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Winnebago Trend Earns RVB’s Top Debut Honor

December 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago's Class C Trend

Winnebago Industries Inc. earned a “Top 2014 RV Debut” from RVBusiness Magazine for the company’s Winnebago Trend Class C motorhome.

“Just as the North American RV industry itself continues its impressive recovery, the compact, 9,350-pound GVWR Trend and Viva! companion lines of Class C motorhomes offer living proof that the RV industry is also regaining its edge in terms of authentically new and creative product development, said RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “The Trend, Viva! and Winnebago’s new Travato Class B van camper, each built on Chrysler’s Ram ProMaster chassis, should serve the industry well in attracting the next generation of motorhome buyers.”

“We agree wholeheartedly with RVBusiness’ recognition of the Trend,” said Winnebago Vice President of Sales and Product Management Scott Degnan. “The Trend and the Viva!, are true game changers. They are fuel-efficient, unique and innovative motorhomes that we believe will take the industry by storm. We are excited to receive recognition by RVBusiness and look forward to the great success we believe the Trend and Viva! will have in the marketplace.”

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’14 Motorized Products Boost Winnebago Profits

December 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago's Randy Potts

Reflecting a marked rebound in the motorhome marketplace and heightened demand for a series of new product rollouts, Winnebago Industries Inc. reported that the company had shipped 2,005 motorized units during its fiscal first quarter.

“Our dealer network confidence continues to grow, which validates our belief that our motorized product introductions are being well received,” stated Randy Potts, chairman, president and CEO of the Forest City, Iowa-based builder, during a conference call today (Dec. 19).

Revenue improved 15% to $222.7 million during the first quarter while net income soared 51% to $11.1 million. Potts noted that “we believe we are well positioned to deliver these type of results in the future.”

Interestingly, as reported by Vice President/CFO Sarah Nielsen, the average motorhome selling price decreased during the quarter as Winnebago diversifies its offerings with an expanded focus on Class B and Class C product. A breakdown showed that Class B shipments rose 12 units to 102 while Class C’s increased 370 units to 796 – a total that includes a larger than normal rental unit total. Class A gas and diesel also showed gains, up 90 and 52 units respectively.

Accordingly the company is stepping up production, including utilization of the recently acquired former Cummins Inc. plant in nearby Lake Mills that is housing Class B production.

“We are busy to the point where we are working over the holidays,” Potts said, noting that Winnebago had scheduled four additional days in December. “This is very unusual for us, but we are focused on delivering product to our dealers in timely fashion.”

Included in the additional work hours is Winnebago’s “large rental order” that was also reflected in a motorhome backlog that ballooned to 3,534 unit compared to 2,118 in the prior first quarter. It represented the fifth straight quarter that Winnebago’s backlog had increased.

“We had previously indicated that we were going after the rental business, and we are very happy with the results,” said Potts, adding that he couldn’t go into specifics as far as the size of the order or the client. “We have to be careful in the rental business because there is a lot of pressure on margins, which is the main reason we haven’t been a big player in the past. But we have arranged a deal that allows both parties to conduct business. Deliveries will be going out in the spring, so we will be busy to that point.”

Nielsen reported that Winnebago was also experiencing strong Class A gas demand, although chassis shipment still remained problematic. “We anticipate more chassis late in the second quarter,” she said.

The only “red area” for Winnebago continues to be its towable interests, which lost $400,000 operationally for the quarter. The company entered the towable arena with the acquisition of SunnyBrook RV Inc. in late 2010.

“The current state of our towable business is not where we expected to be,” Potts said. “We continue to work toward improving results. It’s a big market with a lot of opportunity.”

He noted that Winnebago’s strategy was more in line with successful, smaller builders, opting not to battle in the trenches for overall market share but rather find niches that don’t directly compete in those high-volume segments.

“Our goal is to make our towable interests a profit-generating part of our business,” Potts said. “When we achieve that, we will have a discussion of how we can grow.”

He added, “We have seen that there are acquisition opportunities out there. But, again, we have not chosen to go that direction until we get all the pieces right.”

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Winnebago on a Roll; 1Q Income Sees 51% Gain

December 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Continued demand for motorhomes coupled with “firmer pricing” to protect margins helped fuel a robust first quarter for Winnebago Industries Inc., as the company reported a 50.8% gain in net income on 15% growth in revenue.

Sales for the 13-week fiscal first quarter, ended Nov. 30, were $222.7 million, compared with $193.6 million for the 14-week first quarter of fiscal 2013. The company reported operating income of $16 million for the quarter, an increase of 60.9% from $9.9 million a year ago, while net income was $11.1 million, or 40 cents per diluted share, compared with $7.4 million, or 26 cents per diluted share.

The Forest City, Iowa-based builder said earnings in the quarter were positively impacted by increased motorhome volumes as a result of higher dealer and retail consumer demand. Also in the quarter, shipping terms were revised to reflect delivery FOB Forest City to conform to standard industry practice which positively impacted shipments. The increased production and delivery volumes, along with firmer pricing, strong demand for new products and lower operating expense, provided more leverage that resulted in higher operating margins, net income and earnings per share as compared to the same quarter last year.

“Our strong first quarter results are a reflection of our dedicated team running the business well,” said Winnebago Chairman, CEO and President Randy Potts. “Everyone’s hard work and creativity contributes to the success of our business. We are keeping our fixed costs low, while continuing to grow our business with new and innovative products.”

He added, “New product entries in both motorized and towable categories displayed at the recent National RV Show in Louisville, Ky., were very well received, with the Winnebago Trend named as a “2014 Top RV Debut” by RV Business Magazine. We plan to continue to bring new and innovative products to market and believe we have tremendous growth opportunities ahead. In addition to our new products, the backlog reflects a large rental order to be delivered primarily in our third fiscal quarter, which is incremental to our normal rental business.”

“We will continue to make investments in working capital,” said Winnebago Vice President, CFO Sarah Nielsen. “Production increased 27% in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to same period last year and 11% sequentially from the fourth quarter last year based on improved demand. A key component to our investment in working capital is the need for additional inventory to support the higher production rates.”

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RV Trader, Winnebago Debuting Dealer Program

December 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV Trader and Winnebago Industries Inc. jointly announced the launch of a real-time inventory tool to assist customers searching for RVs on Winnebagoind.com sites: GoWinnebago.com, GoItasca.com, WinnebagoTouring.com, WinnebagoTowables.com and SunnyBrookRV.com.

According to a press release, when a consumer browses RVs on Winnebago websites, the new search tool will display a dealer’s inventory, product photos and MSRP, as determined by the local dealer. This new feature displays the inventory directly from RV Trader.com, enabling the consumer to quickly and easily locate the exact Winnebago, Itasca, Winnebago Touring Coach or SunnyBrook model they are searching for. This results in faster turn-around times and more leads for Winnebago dealers, the company said.

“This is a terrific program for our dealers and ultimately our customers,” said Winnebago Marketing and Sales Promotion Manager Kelli Harms. “Customers can find their closest dealer quickly and simultaneously view their inventory of that particular model without leaving the website. This partnership with RV Trader is a true ‘win-win,’ and we are excited to promote it to our motorized and towable dealers.”

“This is a feature that will bring the buyer and seller together seamlessly,” said Tim Custer, general manager of RV Trader. “Consumers will now be able to view local dealer inventory with the click of a button.”

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Winnebago Announces Several New Promotions

December 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bob Bloomingdale

Tom Larson

Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. announced several recent promotions, according to a press release. Promotions include:

• Bob Bloomingdale has been promoted to project engineer with responsibilities of supervising the design of Class A gas motorhomes.  A 24-year veteran of Winnebago, Bloomingdale has previously worked in various engineering positions, including CAD/CAM systems analyst, test lab supervisor and product designer. Bloomingdale is a native of Northwood, Iowa, and graduated from Minnesota State University (formerly Mankato State University), Mankato, Minn. with a bachelor’s engineering technology,

• Tom Larson has been promoted to cost accounting manager, with responsibilities for overseeing the cost accounting and inventory accounting departments. Larson is a 30-year veteran of Winnebago, where he has served in various accounts payable and cost accounting positions. Larson is a native of Forest City.

Tony Mikes

• Anthony Mikes has been promoted to senior buyer for Winnebago. Mikes is a 15-year veteran of Winnebago and has served in a variety of positions, including security, manufacturing, quality control and manufacturing engineering.  Mikes is a native of West Bend, Iowa, and graduated from Waldorf College, Forest City, with a bachelor’s in finance, marketing and management.  Mikes a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve where he served in the military police.  He serves as a deacon for the Church of Christ, Fertile, Iowa, member and former president of the Waldorf Warriors Booster Club, was recognized by the Mason City Globe Gazette’s “20 under 40,” served as a park commissioner for Forest City Parks and Recreation and was recently elected to serve on the City Council for Forest City.

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Winnebago Will Release 1Q Earnings on Dec. 19

December 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. will issue financials for its fiscal 2014 first quarter, ended Nov. 30, on Dec. 19.

The report will be available no earlier than 6 a.m. CST in the “Investor Relations” section of the company’s website at www.winnebagoind.com/investor.html .

Winnebago will also host a conference call on Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. CST to discuss the financial results for its first quarter. The call may be heard live via the company’s website and also will be archived and available for replay for the next 90 days.

Minimum requirements to listen to the webcast are either Windows Media Player or RealPlayer and at least a 28.8 Kbps connection to the Internet.

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Winnebago Rolls Out Product Array in Louisville

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago rollout at Louisville Show

Winnebago Industries Inc. is showing 64 motorhomes and towable units from its new product lineup, including the first showing for several products and floorplans during the 51st Annual National RV Trade Show, starting today (Dec. 3) in Louisville, Ky.

“As a leader in innovation within the RV industry, we continue to set the bar higher for ourselves each year,” said Winnebago  vice president of sales and product management Scott Degnan. “We are very excited to introduce several new models and floorplans that further cement the industry leading strength of our product lineups. We were also very honored to be presented with the Quality Circle award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) at a special awards ceremony held last night.  This award is a significant indication of our relationship with our dealer partners and their positive regard for the quality of our products and services.  It is extremely gratifying to have received this prestigious award for 18 consecutive years.”

New models include:

• The Destination is Winnebago’s first full-size, luxury fifth-wheel that combines motorhome styling and high-end residential appeal. Exterior features include an aerodynamic exterior front cap design with an air dam for increased wind deflection and optional rear cap with automotive sport styling. Interior amenities include custom hardwood cabinets, entertainment center with 50-inch TV, and an optional fireplace, complete with hearth. The master suite features 6-foot, 9-inch ceilings, an optional “Magic Mirror” mirror/TV design, Flex Bed” system that adjusts the head of the bed for watching TV from a reclining position and a full size, cedar lined, walk-in closet with four large radius shelves.

• The Era 70C is Winnebago’s first Class B to feature a slideout. The Era, built on the 11,030-pound Mercedes-Benz chassis, has best-in-class features such as hot water radiant heat, 5.7 cubic foot three-way double door refrigerator, three-burner cooktop, chrome finish aluminum wheels, 13,500 BTU high-efficiency air conditioner with a 2,800 watt heat strip auxiliary heating unit.  A USB charging station for phones and electronics is featured in the galley, and an exterior storage shower conversion package with adjustable rear storage rack system provides massive storage space for four sets of golf clubs.

• Travato is the newest member of the Winnebago Touring Coach lineup and is the industry’s first Class B built on the new Ram ProMaster chassis with estimated fuel economy of 16-18 mpg highway.  At 20 feet in length, the Travato is agile, while also providing a floorplan that maximizes space and storage. The Travato features a flip-up, rear double bed that allows for large storage items – perfect for bikes or other gear and is the first Class B to feature three-point seat belts in the forward-facing galley seat. Other features include swivel cab seats, efficient LED lighting, touch-screen navigation, fully functional galley, deep wardrobe and a rear wet bath, while the innovative Flex Bed system provides more sleeping space for additional campers.

• With sleeping for up to seven, the Minnie Winnie or Spirit 31K floorplan offers a single slide with U-shaped dinette and lounge sofa/bed. The Class C features a split bath, walk-around queen bed and large rear trunk storage compartment. The 31K and 31KP are available in the Minnie Winnie, Minnie Winnie Premier, Spirit and Spirit Silver model lines and is now available in a new champagne sidewall color.

• The new Trend and Viva! are the first Class Cs in the industry to be built on the new Ram ProMaster chassis, delivering fuel-efficiency and comfortable living space for up to six people at an affordable price. Both 23-foot floorplans feature a powered StudioLoft bed that fits tight to the ceiling to conserve space during the day. Sleek Euro body styling, efficient LED lighting, available soft, easy-to-clean Ultraleather furniture and the industry’s first, three-point seat belts in the dinette are also featured.

• The new Vista 36Y (Class A gas) is making its debut in Louisville.  Vista provides panoramic views with a large front cab windows and a large, passenger side window looking out from the galley island. The triple-slide floorplan also features a StudioLoft drop-down bed in the cab area, new sofa with integrated recliner, three hidden TVs, walk-through bathroom and a luxurious bedroom. The 36Y floorplan is also available in the Sunstar product line.

• The Forza and Solei, new Class A diesel pusher models, offer diesel pusher affordability and can fit in a garage with a 12-foot door. Built on the Freightliner XCS chassis with a Cummins 340-hp diesel engine, the Forza and Solei feature polished Corian galley countertops, coffee-glazed cabinetry, upscale entertainment features and energy-saving LED lighting.

• Winnebago Outdoor is a new brand licensing program that leverages the well-known Winnebago name for products in new categories, including camping gear, apparel and outdoor furniture.

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Winnebago Earns 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards

December 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Winnebago Industries Inc. received notification from MotorHome Magazine that Winnebago Class A and C motorhomes received Readers’ Choice Awards.

According to a press release, MotorHome Magazine said that Winnebago’s Class C motorhomes were named as this year’s Gold winner and the Class A received Silver status in the second annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The Readers’ Choice Awards included many of North America’s most popular motorhomes, campgrounds, RV products and services. Winnebago Industries’ motorhomes was the only recipient to receive this award in the Class C Gold category.

According to a press release, more than 130,000 MotorHome readers were invited to choose from more than 100 brands and cast votes online at www.motorhome.com for their favorites in 26 categories.

“The winners are the best of the best in the RV industry and we thank our loyal readers for participating in this valuable asset to the pages of MotorHome magazine,” MotorHome Publisher Bob Livingston said. “Congratulations to all the winners for being at the top of their game.”

“We are truly honored to be named by the RV consumer as the best in the industry,” said Winnebago Vice President of Sales and Product Management Scott Degnan.  “This is particularly significant as MotorHomeMagazine is the leading retail consumer motorhome magazine in the industry and we were privileged to receive multiple awards in both years of the program’s existence.  We have a tremendous product lineup with new and exciting products and we will continue to strive for excellence in meeting and exceeding consumer expectation in both our products and services.”

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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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