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Winnebago Industries Inc.’s new motorhome assembly plant in Charles City, Iowa, will not go into production until sometime after Jan. 1, but the company already is training over 50 employees of the new plant at its headquarters operation in Forest City, Iowa, according to Sheila Davis, a company spokeswoman.
Construction of the new factory, which will increase Winnebago’s output capacity by 30%, is on schedule, Davis added.
The new factory, which will produce Class C motorhomes at the outset, will eventually employ 350 to 375 people, raising Winnebago’s work force in Charles City to around 650.
Winnebago already has a kitchen cabinet production and diesel pusher motorhome assembly plants in Charles City, which is about 65 miles east of Forest City.
Winnebago looked to expand outside of Forest City because it believes it has exhausted the supply of available labor in the Forest City area. The company employs around 3,200 people in Forest City, a town with a population of around 5,000.
Meanwhile, Charles City is far enough away to draw from a different labor pool but it is close enough to Forest City to make logistics simple.
In another development related to Winnebago’s operations, Carrera Designs Inc., an Elkhart, Ind.-based provider of motorhome exterior body painting services, now is operating its new plant in Forest City serving Winnebago, Davis said.
Additionally, Winnebago’s Board declared on Thursday (Oct. 10) a 10 cents a share cash dividend payable Jan. 6 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 6. The board of the New York Stock Exchange-listed company agreed to pay the dividend because of its “confidence in the company and its continued strength within the RV industry.”