The first name in camping has become a name for all RVs. Winnebago has been associated with the recreational vehicle industry for over 60 years. Its long and successful history has created a reputation for dependable vehicles that stand the test of time.
In fact, some use the term “Winnebago” to describe just about any RV today.
But we think the company deserves some specific attention! Let’s see what an American institution representing the RV lifestyle looks like from the inside out.
What Is Winnebago?
Winnebago Industries is an outdoor lifestyle company that manufactures recreational vehicles and boats. It makes Class A, B, and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels. Plus it also makes pontoons and powerboats.
Winnebago has been a leading builder of vehicles that travel on land and water for more than 64 years. Their brands include Winnebago RV, Criss-Craft, Newmar, Grand Design RV, and Barletta.
The History of Winnebago
Winnebago got its name from the county that manufactured the first travel trailers. John K. Hanson founded the company in 1958 in Forest City, Iowa. To control costs and improve quality, the company began to make its own furniture for its signature trailers. This quickly became a standard practice.
The first motorhome became available eight years after the company’s founding for half the price of its competitors. This of course made Winnebago RVs instantly popular. Soon Class A models like the Brave and Chieftain were seen around the country. By 1973 the manufacturer had released the Minnie Winnie, a 19’ Class C built on a van chassis.
Over the years, Winnebago has followed the trends in the RV industry like producing large diesel pusher Class A vehicles and smaller travel trailers. They were the first to push a Class B van to center stage with their Travato. It was built on a Dodge Promaster chassis. And their newer van, the Revel, has become the off-road vehicle of choice by many.
The company thinks outside the box by routinely contracting with other manufacturers to create new recreational vehicles. For instance, a joint venture with Volkswagen had Winnebago build the German company’s Rialto model. The two produced a diesel-powered RV that crossed the lines between a Class A and Class B vehicle. You’ll still see several on the road today.
By 2016, Winnebago expanded its recreational vehicle offerings by purchasing the existing brand of Grand Design RV. This added high-quality fifth wheels, toy haulers, and travel trailers to their lineup.
And by 2018, the company moved into powerboats. They bought Chris-Craft, a manufacturer of handcrafted premium boats. The following year Winnebago added the luxury motorcoach brand, Newmar, to its stable. Finally, in 2021 they established pontoon boat builder Barletta as another acquisition.
Did You Know: Winnebago also makes Electric RVs! Learn more about their electric model.
7 Things to Know About Winnebago
With such an established company as Winnebago, sometimes the details get lost in all of the fluff. So we’ve drilled down to the bare necessities to give you seven things to know about America’s most popular RV manufacturer:
1. Who Owns Winnebago?
Winnebago Industries is a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange using the stock symbol WGO. Michael Happe is the current CEO that overseas Winnebago.
They employ over 2,850 people at four manufacturing facilities and administrative offices.
2. Where Are Winnebago Made?
Winnebagos were first manufactured in Forest City, Iowa, within Winnebago County. As their products grew in popularity, the company opened three other assembly line facilities.
These are located in Charles City, Lake Mills, and Waverly, Iowa. Recently, the company moved its headquarters to Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
3. Are Winnebago RVs Good Quality?
Most RVers would agree that Winnebago products are some of the best recreational vehicles today. Because the company began making its own furniture and RV products for its trailers and motorhomes early on, it could control the quality of such additions to each vehicle.
This also helps them keep prices lower than the competition. That practice has continued as the Winnebago lineup has grown. In fact, some consider the brand one of the top three most dependable RV companies.
4. What Type of RVs Does Winnebago Manufacture?
Winnebago produces Class A vehicles with gas and diesel engines. They also make Class B vans with pop-up tops and some luxurious and accessibility-enhanced model. It also makes Class Cs in various sizes and floorplans. And its travel trailers range from 20’ to 38’ long.
5. What Is the Average Cost of a Winnebago?
Depending upon the type of RV purchased, the prices of a Winnebago model can run from $38,000 to well over $450,000. Travel trailers are usually the least expensive.
They have an average MSRP of around $45,000. The Class A motorcoaches start at $175,000 and run to $450,000 before any upgrades. Finally, the Class B vans range from $115,000 to $205,000 without upgrades.
6. What Is the Most Popular Winnebago?
The Winnebago Travato has been the best-selling Class B van for several years. Its popularity stems from its gasoline-powered engine and thoughtful interior design. It has floorplans that include double-duty amenities and built-ins. Due to this, it is the perfect road trip van. It is a great choice for full-time RVing in a small package.
However, a new RV model is inching up the ladder of success. Winnebago’s more recent entry in the Class B market, the Revel, has exploded onto the adventure van sector.
It’s a Sprinter van with a diesel engine. It was built to appeal to travelers who enjoy staying off-grid. Features include bump-outs for more bed space, all-wheel drive, and solar with all the bells and whistles.
7. What Are Winnebago’s Standout Features?
The company has always been known for its customer service and commitment to innovation. Plus, they listen to customer suggestions on design features. This has lead to great additions to newer models. This includes designing more functional interior amenities without taking up more space. In response to full-time travelers, Winnebago created desktops in some of its floorplans.
The craftsmanship on any of their RVs is above the norm, and the company has found a sweet spot in building coaches that allow campers to enjoy the outdoors in a rig that has what they need without what they don’t.
Join The Debate: We compared Winnebago RVs vs Thor RVs to see which is best. Join the conversation now!
Is A Winnebago Worth It?
If you are searching for an RV that will last for years, you can’t go wrong with a Winnebago. These highly functional rigs don’t all have flashy features.
Still, they do provide comfortable living with everything needed for a great camping trip. Your investment in any Winnebago will pay off with years of enjoyable camping.
Are you considering a Winnebago? If so, let us know what questions you have.
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