The RV world has a collection of large companies that own many smaller brands within the community.
Thor, for example, owns over ten different RV brands which are sold under its umbrella.
This can end up putting the entire control of RV distribution and sales in the hands of one enterprise.
In this article, we will discuss these mini-monopolies and shed light on exactly which RV brands own who:
What RV Brands Does Thor Own?
One of the biggest giants in the RV industry is Thor Industries, Inc.
This Elkhart, Indiana staple of RV manufacturing owns or oversees over seven different RV brands and hundreds of different models and their floorplans. Their list of RV subsidiaries is probably the longest in this article and contains many of your household favorites.
Here is a list of the brands that Thor industries currently owns:
- Heartland RV
- Starcraft (owned by Jayco before they purchased Jayco)
- Keystone RV
- Thor Motor Coach (a consolidation of Four Winds International & Damon Motor Coach)
- Crossroads RV
- Redwood RV (a subsidiary of Crossroads RV)
- Postle Aluminum (An aluminum manufacturer)
- Tiffin (most recently purchased in 2020)
Arguably a monopoly in the RV market, Thor has now purchased and holds rights to nearly all of the major brands and their subsidiaries that exist within the industry. When you go on their website you see that they host most of the brands that they own and their floorplans, giving links to the brands’ official websites and ways to purchase their many different products.
At first, Thor wasn’t even an RV manufacturer. Beginning in 1980 when Thor first acquired Airstream, thereby laying the foundation for its future success, this RV giant has since become one of the largest and most popular umbrella companies for RV manufacturing in the world.
They first purchased Airstream as a way to capitalize on an already successful RV product and market, giving them the ability to grow quickly and help the company thrive.
In the 90s and mid-2000s, Thor purchased many of their other more popular brands, such as Dutchmen, Four Winds International, Keystone, and Damon Motor Coach.
Their most recent acquisitions of Jayco and Hymer (their first international purchase and the largest in the company’s history) happened between 2016 and 2018.
Finally, Thor has added another jewel to its crown after purchasing the luxury RV manufacturer, Tiffin Motorhomes for about $300 million in 2020.
What RV Brands Does Winnebago Own?
Another classic favorite, Winnebago Industries owns three brands in addition to its own.
Founded in 1958 and kicking off its successes in the 1960s, Winnebago has grown to be one of the most established and well-known RV brands out there. It began by selling its products for half of the competitors’ models which made it popular among the middle class at the time, giving it the feel of an “everyman’s” RV.
This boomed the sales of the Winnebago and its popularity at the time.
The brands owned by Winnebago are:
- Grand Design RV
Still considered to be the most pop-culturally referenced RV out there, Winnebago has been able to keep itself in the public eye and spotlight of the camping and recreational vehicle industry.
What RV Brands Does Berkshire Hathaway Own?
What is tricky about Berkshire Hathaway is that it acquired Forest River, Inc. back in 2005.
As it turns out, the owner of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, received a fax from the owner of Forest River (Pete Liegl), basically stating that Forest River met all the criteria of Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition requirements. It took barely three months before a deal was made and the company was sold off to Berkshire Hathaway on August 31st, 2005.
Technically, this is the only RV brand that Berkshire Hathaway owns as a parent company. However, Forest River had owned and still owns other RV brands since the acquisition as well.
This means that Berkshire Hathaway, as a parent company, has some level of ownership over those many brands owned by Forest River.
Therefore, we have decided to list those brands below in our next section, discussing the history of Forest River, its sale to Berkshire Hathaway in 2005, and the brands that it owns:
What RV Brands Does Forest River Own?
Forest River is another well-known brand that has had its feet in the United States RV industry waters since 1996.
First founded by Peter Liegl and owned by him and his family until 2005 when it was purchased by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, Forest River has done quite a lot during its operation.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Forest River expanded its products from travel trailers, tent campers, fifth wheels, and park models to pontoon boats, cargo utility trailers, and even buses after their acquisition of Starcraft Bus and Glaval Bus.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the RV brands (and a few others) that Forest River currently owns:
- Coachmen RV
- Dynamax Corporation
- East To West travel trailers
- Forest River RV
- Prime Time Manufacturing
- Shasta RV
- US Cargo
- Elkhart Coach
- Berkshire Coach
- Champion Bus
- ElDorado Motor Corp.
This nearly puts them on par with Thor Industries when it comes to the sheer volume of their reach across the country’s RV brands and companies.
However, US Cargo, Elkhart Coach, Berkshire Coach, Champion Bus & ElDorado Motor Corp. are considered Buses and Cargo Trailers, not necessarily RVs.
What RV Brands Does REV Group Own?
Our final brand is under the REV Group (formerly Allied Speciality Vehicles) name.
In 2010, Allied Specialty Vehicles was created out of a massive company merger of four companies:
- Collins Industries
- Halcore Group
- Fleetwood Enterprises
Allied Speciality Vehicles changed its name five years later in 2015 to REV Group.
Currently, the company is a major umbrella for buses, fire and emergency vehicles, recreational vehicles (which we will list here) and capacity trucks, street sweepers and molded fiberglass manufacturing.
The RV brands that are currently under the REV group umbrella are:
- American Coach
- Fleetwood Enterprises
- Monaco Coach
- holiday Rambler
- Renegade RV
- Midwest Automotive Designs
- Lance Camper
This means that the REV group has product lines from Class A luxury Motorhomes down to truck-bed campers and travel trailers.
Their extensive reach throughout the RV industry may not be as large as Thor or Forest River, but it is just as significant.
It is difficult these days to find an RV brand that isn’t owned or a subsidiary of one of these major RV brands that we’ve listed above.
There aren’t many big-name RV brands out there that are independent or stand on their own without ownership or support of Thor, Forest River, REV Group, or Berkshire Hathaway.
This monopoly of RV brands is a huge reason why the manufacturing and distribution of most United States RVs are pretty similar and are held to the same standards across the board.
It also means that new and small independent RV manufacturers may never get off the ground in the same way.