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Winnebago Industries: Recreational Vehicles

December 8, 2014

Winnebago Industries was founded in 1958 and based in Forest City, Iowa. The history of the company is quite interesting as it was born out of a desire to help a city which was experiencing difficulties. In the mid-1950s the future looked bleak for Forest City, Iowa. The farming economy was down and young people were leaving this rural area.

Concerned community members looked to bringing industry into the area to help revive the local economy. Business John K. Hanson and others convinced a California company to open a travel trailer factory in Forest City in 1958. After a difficulty start the business was purchased by five Forest City residents and John K. Hanson became the president. In 1960 the company name was changed to Winnebago Industries.

To improve quality, Winnebago Industries manufactured furniture and other components designed specifically for its travel trailers. A wall construction process was developed called Thermo-Panel® in 1963. It provides a strong, yet lightweight and well insulated sidewall. Dramatic increase in the company’s sales was due to innovations such as these.

The company was listed in the New York Stock Exchange in 1971.

Today Winnebago Industries, Inc. manufactures and sells recreation vehicles mainly for use in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities. The firm produces motor homes, which are self-propelled mobile dwellings that provide living accommodations and include kitchen, dining, sleeping, and bath areas, as well as a lounge. It also offers travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers.

The firm also provides original equipment manufacturing parts, including extruded aluminum and other component products for other manufacturers. It also offers commercial transit buses to public and private transportation agencies for use in community based transit programs, para transit applications, hospitality shuttles, car rental shuttles, airport shuttles, and other various applications under the trade names Metro, Metro Link, and Metro connection.

The company sells its products primarily under the Winnebago brand name through independent dealers in the United States and Canada.


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