Winnebago Industries Inc. is looking for its new Class C lineup to boost the company’s market share in the growing minimotorhome sector.
On Wednesday (Dec. 15), Winnebago announced record revenues and earnings for its first quarter of fiscal 2005, ended Nov. 27, bolstered by strong performance from the company’s Class A diesel motorhomes. Class C shipments, however, showed a decline to 903 units for the three-month period compared with 1,091 units delivered last year.
“Our Class C’s have not been doing as well as our Class A’s,” said Bruce Hertzke, chairman, president and CEO of the Forest City, Iowa company. “As a company, we are focused on developing product that will help us grow our Class C market share.”
Winnebago debuted the gas-engine Cambria and Aspect as part of its 2005 model-year introduction. At the 42nd Annual National RV Show in Louisville, the company unveiled the diesel-powered 2006 Winnebago View and Itasca Navion, built on Dodge Sprinter cutaway chassis and slated to be in production in the spring.
“We are very pleased with the performance of our Cambria and Aspect,” Hertzke said. “And with the introduction of the new Winnebago View and Itasca Navion, we will continue to pursue Class C market share.”
In a conference call with investors, Senior Vice President and CFO Ed Barker also addressed the carryover effect caused by the spate of hurricanes that hit the Southeast this summer.
“For our first quarter, shipments to Florida were down 20.7%,” Barker said. “As a whole, the Southeast sector was down 19.3% for the quarter. Although Florida was down for the entire quarter, we did see a rebound by the southeast states in November.”
Hertzke maintained that Winnebago was “very optimistic about the future,” and reported that the company had $101.3 million in cash for growth. With regard to possible expansion, Hertzke left the door open concerning a possible move out of the company’s home base in Iowa.
“We will wait until the market dictates expansion,” he said. “We are keeping those plans open-ended, and we have not determined a location, if any, for expansion at this time.”