Winnebago Industries has been making outdoor lifestyle products for more than 60 years, and they have never lost their focus on innovation. They are dedicated to providing the best customer experience possible with refreshing quality in all of their RV’s. Winnebago currently have facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Florida
Winnebago Industries was founded back in 1954 when three businessmen got together to start a company that would “build homes” by selling camping trailers—this is how Winnebago started out before branching into other things like motorhomes or RVs (a sort of home-on-wheels). Their first five employees were trained at an automobile plant so they could be prepared if anything went wrong during production.
Finally, here’s a motorhome that thought of the well-being of wheelchair-users. Until recently, traveling on an RV seemed to be a far-fetched idea for this particular group of people.
For those who are considering to buy an RV, price is always a major consideration. It is a big investment on your part and it is important to choose an RV that suits your budget.
What brand of RV is the best? Is Winnebago a good brand? Is Winnebago worth the money? These are just some of the common questions that people ask when they’re considering to purchase an RV.
Don’t be confused by this question. There are, in fact, other RV brands from the same manufacturers of Winnebago RVs. So aside from Winnebago, are you also curious to know which other RV brands the Winnebago Industries actually own?
Winnebago is a household name when it comes to recreational vehicles. The iconic flying W logo in red has become synonymous to traveling outdoors in comfort and style. But it has taken decades of passion, innovation, and dedication for this RV manufacturing company to get here.
Let’s talk about this company and get to know more about their history, vision, the people behind them, where their factories are located, the other RV manufacturers that they are associated with, their plans for the future, and other interesting facts about them.
We’ll also run through the different Winnebago RVs according to class types so that you’ll have a better idea about the products that they offer in the market.
Winnebago is a giant in the RV industry. Its history is indeed legendary. It began with the vision of the entrepreneurial John K. Hanson to bring business to Winnebago County in the state of Iowa. He convinced Modernistic Industries to set up its manufacturing facility in Forest City and they eventually released the Aljo travel trailer at the market.
But things didn’t go well. The company was in heavy debt while the trailers weren’t being sold. This prompted Mr. Hanson to buy out Modernistic Industries and took charge of the whole production process.
The company was renamed to Winnebago Industries in 1960, taking its name from the river that flowed through the county where the manufacturing facility was first built.
Mr. Hanson took inspiration from Henry Ford’s mass production process and manufactured everything needed in a recreational vehicle – from the panels to the furniture, right in their own factory. This was the main reason why they were able to offer their RVs at a very competitive price in the market.
Mr. Hanson was very hands on regarding the whole process. He was mindful about the weight, quality, and how their motorhomes would bring comfort to users. He wanted their RVs to be their home away from home that was why he included residential features such as kitchens, shower cubicles, cabinets, and carpets. One of their earlier models even came with a standard vacuum cleaner to make carpet cleaning a lot easier.
Winnebago released their first motorhome in 1967. It was built on a Ford 350 chassis and they called it the Winnebago F17. It was advertised as an economical motorhome for a young family on the go. It offered more living area and could go anywhere that a car could go, cruise at turnpike speeds, and park anywhere with ease.
And the rest, they say, is history. Everything fell into place – the economy was flourishing, incomes were higher, the highway infrastructure was made better making it easier for people to travel. Business was doing so well that when Winnebago Industries went public, they became the top performer in the New York Stock Exchange in 1971.
Winnebago capitalized on the culture of adventure that has become prevalent since then. They continued to innovate and expand their RV lines and even ventured to other modes of transportation such as helicopters, Super Trams, farm wagons, and buses.
In 1986, Winnebago built their 200,000th unit. It was another banner year as they were included in the Fortune 500 companies and ranked 10th in innovation. They carried on with their tradition of excellence to provide the RV community with different sizes of motorhomes and travel trailers that would cater to their changing needs. There seemed to be no stopping them even amidst management and economic issues.
Right before the 20th century ended, Winnebago Industries showed the world why they were at the top – they were hitting record sales and revenue and had manufactured their 300,000th unit.
Entering the 21st century, Winnebago continued to dominate the RV industry as they topped the sales charts in both the Class A and Class C motorhomes categories. RV business poll recognized them as the most admired RV manufacturer as they breached the $1 billion annual sales in 2004.
They have gone on to acquire SunnyBrook RV and Grand Design RV to serve more customers. They bought Chris-Craft to expand their business ventures into the premium market of the marine industry. And just recently, they have acquired Newmar Corporation to be able to offer luxury RVs to a different segment of the market.
Winnebago Industries is ever growing, ever innovating, ever developing to reach every customer segment and empower them to explore the outdoors.
At the helm of this top U.S. RV manufacturing company is its team of trusted, bold, and progressive Board of Directors headed by David W. Miles as the Chairman. The President and CEO of Winnebago Industries is Michael Happe.
There are currently 5 brands under Winnebago Industries – Winnebago, Grand Design RV, Christ-Craft, Newmar, and Winnebago Specialty Vehicles.
Winnebago offers motorhomes and towables. Grand Design RV has its own lineup of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers. Christ-Craft has a collection of premium boat series. Newmar has its unique selection of diesel, gas, luxury, and Super C motor coaches while Winnebago Specialty Vehicles offers Accessibility Enhanced motorhomes and commercial vehicles.
Over the years, Winnebago had also been associated with Sunnybrook and Itasca RVs but they have merged these lines under the Winnebago name to emphasize the company’s brand.
All of these brands are the fruits of Winnebago Industries’ diversification and innovation in their pursuit to offer the best mobile experience to everyone. They respond to people’s need to travel, live, work, and play while enjoying the outdoors.
Winnebago Industries has various manufacturing facilities located in Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Oregon.
They offer free factory tours in their Forest City facility which is one of the largest and most technologically advanced RV manufacturing complexes in the world. It is recognized as the most productive 60 acres of land in the whole North Iowa region, providing employment to thousands of people.
Just recently, Winnebago Industries has announced that they will move their headquarters from Forest City, Iowa to Eden Prairie, Minnesota effective December 2021. Iowa will go on to be their main manufacturing facility for their motorhomes and specialty vehicles products.
Winnebago Class A and Class C motorhomes are known for their acclaimed SuperStructure construction.This is their industry-leading design that assures buyers that their motorhomes are built of superior quality.
This construction design features 4 main components: interlocking joints, laser-cut tubing, Thermo-panel sidewalls, and specialized E-coating.
These are used to connect the roof, floor, and sidewalls.They are not simply glued together or joined by screws. Winnebago ensures that they have interlocking joints to make them more durable.
This connection makes it possible for weight to be evenly distributed throughout the structure without any need for internal reinforcement.
When making high-quality motorhomes, precision is the name of the game. With the use of this advanced tool, Winnebago is able to cut tubes precisely so they can be connected with other joints with minimal welding. This also allows Winnebago to create etched and cut shapes on the tubes as needed.
Winnebago is known for their strong, lightweight, and durable sidewalls. They layer fiberglass with high-density block foam insulation and weld them onto aluminum support structures to achieve this.
All critical steel structural components of Winnebago motorhomes undergo a multi-stage electro-coating process to make sure that they are fully immersed in this specialized coating. This will give them added protection from corrosion.
It is also noteworthy that Winnebago uses steel in their cab structure. They securely mount the windshields with the use of non-hardening sealants. When mounting the cab to the chassis, they use an advanced alignment system to ensure a sturdy and square foundation.
Much of their construction process is like those used in manufacturing automobiles that’s why they have the highest standards and best quality motorhomes in the industry.
Winnebago has already laid the groundwork for the future of the RV industry. We have seen how they have smartly used advanced technology to continuously offer us industry-leading features in their products.
With their vision of being the top provider of outdoor lifestyle solutions, we are all excited about what they have in store for the RV community and the rest of the industries that they engage in.
Winnebago is all about experience-driven innovation so the possibilities are endless. We know that they listen to the needs and demands of the market so that they can provide them with the best outdoor experiences.
Even with the upcoming transfer of their headquarters to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Forest City will continue to be their major hub for manufacturing Winnebago motorhomes and specialty vehicles. They plan to beef up their manpower here which is currently around 2,100 people strong so that they can meet the increased demand in the market for all RV products.
Winnebago has recently funded Motiv, a personal technology brand that makes practical and easy to use devices that people can use in their everyday lives. Both Winnebago and Motiv have collaborated in the past to make an all-electric concept of Mobile Lung Unit. It can be used for mobile health scanning and at the same time, it features zero-emissions powertrains making it good for the environment as well.
The funding is seen as part of Winnebago’s research and development in an effort to provide all-electric mobile solutions to the market. This also paves the way for a zero-emissions alternative to gas and diesel powered engines.
Meanwhile, they are set to acquire Barletta Pontoon Boats in their pursuit to expand their platform in the marine market. This is in line with the company’s drive to be the leading outdoor lifestyle company not only on land but on the seas as well.
Speaking of providing outdoor lifestyle solutions on land and the seas, Winnebago has also once offered a flying RV that could take you camping where you’ve never been before. These units were called Heli-Homes which were basically Class A campers that had been integrated into helicopters.
In the mid-1970s, Winnebago’s Itasca line collaborated with Orlando Helicopter Airwaysto produce 2 models of the Heli-Home. The larger unit was built on a Sikorsky S-58 while the Sikorsky S-55 was used on the smaller Heli-Home. The helicopters were acquired from government auctions.
These flying RVs offered complete amenities – complete kitchen, full bathroom, bedroom, lounge area, entertainment system, mini bar, air conditioner, furnace, water heaters, generator,and many more.
But as expected, they required too much fuel to get and from a specific destination making them very impractical to use. Aside from that, they were very expensive to purchase or rent.
Although this business venture did not prove to be successful, it just goes to show us that from then until now, Winnebago is willing to test its boundaries and will not stop at anything to elevate our outdoor lifestyle experience.
Winnebago has an impressive lineup of Class A motorhomes which includes:
Winnebago’s camper vans are perfect for those who want to downsize and are serious about vanlifing. They can choose from:
They are easier to maneuver and the more practical choice for travel and comfort. The current Winnebago Class C collection includes:
For those who have towing vehicles, Winnebago towables will offer you residential comforts wherever you may go. You may choose from:
Winnebago presents us with a great selection of motorhomes and towables that will be your home away from home whenever you want to experience the beauty and thrill of exploring the outdoors.
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