The Middlebury, Ind.-based towables division of Winnebago Industries hosted a luncheon and new-product showcase for the Winnebago International Traveler Towable Club (WIT TOWS) Thursday (July 11) at its soon-to-open 110,000-square-foot Plant 6 manufacturing facility. Attendees of the WIT TOWS Club 2019 rally came to the plant from nearby Eby’s Pines campground, where the club is camped for its annual weeklong event.
“While they are in town we invited them to come over for lunch, a 2020 product preview and plant tours,” Scott Degnan, vice president of Winnebago’s towable division, told RVBUSINESS.com. “We are going to walk them through where their coaches are built in our facilities. This plant (6) will open and be in production in the next couple of months. It was finished six months ago.”
Degnan also shared that Winnebago service technicians are available to the club to help fine-tune and repair some of their coaches at Eby’s Pines.
“Our motorized group is huge as it has been around for many years, and our towable group is still growing,” said Degnan of the gathering of almost 100 coaches. He noted that the company entered the towable scene after the purchase of Sunny Brook RV in 2010 and really began full production of its current towable products in 2016 — a lineup that includes four travel trailer lines, two fifth-wheel brands and the Spyder toy hauler travel trailer.
New Winnebago products showcased to owners included a new dual-axle Minnie Drop 210RBS modified teardrop, a Micro Mini 2108DS travel trailer with an off-road package that includes 15-inch wheels and a lift kit, and a new configuration of its rear-galley Micro Minnie 2405RG lightweight fifth-wheel.
“This little Micro Minnie fifth-wheel was runner-up for the RVBusiness RV of the Year,” Degnan pointed out. “It’s the only fifth-wheel in the market that can be towed by a mid-sized truck, like a Chevy Colorado. It’s in the 5,000-pound (UVW) range, so it is really a true half-ton towable fifth-wheel. And although we don’t have it in the building here, because they have all been shipped to our dealers, we also have a new Spyder toy hauler.”
Speaking to the group about the Winnebago family prior to the luncheon, Degnan said that “we believe that ‘building culture’ is a strategy. If you have the right culture, the right team, the right group, then you can figure out the strategy. We spend a lot of time on building the right service culture for you. At the end of the day it’s the people and the company that stand behind the product. If you are treated the right way, you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself and your RV.”
Coming from Maine to Florida and across the Midwest, club members posed several questions to the management team including how the RV towable group rates within the company after Winnebago purchased Grand Design, Western-based Country Coach and boat builder Chris-Craft.
Degnan explained that because Winnebago Industries is a publically traded company it does not report its holdings that way, but he assured the group that its RV products constitute a significant piece of the overall holdings.
“We report motorhome division and towable, which is a blend of Winnebago and Grand Design,” he said. “A category that is called ‘other’ is Chris-Craft and our specialty vehicles. Just a rough estimate, the towable division is about 60% of the total. Motorhomes is about 35% and other is 5%. So our commitment to RV is very strong.”