Winnebago Debuts Destination Fiver in Louisville

November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Destination rear cap

Winnebago Industries Inc. announced the introduction of its first full-size luxury fifth-wheel, the Destination, to be unveiled at the Dec. 3-5 51st annual National RV Trade show in Louisville Ky.

According to a press release, Destination combines motorhome styling and residential interiors. “The new Destination truly lives up to the iconic Winnebago name,” said Winnebago Towables President Johnny Hernandez. “I am very proud of our team and the results of their efforts to push the envelope of traditional fifth-wheel design to achieve a product that all other fifth wheels will soon be measured by.”

Destination’s front cap integrates an aerodynamic design, including an air dam for increased wind deflection, as well as distinctive styling features like a multidimensional paint design and LED light strips. The optional rear cap offers a blend of Winnebago’s motorhome heritage with sports car styling. Exterior features include aluminum steps, 30-inch by 78-inch entry door with opening window, 12-inch main chassis rails,  drop storage, frameless tinted windows, sports car styled taillights and back up lights, hydraulic front jacks and a standard champagne colored gel-coat fiberglass wall.

The spacious interior is a created by a 96-inch interior width coupled with a radius ceiling. The main floor slideouts, powered by hydraulics, are 6 feet, 9 inches tall with extra tall windows adding to the overall open feeling of the Destination.

The galley features top quality hardwood cabinets with a contemporary radius design and a tremendous amount of drawer and cabinet storage space, a full size pantry with glass door, solid-surface countertops, recessed range, a residential French door 20 cubic foot refrigerator in either black or stainless steel, and an optional stainless steel residential sized dishwasher.

Other amenities include an entertainment center featuring a 50-inch TV, sliding desk drawer and optional fireplace with a hearth along with a quiet air system for maximum cooling with minimal sound.

At the top of the hardwood stairs are two 74-inch tall six panel doors. One door leads to the spacious bathroom with a 60-inch one-piece fiberglass shower, large vanity with solid-surface countertop, built-in lavatory sink and a ceramic toilet. The master suite features a 6 foot, 9 inch ceiling height extending the open feel to the sleeping quarters. The “Flex Bed” raises the head of the bed providing a comfortable position for watching TV or just sitting up in bed.

The bedroom also features an eight-drawer dresser with deep, 16-inch drawers. A special feature of the bedroom is the magic mirror/TV design that acts like a mirror when the 32-inch TV is off and frames the television picture when the TV is on. The master suite also offers a full-size, cedar-lined walk-in closet with four large radius shelves.

Winnebago is displaying at Booth No. 3201 in the North Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center.


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Winnebago Leasing Plant for Class B Production

November 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Travato Class B coach

Winnebago Industries Inc. is planning to expand its manufacturing footprint to nearby Lake Mills, Iowa.

Winnebago and the city of Lake Mills have come to an agreement on the five-year lease of the 100,000-square-foot plant formerly owned and operated by Cummins Filtration. The Lake Mills facility will be used for the production of Winnebago’s Class B motorhomes; initially the new Travato model built on the Ram ProMaster chassis.

“This is a definite win-win for us,” said Winnebago Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts. “The Lake Mills facility is much larger than our current Class B production facility in Charles City and allows us to expand our growing Class B motorhome line.

Potts said that Winnebago’s Class B market share in the U.S. has been steadily rising with 17.9% market share calendar year to date through September 2013, compared to 16.5% in calendar 2012 and 7.8% in calendar 2011.

“With the close proximity of Lake Mills, it’s very cost effective to transport components and motorhomes the 16 miles between Lake Mills and our headquarters in Forest City,” Potts noted. “In turn, it allows us to transition our current Class B production facility in Charles City to additional subassembly operations. We plan to begin the process of staffing and equipping the Lake Mills facility immediately with the goal of starting initial production by early February. Our Charles City facility will continue to manufacture Class B’s as we transition to our Lake Mills facility, and move other subassembly operations to Charles City.”

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Winnebago Earns Ford ‘Fully Meets’ Distinction

November 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. was recognized by Ford Motor Co. for receiving the “fully meets” classification as part of their Truck Quality Program. According to a press release, Winnebago has received this award from Ford since the program’s inception in 1996.

The Truck Quality Program is the highest honor awarded to vehicle modifiers. It is based on an assessment of a modifier’s engineering capability, design and build process controls, management commitment and quality control procedures. According to Ford, the purpose of this program is to assure vehicle modifiers have the capability and processes in place to complete the vehicle in a repeatable manner that maintains the integrity of the Ford chassis system, meets Federal and other standards in place at the time of the build and provides end users with a quality-built vehicle that meets their expectations.

“We work very hard on providing a superior product to our customers,” said Winnebago Director of Quality Control Chuck Hughes. “To accomplish that, we work closely with Ford, as with all our suppliers, to maintain the integrity of the purchased components in order to maintain quality in the finished product.

“We utilize advanced technology in the development and manufacturing process of our motorhomes with industry-leading designs, as well as employing seasoned manufacturing engineering staffs and manufacturing management with the commitment to adhere to these stringent guidelines. These factors are what we believe allows us to excel in Ford’s Truck Quality Program. It continues to be a priority for us in order to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations for the quality found in each product that we build.”

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Winnebago OKs Lease of Former Cummins Plant

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The city of Lake Mills, Iowa, and Winnebago Industries Inc. have agreed to five-year lease of a former Cummins Inc. plant in the city, according to a report in the Mason City Globe Gazette.

Winnebago, based in Forest City, will expand to the facility but details were not available on Wednesday (Nov. 13). The lease was approved after a public hearing held on Tuesday during a special Lake Mills City Council meeting.

Sheila Davis, Winnebago’s public relations/investor relations manager, said details of the expansion will be announced in a future news release.

“One thing I can tell you is that in the first year (Winnebago) has agreed to provide 50 jobs in the plant,” Lake Mills Mayor David Steffen said Wednesday.

Winnebago will lease the plant for $1 a month, according to the lease. The $1 per month rent requires Winnebago to have 25 jobs in the plant within the first six months of the lease and 50 jobs within a year. The lease also includes requirements for Winnebago to pay taxes, provide maintenance and liability insurance.

The city of Lake Mills bought the 100,000-square-foot Cummins plant in 2012 after the company — which manufactured cartridge-style filters for the mining industry — laid off about 400 people over 2009 and 2010.

To read the entire article click here.



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Winnebago ‘Toolbox’ Distributed to Dealer Body

November 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago motorhome "toolbox"

Winnebago Industries Inc.’s motorhome dealerships recently received a “Toolbox” display, along with a supply of matching brochures.

According to a press release, the toolbox contains 11 sample pieces that represent the distinct advantages of Winnebago products, including exclusive vertical integration capabilities that enable the production of most of the parts used to create a motorhome to be manufactured in the company’s Forest City, Iowa, facilities to exacting standards.

Winnebago said that key components include multi-density foam found in the company’s Stitchcraft furniture, precision formed steel from the chassis weld facility, and the industry-leading interlocking joint design of the sidewalls built by the CAPCO division.

Each of the 11 pieces in the toolbox represent the company’s advanced manufacturing processes that are used to create the Winnebago, Itasca, and Winnebago Touring Coach motorhomes. A brochure accompanies the toolbox that explains each piece within the toolbox. This brochure is then provided to retail customers as a takeaway to review later.

“The Toolbox and brochure are a powerful sales tool that allow our dealers to tell the story of our quality manufacturing,” said Winnebago Industries Marketing and Sales Promotion Manager Kelli Harms. “By helping to explain the hows and whys of what we do, the Toolbox is a powerful resource to help a consumer make their purchase decision.”

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Winnebago Rolls Out ’14 Sightseer, Sunova A’s

November 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago's inLounge extendable sectional sofa

Winnebago Industries Inc. announced the introduction of its 2014 Sightseer and Sunova Class A motorhomes.

According to a press press release, the coaches are available in four floorplans the coaches are equipped with a Ford F53 super-duty V10 SEFI Triton engine, offering a 22,000- pound GVWR. Upscale features include  22.5-inch tires and stylized aluminum wheels, energy efficient LED ceiling lights, Corian galley countertops, MCD solar/blackout roller shades and Ultraleather cab seats.

The 35G model delivers travel flexibility with the inLounge extendable sectional sofa and movable inTable. For additional sleeping space, the StudioLoft drop-down cab bed can be added to any floorplan.

Other features include:

• New Radio/rearview monitor with 6-inch touch screen, color rear camera and iPod/MP3 input.

• Power mirrors with defrost and integrated side view cameras.

• Powered patio awning with metal wrap and integrated LED patio lighting.

• Residential 30-inch stainless steel microwave/convection oven.

• Defroster fans for windshield.

• Porcelain toilet with sprayer on all models.

• Convenient LPG accessory connection in the patio area.

• Full-body paint.

Highlights of the four floorplans include:

• 30A: The double-slide floorplan is designed to create space despite the compact size. Other features include an extendable U-shaped dinette – a hybrid couch/dinette that seats up to six. There’s a large mid-coach TV that slides out for optimal viewing even when the slideout is not extended. The lounge area also features a recliner with an available Euro recliner with built-in footrest optional.

• 33C: The triple slide floorplan features a large driver’s side slide that expands the entire galley and dinette, with a flat floor slide found across from the dinette and a queen bed slideout in the rear. The large galley offers a three-burner range top, microwave/convection oven, refrigerator/freezer (a larger, four-door refrigerator/freezer with ice maker is optional), pantry and a double sink.

• 35G: With three slideouts, the unit offers an inLounge extendable sectional sofa/sleeper, movable inTable, large TV and an optional fireplace. The floorplan creates a spacious and comfortable lounge area while additional sleeping space is available in the new StudioLoft in the cab area. A rear slideout powered queen walk-around bed, or optional powered king bed, with nightstands complement a spacious wardrobe and chest of drawers storage and optional stackable washer/dryer on the opposite wall.

• 36V: The dual-slide unit offers the company’s BenchMark dinette, extendable sectional sofa, queen or available king bed, his-and-hers wardrobes, chest of drawers, spacious split bath, full galley and an optional StudioLoft bed.



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Yeager to Oversee Winnebago’s WIT Initiatives

October 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Denise Yeager

Winnebago Industries Inc. announced the promotion of Denise Yeager to the position of consumer engagement manager, according to a press release.

In her new position, Yeager is responsible for the company’s WIT Club and brand licensing initiatives, including WIT Club tours and the visitors center.

“WIT Club, our owner’s group exclusive to Winnebago Industries’ product owners, and our newly launched brand licensing initiatives are both very important programs; each with a customer-centric focus,” said Chad Reece, director of marketing. “Denise’s previous work with the WIT Club and her marketing background are a great fit for creating synergy with the alignment of these two key areas.”

Yeager is a seven-year veteran of Winnebago, and most recently served as brand licensing and communications representative. Prior to joining Winnebago Industries, she held a variety of sales management, marketing and national service management positions throughout the Midwest.

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Winnebago to Receive 18th Straight DSI Award

October 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. received notification that the company earned the prestigious Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers’ Association (RVDA).  The award is scheduled to be presented at a ceremony conducted at RVDA’s Dealer Reception during the National RV Trade Show on Dec. 2, in the Crowne  Plaza Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

“We are very honored to be recognized by our dealer partners for this very prestigious award,” said Winnebago CEO and President Randy Potts. “We believe we have the best dealer network in the industry and we are particularly proud that Winnebago Industries is the only manufacturer to be honored for this award from RVDA every year since 1996.”

Winnebago Industries was recognized as a Quality Circle Award winner based on overall dealer satisfaction for Winnebago and Itasca motorized brands as measured in the Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey conducted by RVDA.

RVDA created the DSI as a tool to help improve communication and the overall relationships with their manufacturers.  The survey measures dealer attitudes in key policy, product, and procedure areas that dealers say are the most important elements in their business partnerships with manufacturers.

“We extend our thanks to all of our dealer partners for the confidence they have shown in Winnebago Industries,” continued Potts. “It truly means a great deal to us.  Even more so that our score was higher this year than any other year in RVDA’s scoring system that was initiated in 2007. The DSI provides us with a myriad of valuable information we use as a guide to continually improve the quality of our products and services.

“I also want to thank our employees for their hard work to build high quality products, while providing world-class programs and services to our dealer partners. We have an outstanding motor home lineup and are introducing several new products such as the Trend, Viva! and Travato. We plan to continue to deliver innovative and high quality products, service and support to the industry for both our dealer partners and retail customers.”

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Motorhomes Lift Winnebago 4Q, Sales Up 32%

October 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. today (Oct. 17) reported a 31.8% gain in revenue for the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, buoyed by strong motorhome performance, while net income was impacted by a tax benefit recorded in fiscal 2012.

Revenue for the fourth quarter, ended Aug. 31, was $214.2 million versus $162.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.  The company reported an operating income of $15.3 million for the quarter versus $6.5 million the previous year. Net income was $10.6 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, compared with $40.9 million, or $1.41 per diluted share.

A tax benefit was recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 due to a $36.9 million reduction in the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets that was established in fiscal 2009.  Excluding the non-cash tax benefit of the reduction in valuation allowance, net income for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2012 was $4 million, or 14 cents per diluted share.

Winnebago said the fourth quarter was positively impacted by increased motorhome deliveries, improved gross margin due to better variable and fixed cost absorption and incremental leverage in operating expenses which resulted in a 3.2 percentage point improvement in operating margin.

Revenues for the 53-week fiscal 2013 were $803.2 million, an increase of 38.1%, versus revenues of $581.7 million for the 52-week Fiscal 2012. The company reported operating income of $44.4 million, a 366.1% increase from $9.5 million the year prior. Net income was $32 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, compared with $45 million, or $1.54 per diluted share.  Excluding the impact of the non-cash tax benefit of the reduction in valuation allowance, net income was $7.3 million, or 25 cents per diluted share. When adjusting for the non-cash tax benefit recorded in fiscal 2012, earnings per share grew by 352% in fiscal 2013.

“Increased consumer and dealer demand for our products drove our exceptional growth in fiscal 2013,” said Winnebago Industries Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts. ”We have introduced a number of new and exciting products in product segments and price points new to Winnebago Industries, which will provide us with additional growth opportunities in the future.

“Many of these products are starting production this fall, such as the new Class B Travato and the new Class C Trend and Viva!, all of which are built on the new Ram ProMaster chassis.  We pride ourselves on being an innovator and first to market, and these are prime examples of that process. We have had six consecutive quarters of increased sales order backlog. We believe this reflects the positive dealer response to our new 2014 model year products.”

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Winnebago Shows ’14 Coach Lines At Pomona

October 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Solei motorhome

Winnebago Industries Inc. is showcasing several new products at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) 61st California RV Show in Pomona, Calif., going on now through Oct. 20, including the Solei 38R, Minnie Winnie 22R, Trend and Travato motorhomes.

According to a press release, the new Solei 38R floorplan is on display for the first time at a retail event. Providing a luxury Class A diesel at an affordable price, the Solei is built on the Freightliner XCS straight-rail chassis with a Cummins 340-hp diesel engine and Allison six-speed transmission delivering the power.

Solei offers ample storage capacity with its Smart Storage and sports several high-end interior amenities, including polished Corian galley countertops, coffee-glazed cabinetry, upscale entertainment features and LED lighting.  The 38R features two slideout rooms with an exceptional bath-and-a-half floorplan. A rear master suite provides a private rear bathroom and a queen-size bed with large wardrobe and a 28-inch HDTV that flips down from the ceiling for easy viewing.

The 38R also includes a Flex Bed system that provides bunk beds, wardrobe, or converts into a dinette. Also standard are a half bath, Comfort sofa sleeper, BenchMark dinette with Dream Dinette table, full-featured galley with pantry and residential refrigerator, and large 50-inch LED HDTV above the optional fireplace.

Also debuting at the show is the new Minnie Winnie 22R Class C built on the Ford E350 chassis. The 22R provides “great function and full amenities in a compact size,” the company stated. With a rear corner bed, and U-shaped dinette that folds into a bed and overhead cab bed, the 22R has the ability to sleep up to six people. The 22R also features a large wardrobe and large exterior rear trunk storage.

The Pomona Show is also the first West Coast showing of the new Trend and Travato. Winnebago Industries is the first to build a Class C motorhome on the Ram ProMaster chassis with the world renowned V6 Pentastar gas engine and 9,350-pound GVWR. The coach features six air bags in the cab for added safety, and best-in-class cab ergonomics and visibility.  The affordable new Winnebago Trend delivers fuel efficiency and comfortable living space for up to six people. Both 24-foot floorplans feature a powered StudioLoft bed that lifts tight to the ceiling to conserve space during the day. Other features include energy-saving LED lighting and available Ultraleather furniture.

The Trend features industry-leading three-point seat belts in the dinette. The 23B floorplan offers front swivel cab seats, a sofa/bed and dinette, a large, full-featured mid-coach galley and rear bath. Two large sleeping spaces provide comfortable sleeping for four adults with the queen size front loft bed and a king size Flex Bed System. The 23L also features swivel cab seats expanding the living area of the motorhome, as well as a forward-facing dinette on the driver’s side and a side-facing dinette bench seat on the curb side of the unit. Together these comfortable seating spaces convert into one convenient sleeping space.  Additional sleeping space is available with the rear corner bed and front Studio Loft bed.  A mid-coach L-shaped galley is full featured and has a forward facing sink.

The Travato is the latest Class B motorhome to join the Winnebago Touring Coach lineup, also built on the Ram ProMaster chassis. At just under 21 feet long, the Travato is agile while also providing fuel efficiency. Features include swivel cab seats, LED ceiling lights, standard touch-screen navigation and a split dinette. The Travato is the only product in its industry segment to provide a 3-point seat belt harness for passengers in the dinette.

The innovative 59G floorplan features a rear double bed that is designed to flip up out of the way to allow for large items like bicycles to be stored securely inside and making them easily accessible through the large double doors at the rear of the coach. The Flex Bed system allows for additional sleeping in the front of the unit as well.

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