Thor CEO Bob Martin and Martin Brandt, CEO Erwin Hymer Group, presented their vision of a shared future at the Caravan Salon show in Düsseldorf, Germany. If the Vision Venture Class B+ is the result of their merger, they have a winner. It is love at first sight.
Hymer does it again! Despite its small size, the camper accommodates two grown-ups in an inflatable pop-top roof that features nearly 2.8-inch thick walls for better insulation.
Built on the excellent Mercedes Sprinter chassis, the exterior paint is a new development from BASF (Chromacool), heat-reflecting matte finish in selectable colors.
All the wood used in the interior is bamboo, including the rear deck that sustains 600 pounds of weight. Innovated European touches throughout the van makes for a comfortable lifestyle in a small space. A hidden table literally slides out from beneath the loveseat shown here to provide an eating area.
The upper zone is reached through stairs and provides sleeping quarters for two. The floor is tough enough to stand on.
Below that is the main living area. Innovative materials are used throughout, with bamboo interior walls and floor in the main salon, thin granite walls in the wet/dry bathroom. This concept is due to be production-ready by 2025.
Hymer’s innovative design for the wet/dry bathroom must be seen to believe. It will be interesting to see if it survives the concept level. For those that are addicted to the Internet, a drop-down desk in the cockpit just for you.
With a 600W solar addition on the roof, everything is electric including induction cooking elements in the kitchen. Outside is a slide-out cooking grill with storage. Talk about “falling in love!”
Watch an animated concept video here.
The Hymer Group, known for its quality and practical design was purchased by Thor Industries about 7 months ago. It caught most of us by surprise, since their corporate goals are opposite poles.
Unlike Thor, Hymer listens to its customers. “Innovation has always been part of Hymer’s DNA, and the concept van, Vision Venture, is our take on modern van life,” says Christian Bauer, President of the Hymer Group. “A major source of inspiration for this project was the camper community, who has given us new impetus with their creative ideas and DIY conversions.”
As an example of their corporate vision differences, Martin Brandt CEO of Hymer (Germany) indicated that it took 1 or possibly 2 years for their innovative ideas to hit the manufacturing line. Guess what! It takes Thor Industries only 2 months according to Bob Martin (Thor USA). (Staple guns and glue are fast when low-paid employees slap parts together.)
This explains in a nutshell the difference between Hymer’s and Thor’s vision of quality. This collaboration does present the opportunity for Thor to move up to European standards, but will it happen?
Thor Industry is now the largest RV manufacturer of motorhomes, campervans and towables in the world. According to RV Business, together Thor and the Erwin Hymer Group own a 35% market share for motorhomes and 46% for towable RVs in North America, coupled with a 22.5% and 21.5% share, respectively, in Europe.
“The North American branch was carved out of Thor Industry’s acquisition of Hymer Group earlier this year, after the discovery of financial irregularities, and it went into receivership shortly thereafter. France’s Rapido Group (which owns the iconic Westfalia brand) swooped in to save longstanding Canadian brand Roadtrek from the fiasco, but the window for sweet, new American camper vans inspired by Hymer’s European models seems nailed firmly shut.”
~ New Atlas’ C.C. Weiss
There is hope by production date 2025 that Thor will have its assembly plant up and running with plans to sell this gorgeous Class B+ here in the United States. If you have time, watch this video featuring Bob Martin (Thor) and Martin Brandt (Hymer) discuss their future collaborations.
Watch the first half of the joint conference here.
[Note: at approx. the 17-minute mark, the language changes from English to German.]
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