Winnebago Horizon is RVBusiness RV of the Year

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December 1, 2017 by   Comments Off on Winnebago Horizon is RVBusiness RV of the Year

RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg (L) presents the RV of the Year award to Winnebago’s Brian Hazelton (C), vice president and general manager, motorhomes, and Ryan Roske, product manager for Class A diesel

The 2018 RVBusiness RV of the Year, as RVIA National RV Trade Show attendees learned this week during a packed first-ever RV Industry Awards event at the Mercury Ballroom in Louisville, Ky., is Winnebago Industries Inc.’s high-end Horizon Class A diesel motorhome with its authentically different modernistic interiors designed by the Iowa manufacturer’s in-house staff with input from Italian supplier Technoform S.p.A.

The 41- to 43-foot Horizon’s ultra-contemporary interiors feature high-gloss laminates, radius doors, plenty of stainless steel and backlit translucent panels – the kind of look that Winnebago President and CEO Mike Happe said is more likely found “in a Manhattan condo or London flat.”

It’s also a motif that, the RVB staff concluded, could well impact recreation vehicle product development down the road in coaches selling for considerably less than the $430,000 Horizon. The wall panels in the Horizon, built on a hybrid Maxum chassis and a customized Freightliner platform mated to a 450-horsepower Cummins engine, contain storage compartments with soft close doors and easy-access, pull-out shelf systems, which project the look of a high-end European yacht.

The Horizon, in addition, sports Corian countertops with both integrated dish drain gutters and popup power strips for countertop appliances and USB charging.

Winnebago Horizon diesel pusher was named RVB RV of the Year

“I think our design team, our product management leadership in the diesel category, wanted to create something with a more modern, more contemporary, more fresh interior within a high-end diesel luxury coach but in a way that gives the appearance that the coach is even more expensive than it is,” said Happe. “And so it was this dream that emerged to create a million-dollar look in something much more affordable.

“The journey on this product started several months ago with a team at Winnebago putting together the concept of what this could look like, the different materials that would be used,” he added. “We had a growing relationship with Technoform, an Italian cabinet supplier that has been very critical to this project. So, the vision behind this has been several years in the making. But the team was given the room to take its time and was empowered to bring to life something that was truly different than anything else on the market.”

Winnebago Horizon’s modern interior

While the design team led by Ryan Roske, product manager for diesel Class A’s, was based out of the company’s Iowa headquarters, the new coach will be manufactured at the company’s Junction City, Ore., plant acquired two years ago specifically for the production of Winnebago’s higher-end diesel products.

“You know, in some ways, it’s (the Oregon facility) part of Winnebago’s evolution into a company that’s more geographically diverse,” noted Happe, a former executive for The Toro Co. who joined Winnebago nearly two years ago. “The design still happens at our legacy home in Forest City, Iowa. But the manufacturing and assembly process takes place out in Oregon which we feel is a good environment for large diesel coaches to be put together in a high quality way where now we can dedicate Forest City to doing mostly Class A gas and Class C products.”

Among the other 2018 RVB RV of the Year finalists, all of which are to be featured in a special TV show scheduled for distribution in February by Rollin’ On TV to some 40 million North American households:

Newmar New Aire diesel pusher: Addressing consumer demand for shorter, more maneuverable motorhomes, Newmar’s New Aire measures 33 feet long and a little more than 12 feet tall. Currently available in two floorplans, the New Aire’s MSRP starts at about $355,000. Working with Freightliner and powered by a 360-hp Cummins engine, Newmar created an entirely new, side-radiator chassis specifically for the New Aire. Other features include an all-electric galley with a recessed induction cooktop, digital instrumentation dashboard and a hydronic heating system with continuous hot water.

Starcraft GPS travel trailer: Focusing on increased living and storage space, the GPS features a patent-pending, over-the-tongue, walk-in cargo room with 750-pound capacity called the “Sport Locker” as well as a screened-in back porch. Developed in partnership with Lippert Components Inc., the lockable “Sport Locker” features an aerodynamic wedge shape achieved by seamlessly angled, laminated sidewalls and a sloped fiberglass roof. The back porch, developed with Carefree of Colorado, features a power awning extending over a rear ramp door that also transforms into a screen room with removable sidewalls.

inTech Luna teardrop: Extending its lineup of “adventure trailers,” the Luna is set off by a full front fiberglass cap that features a wrap-around tempered glass windshield. A lift-up rear door provides access to a full gourmet-style kitchen. Other features include inTech’s signature all-aluminum cage construction, 48-inch wide frameless windows on each side, 40-inch LED TV, Dexter Torsion Axles, and stylish fenders atop aluminum wheels.

Forest River No Boundaries: The single-axle line of lightweight towables takes direct aim at outdoor adventurers who need space to haul their gear. No Boundaries – or NO•BO — is designed for off-grid RVing with solar prep, a roof-mounted Rhino-Rack, and outdoor kitchens with app-controlled coolers by Dometic. The line currently features six models, including four conventional travel trailers and two modified teardrops – with one of those being a toy hauler. Eventually, the line will grow to include a dozen different floorplans up to 26 feet long with a 3,500-pound tow rating. 

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