A decade after the Great Recession decimated the RV industry in Oregon’s Lane County, an iconic RV name has re-emerged as one of the region’s largest players.
Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc. capitalized on the collapse of Country Coach, paying $9 million for the Junction City company’s intellectual property and large manufacturing plant in late 2015 as Winnebago expanded to the West Coast.
Since then Winnebago retooled and reopened the Junction City factory and has been assembling two of its diesel motorized RV models there: the Grand Tour 45RL and, since last fall, the Horizon RV.
Winnebago officials late last year said the company employed 250 people in Junction City, making it Lane County’s largest RV manufacturer after Marathon Coach in Junction City.
But more than two years into operation, the Junction City plant appears to be a financial drag for Winnebago, executives with the publicly traded company said while discussing Winnebago’s latest profits in a June 20 conference call.
“While we are still facing headwinds on the startup at our West Coast production facility, and new product startup costs (at Winnebago headquarters), we’ve made steady progress over the last two (fiscal) quarters,” Winnebago Chief Financial Officer Bryan Hughes said.
Overall, Winnebago posted 18% revenue growth, 21% gross profit growth and 39% operating income growth at the May 26 close of the company’s third quarter of its fiscal year compared to a year ago, Hughes told investors and analysts.
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