Winnebago Industries will have three divisions manufacturing motorhomes by the end of the company’s fiscal 2024 year.
President and CEO Mike Happe told analysts on a conference call Wednesday that Grand Design would launch a motorhome lineup in the next fiscal year. Happe said prototypes expect to be on display in early 2024 with shipments beginning late in the company’s fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31, 2024.
“These new models will represent the inaugural foray into the motorhome market under one of the most successful RV brands created,” Happe said, “and will be a differentiated and complementary offering to our current Winnebago and Newmar brand motorized businesses.”
Grand Design declined to comment further on the news at this time.
Since launching in 2012, Grand Design RV has expanded its towable line to seven brands, ranging from the high-end Solitude fifth wheel to the stick-and-tin Transcend travel trailer.
Rumors about Grand Design entering motorhome manufacturing have swirled over recent years. Happe said the manufacturer is working diligently to bring the launch to life.
“As we are currently active in product development, standing up the manufacturing infrastructure and our supply chain network and beginning to engage potential dealers for distribution of this new strategy, we wanted to confirm today the increasing positive chatter and rumors in the marketplace,” Happe said. “The excitement surrounding this brand extension is palpable, and we cannot wait to bring these exceptional motorhomes to market, thereby further enriching our portfolio and delighting our valued customers.”
Happe also announced a five-year employment extension for Grand Design President and CEO Don Clark.
“We are thrilled for Don,” he said, “and continue to support and appreciate his contributions to the company.”
Asked whether the new brand would potentially steal market share from Newmar or Winnebago motorhomes, Happe said Grand Design’s motorhomes would not.
“We absolutely believe that the addition of Grand Design motorized into our business strategy will be net incremental to that market share,” he said. “We would not be funding … the investment in this business strategy if it did not have a standalone ROI that was projected to be positive.”
Newmar and Winnebago combined have between an 18% and 20% market share, Happe said. Winnebago and Grand Design leaders have been “very intentional” about minimalizing cannibalization of existing motorized market share, he said.
“The way we attack the market from a dealer standpoint will also be important,” Happe said. “We will be crafting a new Grand Design motorhome dealer network that will consist of some of our existing Grand Design towables dealers, but it will potentially consist of some dealers who do not carry the Grand Design towables line today. Some of these dealers may or may not carry some of our existing motorized brands, Winnebago or Newmar.”
Happe said the motorhome rollout likely will happen over the next two to three years as Grand Design ramps up product development and manufacturing.