Demand for $100,000-plus RVs soar after the COVID-19 pandemic: Thor Industries CEO

Motorhome manufacturer Thor Industries is driving quickly away from a challenging first quarter at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic to a much brighter summer as people look to take vacations, but do so inside their own personal confines.

“The last four weeks has been an A-plus. Just the retail demand has picked up tremendously over the last four weeks,” said Thor Industries CEO Bob Martin on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. Martin said demand has been broad-based, ranging from entry-level models priced at around $100,000 to expensive offerings nearing $800,000.

The company has also welcomed first-time owners into the motorhome life — Thor told investors this week people are buying motorhomes in part to work from home this summer, while also enjoying a vacation.

Martin’s comments are welcome news to Thor’s investors.

Damon Motor Coach, a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., displayed it’s new Avanti, a 31.5-foot-long, Class A motor home expected to get 14.5 miles per gallon Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s 46th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon)

Thor reported this week that fiscal third quarter sales fell 33% year-over-year to $1.68 billion. Diluted earnings per share dropped to 43 cents from 59 cents a year earlier. The company saw sales and operating profits plunge at its North America motorhome businesses. European operations came in with a modest operating loss.

Martin added, “We started this year many dealers were double-digits in January and February, and then when the pandemic hit in March everybody shutdown for four to six weeks. And then it came back quickly. So demand has built over the last four to six weeks to just a frenzy to where right now we’re just trying to get dealers their inventory.”

Thor Industries (THO) shares rose 2% on Tuesday.

Indeed, the market has sniffed out the apparent pent-up demand for motorhomes. Thor shares have surged 51% year-to-date, where rival Winnebago’s (WGO) stock is up 31%.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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