Elkhart-based Heartland RV buying Howe competitor Cruiser RV, DRV

By:  Webmaster

11th Oct, 15

Elkhart-based recreational vehicle maker Heartland RV has acquired Howe-based competitors Cruiser RV and DRV, Heartland parent company Thor Industries announced Monday, Jan. 5.
Cruiser RV and DRV make travel trailers and fifth-wheels, and posted combined sales of about $135 million last year. Thor has paid about $47.4 million in cash for the companies, it said in a news release. Cruiser RV/DRV, which employs about 300, was owned by founder David Fought, his son, Jeff Fought, the Sidnaw Corp., and six other individuals.

Although CRV and DRV were founded in 2002, Fought has been making RVs since 1988. He worked his way up to the executive level at Starcraft, before venturing out on his own when that company was acquired by Jayco in the early 1990s. Fought and some partners founded SunnyBrook RV, selling it in the late 1990s before he launched DRV and then bought Cruiser RV.

Thor is the nation's largest RV manufacturer. On its website, Cruiser RV touts its "total focus on lightweight, laminated travel trailers versus the corporate giants that try to cover all ends of the market" ... and says it is "no longer a small start-up company, but it's not a mega-company either."

But in the Thor release, Fought says, "We are excited about teaming up with such strong financial partners as Thor and Heartland. They share our vision for continuing to provide our dealers and consumers with great products and reliable service. This transition offers us great potential to grow our businesses."