Thompson and Peter Orthwein put the first two letters of their names together. ‘TH’ from Thompson and ‘OR’ from Orthwein. These came together to create the name ‘Thor’ for Thor Industries.

As the group acquired more of the RV and camper models you can buy, they decided that the public marketplace is where the brand needed to be. In 1986, the company listed the brand on the New York Stock Exchange. The group is represented under the sticker name ‘THO.’

A white RV camper owned by Thor industries
Thor Motor Coach’s Chateau RV Model | Thor Motor Coach

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Is Thor a good RV brand?

The Thor name owns prominent names in the industry. Of these, Airstream, Heartland RV, Hymer, Dutchmen, Jayco, Keystone RV, an Thor Motor Coach. Discussions like the one here on this RV forum claim that the broad ownership gives each Brand a wider range in quality and that due diligence and research of the specific model you are interested in is always necessary.

However, this brand formation with ownership of many RV and camper models you can buy does mean that with owning some of the best, the company also probably owns a few of the worst. For instance, Thor Industries manufactures the Thor Hurricane. This RV model gets very poor reviews and feedback and it’s considered one of the worst on the market. Overall, each model is different.