Quarterly earnings are down for Winnebago Industries, but leaders of the Forest City-based motor home manufacturer says the industry’s future remains positive.
Winnebago CEO Bruce Hertzke says profits were down due to higher costs incurred during the third-quarter. Hertzke says revenues were up at $11.3 million dollars, down from $13.2 million in the quarter a year ago.
He says there were increased costs for things like materials, labor and health care.
Hertzke says despite the downtown in the economy, the outlook for the RV industry remains upbeat.
He met this week with the company’s chief financial forecaster. According to Hertzke, that update suggests the trends are flat and he says "gas prices, interest rates, consumer confidence, a lot of things that continue to concern people are going to have to be eliminated before we get a very strong market like we had in 2003 and 2004."
Hertzke says gas prices do have an impact on the industry, but most motor home owners are going to keep driving through the summer months. Even with high gas prices, Hertzke says people will still take vacations.
He says the company’s new, smaller RVs are the most fuel-efficient on the market, getting 17 to 19 miles to the gallon, and they’ve been very successful.
Other larger Winnebago RVs have seen sales slip.
Hertzke says despite quarterly earnings being down, this will still turn out to be one of the best years Winnebago has ever had.
Sales increased just over five percent to $231 million, but the higher costs and lower profit margin sales cut profits.