Erwin Hymer North America rocked by scandal

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Editor’s note:  I received the following note from Jim Hammill the afternoon of Jan. 19. It is the only comment, statement or rebuttal we have received from an official company spokesperson or one of the individuals mentioned in the report.

“Hello Greg, I was texted your article this morning and I am astounded that you have written something that is fabricated like this. Absolutely astounded.” — Jim Hammill

 

KITCHENER, Ontario — An swirl of rumors involving Erwin Hymer North America this week may prevent the acquisition of the company by Thor Industries, RV Daily Report has learned.

Officials from Erwin Hymer North America and Thor Industries have not yet responded to multiple inquires made by RV Daily Report today. However, several people familiar with the situation, but who are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company, were able to confirm some details.

CEO Jim Hammill, chief financial officer Mark Weigel and chief operating officer Howard Stratton have been terminated effective immediately. At least one of the executives was escorted from the company property.

An investigation was launched regarding financial impropriety. The charges are far reaching and could have devastating consequences for the firm’s future worldwide, the sources noted.

Among the allegations are charges that 1,700 invoices may have been fabricated in that the vehicle identification numbers for the Class B motorhomes do not correlate to any vehicles produced by the firm.

Some dealers have begun questioning company figures that show their businesses selling more Roadtrek RVs than the dealers ordered from the Erwin Hymer North America in recent months.

The fraudulent invoices could exceed $100 million in total value, with money redirected to bank accounts tied to high-level officials with Erwin Hymer North America or their family members, some of which were on the payroll, but did not officially work for the company.

Forensic accountants have been summoned to the firm, with additional attention being directed toward Erwin Hymer North America’s recent acquisition of American Fastback, although a representative at the American Fastback display in Tampa said the transaction had not yet been finalized.

Sources indicated that the acquisition of American Fastback was made by officials with Erwin Hymer North America using company funds, but without full knowledge of officials with Erwin Hymer Group’s corporate office in Germany.

The point of the transaction was to improve the position of Erwin Hymer North America for acquisition by suggesting the company was in better financial shape than it appeared, a source explained.

The employee count at Erwin Hymer North America ballooned from 300 to nearly 1,000 in recent years. However, it appears several employees may be related to high-level officials at the company —  if they exist at all — and they were paid for their work, but had no official duties with the firm.

Sources also suggest that forensic accountants have uncovered a number of bogus invoices paid by the company into bank accounts owned by relatives of corporate officials.

According to a news report published by CTV Canada, 100 workers at the company were laid off this week and reportedly told it was due to an “economic downturn.” The report also noted that vacation pay was being withheld due to an internal audit.

A source told RV Daily Report that all but 50 employees may be furloughed soon as an investigation into Irwin Hymer North America’s financial situation is carried out.

Erwin Hymer North America issued a press release Aug. 16 boasting that the firm had a strong 2017, landing on top of the North American market for Class B Motorhomes with over 32.5% retail market share in North America and over 56% retail market share in Canada alone, as reported by Statistical Surveys, a Michigan market research firm.

According to the RV Industry Association, Class B motorhomes were the second fastest growing segment in 2018 with deliveries up 12.6 percent, behind truck campers at 22.1 percent. All other industry segments reported year-to-date declines in December.

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at editor@rvdailyreport.com.

Leave a Comment

  • AffectedInnocentEmployee says:

    Who’s betting the doors will be locked come Monday? So many people rely on the integrity of the companies that hire them, only to get “phooooked” by them in the end.

    • Ling says:

      It’s sad . So many good employees and hard working individuals are now scared for their future after being told we would have a long lasting career here. 🙁

  • JEM says:

    What a devastating train wreck for the employees, the loyal owners, the dealers and the industry! Erwin Hymer wanted a foot print in No. America; now you’ve lost it. Should have been paying attention!!!

  • George Sears says:

    People have pointed to Hymer as one of the few quality RV builders. There is a definite trend toward vans and van based products. But Thor was going to buy Hymer, and Thor seems to be ranked (by consumers) toward the bottom of the quality levels. The RV industry is basically big getting bigger, using stock values as currency whenever possible. And then you find out that a ‘quality’ company has a culture of financial fraud?

    I bought a van, and a small van at that. I’ve owned motorhomes and trailers, but I don’t trust RV’s, and the financial risks of buying and owning RV’s is very high. When I roll by the acres of RV’s in St. George Utah I used to think is was all pretty cool. Now I think it is mostly problems, at least potentially.

    Is there anything about the RV industry that isn’t bizarre, at this point? There’s a lot of money, there’s a lot of greed.

  • Current-Employee says:

    The greedy decisions of Jim and co. are going to cost hundreds of people their jobs. Every time we were audited in the last few months, we were instructed by the CFO to hide vehicles offsite. Was told it was because they were ‘sold’ but not yet shipped so they needed to be off the property to not raise questions. Now that all makes sense. How is the CFO not fired? There is no way he’s not involved in all this. Those fake invoices would have flowed directly through his hands. So so sad. I hope they get jail time.

  • Ron Cabral says:

    Guess my E-mail to the Cyberraly back in Sepetember 2018 regarding Jim Hammill apparently was correct.

    https://rvdailyreport.com/industry/erwin-hymer-north-america-rocked-by-scandal/
    —————————————————————————-
    Following is what I received from Jim Hammill when I was having problems with my macerator which was replaced three times, 2 times paid out of my pocket, first time paid by the Macerator Company under warranty.

    There were other E-mails I received from Jim which I have not posted, was hurt from his remarks in his E-mails directed to me, accusations he made towards me, though I was offended I never held any ill feelings towards Jim. Jim was good to Rose and I before I ordered, and was good in taking care of issues with our 2010 RoadTrek, other than the macerator, he even had our RoadTrek picked up from our home taken to the factory and returned, transported by a 18 wheeler.

    We ordered our RoadTrek December 2009 from Campers-Inn being in Raynham, Ma, Brian Sullivan was the general manager believe Brian is still with Campers Inn, Brian was very good to Rose and I.

    Rose and I feel bad for Jim and his family if the story is true, hopefully it is not true, I know Jim was good to the RoadTrek owners in various postings, was proud of his RoadTrek Company as they built the best Class B’s. Rose and I Loved the Dodge & Chevy Vans as we have had both and still have our 2010. Though coming up in age and with some health issues the time will come to part with our RoadTrek.

    Sad that RoadTrek formerly Home & Park was sold to the Hymer Group and could not have been kept by the original owners, Father and Son, All Good Things must come to an End.

    Hope that our group will stay with FMCA, hopefully there were no criminal activities involvement by Jim, and Good Luck to Jim.

    Ron & Rose Cabral
    New Bedford, MA
    2010-Chevy-2010-RoadTrek 190 Popular
    FMCA 303873

    2012.10.12 – 4:34:49 PM EDT

    From Jim Hammill to Ron Cabral:

    “Ron, lets be clear about everybodies position here. Instead of dealing with service issues in a normal way, you post online your issues in a political manner.
    As you are retired police officer, I am stunned that you operate with absolutely no integrity. I am a straight up guy.”
    ————————————————————————————————
    2013.04.02 – 6:06:21 P.M.

    From Jim Hammill to Ron Cabral

    Ron,

    “If you have an issue with your macerator, again, then it is clear that your use of it is problematic. It is not designed to suit your needs.

    You were sent gravity parts as requested, becuase it did not meet the heavy wear and tear that you are doing to the macerator. You chose not to install them.

    We do not warranty wear and tear beyond normal use.

    Again, Roadtrek will no longer be able to warranty parts that are not used properly. Our warranty is limited, and we do not see the type of problems you have without improper use or maintenance of the macerator.

    I will be posting an online response to your postings from this point on.”

    Regards,
    Jim Hammill
    Roadtrek Motorhomes, Inc
    519-745-1169, Ext 1113

    Note: Yes the parts were sent to my dealer according to my dealer they were not sent the complete parts therefore they could not install, and they never received the complete parts.

  • AmericanGreed says:

    In my opinion Roadtrek with file for Bankruptcy if it’s a separate entity of Hymer and then Thor will buy them out of Bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar..

  • Greg Gerber says:

    Folks, this is a reminder that the discussion on this site must remain civil. No name-calling or profanity is allowed. If it continues, I will disable the commenting feature. Thank you.

    GREG GERBER
    Editor, RV Daily Report

  • Al says:

    Greg, can you verify that note you received is actually from CEO Jim Hammill?

  • Shocked Beyond Belief says:

    after a good number of years working there part-time, i am in total shock to read this. i know these people and respected them, greatly!, until today. i am trying to decide which is greater … my anger or my disappointment. i feel totally jilted and wish them the severest punishment if found guilty. is there anything worse than breaking a trust? …especially when you are being paid well to earn that trust?

  • Greg Gerber says:

    Sorry folks, I’m going to shut off commenting on this story. I’m traveling this week and can’t afford the time to moderate the discussion. Too many nasty comments being submitted that aren’t helpful and don’t serve a point except to vent.

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