In a Class of Their Own

Thor Motor Coach’s Vegas and Axis motorhomes deliver Class A amenities with a Class C feel – with a new, innovative floorplan.

Size and maneuverability are the name of the game for Class A sister product lines Vegas and Axis by Thor Motor Coach. Measuring in at between 24 and 26 feet long, both motorhome products are popular in the market because of their Class A body style with the interior space and shorter overall length of a traditional Class C.

“We’re in the sweet spot. We’re really focusing on a smaller vehicle for the consumers’ jumping-off point to get into Class As,” says RV industry veteran Jon Krider, vice president of marketing and product development for Thor Motor Coach. He adds that their size is also very popular with RVers stepping down from larger motorhomes, who like the space of a Class A cabin and cockpit without giving up the features that attracted them originally to a Class A.

Krider stresses, however, that the Vegas and Axis are not entry-level units. “It’s more of a first step into the Class A lifestyle if you’re not 100% sure that’s what you want. They are also the perfect alternative if you don’t like the look and feel of a traditional Class C with their somewhat dated dash, windshield and cab-over bunk. We’re the alternative with a look that really upgrades.”

Thor recently introduced a new Vegas and Axis floorplan, the 26-foot 261, at the 2024 RV SuperShow in Tampa, Florida. It’s highlighted by a rear, walk-around queen bed and a front slideout room.

“It’s really positioned for couples or a young family of four. At under 27 feet, it has all the features of a Class A – and that’s been very popular. The Class A gives you things that a Class C doesn’t have, such as greater visibility out the front with a unique windshield and cockpit area for an expansive, panoramic visibility. And our Class A’s body is narrower and extremely streamlined for parking flexibility.”

The Vegas and Axis feature the same floorplans but are differentiated by colors, caps and design tweaks, depending on different markets. “And we’re the only company out there that can get you into a 24-foot Class A and run you up to a 42-foot Class A while serving every division in between, beginning with the Vegas and Axis.”

Getting that Class C Feel

Both product lines’ Class C feel can be attributed to being built on the Ford E-Series chassis, though it’s the stripped version as opposed to the cab version, which is unique to Thor, Krider says.

Inside the Vegas Class A by Thor Motor Coach.

“As the workhorse of the RV industry for the last 20 years, the E-Series has always had to have a cab, but with the stripped chassis, which we’ve been doing for the last nine years, it gives us an opportunity to implement ideas that we couldn’t do with a cab, such as a more aerodynamic feel on the outside and inside, and greater storage capacity inside and out.”

The stripped chassis affords Thor what nobody else has, he explains, including a “very European” posture, which is “very attractive,” especially to new buyers coming into the market who are sometimes overwhelmed and intimidated by a traditional Class A. The Vegas and Axis also ride on 16-inch tires, rather than 19- or 22-inch tires, so they’re not as tall and wide.

New Innovations & Technology Introductions

At Thor, market research, research and development, and product design go hand-in-hand. “In order for us to be successful, we need to know what consumers are asking for and create solutions for their needs,” Krider says. “It’s our collective customer feedback that allows us to build new products and introduce innovations as we survey current owners, and conduct polls and market studies of new, potential customers.”

Customer feedback and research now makes sure that every one of Thor’s coaches has full steering wheel controls for multimedia and infotainment centers and more, from cameras and stereos to Siri and Google Search. “Steering wheel controls are one of the simple things we now do that the auto industry has been implementing for years – and 90% of our competitors don’t have that,” notes Krider. “People don’t realize what they’re not getting until they get it and how much they missed it in an RV. Class As, especially, have a significant reach from the driver and the passenger to the dash, which is probably the longest that most people have ever experienced operating a vehicle.

“We make the motorhome experience as close as possible to customers’ cars – it’s all about accessibility and functionality. Those are the keys that influence a lot of our different technologies and innovations.”

Krider also says that 90% of Thor’s vehicles incorporate the Winegard ConnecT system for TV antennas and connections for local Wi-Fi networks – or for a 4G antenna to pick up cellular on a customer’s preferred subscription plan. “You have the ability to access emails, video conferencing and streaming video services. We make informed design decisions regarding where people can work remotely, such as the dinette, theater seat, sofa or cockpit.”

Those decisions also trickle down to minute details, such as strategically planning positions and locations for USB and 110-volt ports, lighting switches, Bluetooth and more.

2024 Hurricane HD-Max

Thor continues to innovate in its manufacturing processes, including the introduction of more composite materials for lightweighting in the interest of fuel economy – aluminum versus steel in many cases, for example.

The manufacturer also reexamines how its components are put together and is moving away from traditional wood products – especially considering what’s in the future for RVing and its challenges, such as emissions controls and new rules for Class A diesels. Krider says the industry continues to get smarter about making vehicles that are more efficient, not just drivetrain-wise, but also regarding house power and what’s being used while not driving.

“Thor is very forward-facing. We look at a market, and we’ll attack the market by introducing products. One of our big strengths is our interior look and feel – they really set us apart. Our all-female design staff gives us a huge advantage. Our diversity also applies to the diversity of the marketplace and the different customers we’re trying to attract, and our management staff is open to making changes on the fly for what’s best for the consumer.”

Different Times, Different Needs

Motorhomes are not just for camping anymore. As the market shifts, Thor Motor Coach examines what people are using motorhomes for generationally. Sometimes motorhomes are bought because RVers want to tailgate with their friends or just use them exclusively for travel, not necessarily camping. The traditional camping aspect is not so nearly defined anymore – it’s become very broad as to what people’s expectations are in what a vehicle can have and allow them to do, Krider explains.

Both the Vegas and Axis fit that mold. “We strive to make sure we appeal to the largest needs of the market. It’s not one-size-fits-all. We’re solely focused on motorhomes, not trailers or anything else. It’s what we do.

“We want to be where the market sits – not be chasing it, but leading it.”

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