RV INDUSTRY: Winnebago has record year

Sam Jefson, public relations specialist at Winnebago, shows off the company’s new Class C RV, the Vita, while at the company’s C.R. 15 facility during opening day of the 2018 Elkhart RV Open House in September.

FOREST CITY, Iowa — Winnebago Industries Inc. on Monday announced it will be suspending most production activities at the company’s Winnebago, Grand Design RV, Newmar and Chris-Craft facilities in response to COVID-19. The suspension by each of the companies begins this week and is expected to last through April 12.

In a statement released to the media, Winnebago officials said, to support employees and their families affected by this temporary production suspension, the company will be providing base pay and benefits for the first two weeks.

“As we take precautionary measures in the best interest of both our employees’ health and our long-term business prospects, we remain confident in the strength of our balance sheet and in our cash position to allow us to provide the appropriate pay and benefits to our employees and weather a period of business interruption from this health crisis,” Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe said.

Winnebago Industries and its businesses will remain open and perform essential activities for its dealers and end customers, including remote retail support for dealers, along with technical care, warranty administration and parts fulfillment, the release reads.

Company officials said, these steps are designed to lower the probability of coronavirus exposure to employees and adjust future production output relative to a fast-changing demand landscape for the company’s products.

“As this global situation continues to rapidly evolve, our top priority is the health and well-being of our employees, business partners, customers and communities,” Happe said. “We are also seeing demand for our products shift dramatically as the nation takes appropriate action to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This decision is not an easy one, but we are confident it is in the best interests of all our stakeholders. During this time, we will remain flexible with operations that can provide products related to the support of mobile health care, command centers and other logistical needs that local, state and Federal resources may require during this crisis.”

Winnebago officials said they will continue to monitor this situation closely and are committed to executing contingency plans that ensure a safe work environment for employees and disciplined production strategies that benefit the company and its channel partners before resuming full operations.

Winnebago builds motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheel products and boats and has multiple facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, Minnesota and Florida.

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