Revenues at Forest City-based RV manufacturer Winnebago Industries are on the uptick. It’s almost entirely because of a move into smaller, less expensive vehicles.
The company known for making large motor homes paid $500 million in October to buy Indiana-based Grand Design Recreational Vehicles. It was part of Winnebago’s expansion into the more affordable tow-along RV market. The purchase is already showing results. Revenues were up 14.5 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, helped by nearly $26 million in sales from Grand Design. The president and CEO who joined Winnebago last January, Michael Happe, says it has been a year of change.
“We have a large new business with Grand Design to integrate, many new leaders to assimilate, a new ERP system to continue to implement, a new West Coast manufacturing location to ramp up,” he says.
Happe calls 2017 a “bridge year” at the company
“But we do believe we are putting the Winnebago train back on the tracks and moving productively forward, hopefully in a net positive way,” he says.
Half of Winnebago’s executive team has changed in the past year, it opened offices in the Twin Cities and moved production of its biggest coaches to the West Coast.