The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Wed Sep 7, 2016
Winnebago Industries has begun operations at its new West Coast Production facility in Junction City, Oregon, in an effort for the company to expand its operations to build more type A diesel motorhomes.
The company’s expansion is estimated to be between $15-20 million, including the land, buildings, renovations, production equipment and technology infrastructure.
John Millis, the Junction City facility’s new General Manager, says the land acquired during the expansion totals 41 acres, 27 of which are developed with about 270,000 square feet of interior space. The other 14 acres are undeveloped, but can be used to build more facilities if and when the company needs them.
The new buildings will be mainly used for producing higher-end diesel products, such as the company’s Grand Tour, Touring and Journey Products, while across First Avenue is a service department that works with the Winnebago customers at the time.
“Winnebago’s immediate plan is to build higher-end diesel products,” Millis says. “This facility was formerly the Country Coach manufacturing facility for many years, so the facility itself was designed to some extent for diesel pushers, exactly the type of product we will be building.”
The new expansion was agreed to because of the increase the company saw in customer demand for the type A diesel motorhomes and company officials felt it was the right situation and the right time to make the purchase.
“An increase in consumer demand for our motorhomes taxed the Forest City facility’s ability to keep up and caused us to look elsewhere to find a location that had sufficient labor capacity to meet those demands, Winnebago Vice President of Sales and Product Management Scott Degnan said in December. “We are pleased to be expanding our operations and look forward to the increased production and service presence this new facility will provide on the west coast.
“This purchase is part of Winnebago’s ongoing strategy to further solidify the company as a leader in the RV industry for years to come. As part of the facility purchase, Winnebago also acquired the intellectual property rights associated with Country Coach and we intend to revive that brand as part of the planned use of the new facility.”
The Junction City building currently employs 75 people, but with the other plants in the surrounding area, the West Coast Production facilities could employ up to 300 people, Millis says. Of the 75 current employees, only Millis relocated from Iowa, where he previously served as the product manager for type A diesel motorhomes.
“We are under pretty high labor constraints in North Iowa,” Millis says. “The folks here in Oregon have an existing high-level, specifically diesel pusher experience in this area. Right now, our plans are to hire as many of these experienced craftsmen in this area.”
While the facility already is producing as of a few months ago, it still is not up to full production, since many of the tools and equipment is still in transit from Iowa and other parts of the country. But once everything is in place, the building and the employees have the tools and capacity to produce 1,000 units per year, contingent upon the market conditions.
“Many of the parts we’re using are still coming to us and we’re assembling and training folks here how to build a Winnebago style. It’s a little different than others,” Millis says. “What’s holding us back from escalating our process is waiting on large fixtures and tools that we will utilize here. We are very exact and highly tooled in how we build our motorhomes. We’re not going to do it any other way.”