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Old 11-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #1
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Thor CEO On Future Trends

Another interesting interview with Thor CEO Bob Martin, this time by Forbes. It covers his personal history and experiences RVing and also his thoughts on business trends, and how Thor determines what customers want.

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On where industry is trending and what he sees as important to customers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forbes
BM: The ten-year perspective, thatís a stretch. For us, weíre watching trends right now to smaller units, be it smaller travel trailers or smaller Class Cs and As. For us, the Class A, like the Thor Gemini, is one of the fastest growing segments right now. On the travel trailer side, itís the entry-level travel trailer. Part of it is weight and cost for the travel trailer. The motorhome, itís length, itís height, itís cost and itís also fuel efficiency.
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:17 PM   #2
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On related subject of Class As versus Cs: Numbers are very close, although during previous year Cs have taken a slight lead. Data shows a slight shift to Cs and Bs.
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:08 PM   #3
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Too bad one of the Trends isn't for him to read these Forums.
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by martinek.steve View Post
Too bad one of the Trends isn't for him to read these Forums.
I did pick up on the fact that he didn't mention quality -- at least in the context of improving it, which is one thing that comes up here often. And if there is pressure to lower costs, that's likely to affect quality in my opinion.

I'm encouraged though by his mention that buyers want fuel economy and "height", although I'm not sure if he meant greater interior ceiling height or if he meant smaller motorhomes with lower profiles.

I hope it's the lower profile since he was talking about size and fuel economy. A lower profile would also help tremendously with improved handling and safety.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:09 PM   #5
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As has been going around here, the issue of Quality and Cost, to many is counter-intuitive. In reality, in the long term, improved quality would result in cost reductions and improved customer loyalty. It's really a win / win.
  • How much does it cost for THOR to have coaches in their Service Center, where an appointment can be a 2 month wait ?
  • What is the labor cost of a Service Center Tech vs. a line person ?
  • What are the material cost in making the repairs under warranty ? Non-warranty work is $100 per hour.
  • And then, add to that the cost of the loss of customers based on a bad experience with THOR products ?
Some of us have mentioned Deming (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming) here. It's not a new concept, just one that, unfortunately, some industries in the US still resist. If you try to get a job in the Automotive industry, much of what is now referred to as "Lean Manufacturing" (Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System) stems from Deming and how the Japanese took to heart his teachings and made the US Auto industry improve, kicking and screaming, just so they could stay in business. It took some, in the Auto business, till about 2010 to realize that they just couldn't shovel crap anymore.

At Motorola, when it was a company that many looked to, it was called 6 sigma.

One of the 1st things you learn is that the "don't give a crap" attitude stems from the top. This is not something you do by just giving it lip service.

But I'm doing reruns. And as long as, we, the Customers don't put the heat on THOR, there will never be a change.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:44 PM   #6
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Thor CEO's prediction that there was an industry trend towards smaller RVs was apparently correct. In motorhome segment, Class Cs are approaching almost twice the shipment volume of Class As (180% in April), and Class Bs percent growth continue faster than both -- granted "B" numbers are still low by comparison but becoming more significant. Less than two years ago Class As and Cs sold equally. That's a huge shift in a short period.


RVIA Wholesale Shipments | RV Business


I'm still curious to know if this change in buying preferences is being driven by lower costs or other factors like easier to drive or greater convenience. The thread about towing versus renting a car (once at destination) highlights that smaller motorhomes offer certain travel freedom and simplicity that's hard to duplicate with larger rigs. Obviously, limited living space isn't for everyone.
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