History

In 1958 a businessman John J. Hanson convinced a California company to open a Travel Trailer factory in Forest City. After a shaky start to the company, the operation was purchased by five Forest River residents of which John J. Hanson became the president. In 1960 the name of the company was changed and became Winnebago Industries.

Winnebago then manufactured furniture and other components that were designed specifically for its travel trailers, and by doing this improved the quality of its products.

In 1963 a wall construction process called thermo-panel was developed. This new construction provided a very strong and light insulated wall construction. By using these construction methods the company’s sales increased, although at this time Winnebago were only producing Travel Trailers.

During 1966 the first Motorhome was produced from the Winnebago production line. At this time, Winnebago Industries with its production line, alongside other manufacturing innovations were able to produce a Motorhome for half its competitor’s costs. Once again, helping the company to grow.

In 1970 Winnebago moved to a new factory and was then listed on the New York stock exchange. The Winnebago Industries stock price increased by 462% in 1971, more than any other company on the stock exchange.

The Winnebago Itasca was introduced in 1975, then in 1977 Winnebago Industries built its 100,000 units, the first RV manufacturer to achieve this, and so the story of success continued.

Its sales in 1984 totalled $411 million. In 1986 the company celebrated 20 years of Motorhome production, the first RV manufacturer to reach this milestone, with the production of 200,000 Motorhomes.

During 1989 a state of the art testing facility was completed. Their best year so far was 2004 with record revenues of $1.1 billion and production of approximately 12,500 units; this was as the U.S. economy peaked.

In 2008 Winnebago celebrated its 50th year with a production total of 400,000 units, and the introduction of The Era Class B Motorhome brand. If that wasn’t enough, Winnebago purchased Sunny Brook RV in December 2010, re-entered the towable (5th wheel) market for the first time since 1983.