The big news in the RV world recently revolved around the acquisition of the german mega RV company, Erwin Hymer Group SE, by U.S. mega RV company, Thor. Aside from expanding Thor’s empire to another continent (Hymer is a major player in Europe), Thor had big plans to introduce the Hymer name to the U.S. market via Hymer’s existing manufacturing facility in Kitchener, Ontario -which also builds the popular RoadTrek Class B coaches. In a deal rumored to exceed 2 billion U.S. dollars, all systems were go -then things got weird.
Apparently, while reviewing the financials of Hymer’s operation in North America, Thor’s bean counters found something truly alarming: lots and lots of invoices for RoadTrek Class B motorhomes that didn’t exist. A Vehicle Identification Number or “VIN” is exactly what it sounds like, a singular number applied to a singular vehicle -forever. Think of it as the fingerprint of an RV. Thor’s due diligence revealed lots of sales for RVs with fictitious VINs. The current theory implies that Hymer and /or RoadTrek sales weren’t nearly as good as the company wanted them to be, so somewhere along the line they came up with a solution: just make up lots of sales, attributed to non-existent RVs with fake VINs. One source put the number of bogus invoices at 1,700 and the deception dollar amount in excess of $100 million. If true, this could mean that Hymer (North America) had falsely (and purposely) inflated their figures in an effort to give the appearance of healthy sales. As if that weren’t enough deception, RVDailyNews has now reported that forensic accountants have also “uncovered a number of bogus invoices paid by the company into bank accounts owned by relatives of corporate officials.”
The latest word on the street is that Hymer has fired the CEO, CFO and COO of Hymer North America -effective immediately- and that the intent-to-purchase offer from Thor was clawed back (quickly, one would assume) and revised to exclude any part of Hymer’s current North American presence. Surprisingly, the deal appears to have gone through and Hymer (Europe) is now -or soon will be- a part of Thor. Hymer North America, though, remains a very lonely outpost with a very uncertain future.
Embarrassingly, those of us here at RVReviews.net have highly recommended RoadTrek for years now. The last month or so has made it glaringly obvious that we were being fed bad information -and then passing it along to our readers with a “Highly Recommended” rating. For that we are truly sorry. Going forward we will be revising our RoadTrek article in the Motorhome Comparison Guide, as well as the ratings in our RV Reports for RoadTrek and Hymer’s new-to-the-market Aktiv Class B coaches. Until then we are issuing a “Do Not Buy” for all offerings from Hymer North America and will continue to post legitimate updates as they are made public.
The RVReviews.net Team