Winnebago Slump Signals Economic Downturn

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Bloomberg reports that recreational vehicle manufacturer Winnebago is about to announce that shipments fell for the first time in six years. The downturn reflects an industry-wide slump, indicating that the U.S. economy (including the new car market) is, as predicted, headed for the doldrums. "For the past three decades, deliveries of motor homes and travel trailers have dropped before each decline in the U.S. economy, giving the $15 billion industry a reputation as a bellwether." This time 'round, Winnebago is going down fighting. The company is unveiling more fuel efficient models, including one that can get 22mpg (highway, tail-wind). Meanwhile, Thor brand's Chief Operating Officer isn't about to concede defeat. "The industry is definitely not immune to macroeconomic factors," Dicky Riegel admitted. But with 11k Americans turning fifty each day, Riegel reckons "we still have the demographic wind at our back." [thanks to starlightmica for the link]

Robert Farago
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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Nov 29, 2007

    This I believe: Winnebago hits paydirt when they make an RV based on the Prius. :)

  • Slow_Joe_Crow Slow_Joe_Crow on Nov 29, 2007

    @jthorner The economics still pan out if your campsite is substantially cheaper than a hotel. RVs are very popular in the UK where gas is $8 a gallon. OTOH they use some very small RVs.

  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Nov 29, 2007
    This I believe: Winnebago hits paydirt when they make an RV based on the Prius. :) Sajeev: Why couldn't they? Most of the transit busses in this area are running on natural gas. A hybrid electric system couldn't be that much more difficult.
  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Nov 29, 2007

    GM should license out there 2 mode hybrid mated to an efficient V6 or even better a turbo diesel 6. If they don't make it gargantuan it could be more efficient than the Tahoe hybrid joke.