Winnebago Industries says they’re buying another motorhome manufacturer so they can expand into high-priced, luxury RV sales.
The Forest City-based Winnebago announced this morning that it’s entered into an agreement to acquire Newmar Corporation in Nappanee, Indiana for $344 million. Winnebago president and CEO Michael Happe says Newmar brands of full-sized motorhomes made them attractive to purchase.
“Newmar’s talented leadership team, high-quality dealer network, and premium Class A and Super C offerings will enhance the capabilities and profitability of our motorhome segment. They will expand our overall RV portfolio and footprint in North America, and we anticipate it will drive significant value creation for our employees, customers and shareholders,” Happe says.
Happe says when he was hired as the company’s CEO in 2016 of the goals of the board of directors was to restore Winnebago’s leadership in the motorized RV segment. “With the addition of Newmar’s high-quality brand or portfolio, we are taking a significant step forward towards that goal. At the same time, we remain unwavering in our commitment to the Winnebago brand of RVs as well and making those products more competitive in the market,” Happe says.”We continue to drive growth in Class B and make progress executing operational improvements across the Winnebago brand, and together with Newmar in the future, we will have a formidable lines of high-quality, innovative products across the motorized segment.”
Happe says Newmar gives them a product they don’t currently offer. “Newmar offers six RV models in the $400,000 to one million dollar high-end motorhome segment which is not an area that our Winnebago brand of R-Vs has traditionally played in,” according to Happe. “Newmar’s premium models will serve to nicely extend our reach and add balance across the segment and fill in the gaps where we traditionally have not had a competitive model or presence.”
Happe says the slight slowdown in the RV industry in the last two years hasn’t dimmed his outlook for the industry. “We remain confident of the prospects of the North American RV industry, both in the long-term but also in the short-term. We are extremely realistic about what has happened in the last 18 months, but we are confident that the RV lifestyle is not disappearing and continues to be healthy in many ways, ” Happe says.
He says Newmar will continue to operate as a distinct business within Winnebago Industries with its headquarters and manufacturing facilities remaining in Indiana.
(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)