RV maker Thor Industries acquires Elkhart Composites
Canadian PlasticsAutomotive Plastics Processes
Elkhart is the maker of Elkboard polypropylene-based materials for the RV industry.
Airxcel Inc., a subsidiary of recreational vehicle maker Thor Industries Inc., has acquired Elkhart, Indiana-based material supplier Elkhart Composites Inc.
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
In a Dec. 7 news release, officials with Thor said that Elkhart is engaged in the development and sale of a proprietary sustainable foamed polypropylene-based composite material marketed and sold under the “Elkboard” brand name. “Lightweight, rigid, and durable, Elkboard is used in the RV industry for sidewalls, helping to alleviate the industry’s dependence on traditional lauan-based sidewalls,” they said. “Unlike traditional lauan-based sidewalls, Elkboard is a sustainable solution and is not susceptible to rot or delamination.”
According to Thor president and CEO Bob Martin, for decades the RV industry has sourced lauan wood from tropical hardwood forests, which continue to be over-harvested. “As the recent supply-chain constraints have demonstrated, sourcing such materials from the other side of the world can no longer be taken for granted and our ability to quality-control lauan product is severely limited,” he said. “Elkboard, on the other hand, is sustainable, and is fabricated locally. Strict quality oversight allows a great deal of consistency we cannot find in lauan-based product.”
“Its current use in sidewalls is only the beginning for this product,” Martin continued. “With additional R&D investment into the Elkboard product, we expect it can be utilized as a solution in several other RV applications.”
John Petrofsky, Elkhart’s president and CEO, will remain active in the business, the news release said. “Thor’s leadership has believed in the potential of Elkboard product since our first introduction, and I look forward to growing Elkhart’s…product offerings, production volume, and applications with Airxcel,” Petrofsky said.
Thor officials say that Thor is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.
Thor is also headquartered in Elkhart. Airxcel is headquartered in Witchita, Kan.