Peter Liegl founded Forest River in 1996 after serving on Coachmen’s executive team and co-founding another RV manufacturer. Shortly after starting his own company, Liegl bought Cobra Industries’ assets.
Liegl previously co-founded Cobra Industries and worked there from 1985 to 1993 before it went bankrupt. Cobra’s assets served as the foundation for Liegl to start making campers, trailers and other recreational vehicles.
Forest River established Continental Cargo as its second cargo trailer line a year later. The company launched its marine division in 1998 and began making pontoon boats. With the purchase of Firan Motorhomes’ assets the same year, the manufacturer started making Type A motorhomes.
With the company’s continual acquisitions, including that of U.S. Cargo, Starcraft Bus, and Palomino’s assets, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. bought Forest River in 2005. Since, Forest River has acquired Coachmen RV’s assets, Type C motorhome manufacturer Dynamax Corporation and REV Groups’ shuttle bus brands.
Today, Forest River in the United States’ largest towable RV manufacturer and the largest employer in Elkhart, Indiana. The company is the second largest RV manufacturer in North America with an estimated 38 percent market share, though they also make pontoons, buses and commercial trucks.