The nation’s top motor home manufacturer is reporting a 51-percent jump in quarterly profits due to higher demand from retail consumers and dealers. Forest City-based Winnebago Industries says production rose 27-percent in the first quarter ending November 30th compared to the same period last year, and 11-percent from the previous quarter.

CEO Randy Potts says they’re benefiting from increasing consumer confidence fueled by a housing market recovery and near-zero interest rates. He says not only do those areas look good, there’s also a bit of a pent-up market for motor homes since the market was depressed for so long, and there’s still a lot of growth potential.

Potts says the higher demand is helped by Winnebago offering a number of different type of motor home products. He says the company covers a lot of sectors of the RV industry, with all of those doing quite well, but in addition, the company has launched some products that are competing in sectors that they weren’t competing in before.

Other new products are creating their own new sectors. He says they didn’t have a product offering in the low-priced diesel pusher motor home segment, and they launched a product in late summer and sales are good. This fall, they’ve launched a product built on a chassis offering that’s new to the United States which will create a very fuel-efficient smaller motor home that’s affordably priced.

Potts says dealer demand continues to be strong as they’re in contact with those dealers year-around about products.  He says they don’t wait until show opportunities to drive their business, and while it’s always good to go to shows like the recent one in Louisville and build relationships with dealers, it’s likely they’ve already seen the new products and they’ve been placing orders.

Winnebago’s net income rose to $11.1 million, or 40 cents per share, from $7.4 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenues for the first quarter rose 15-percent to $222.7 million.

(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)