Winnebago Initiates Production in Oregon

by Wendy on August 31, 2016

by: Dave Barbulesco (

Inheriting a veteran workforce and a 270,000-square-foot manufacturing and service facility, Winnebago Industries Inc. has begun rolling product down the line at the former Country Coach Inc. complex in Junction City, Ore.

The Forest City, Iowa-based builder, which acquired the property and equipment on Dec. 2, 2015, is still in the process of modifying the plant situated on about 41 acres, 27 of which are currently developed. Final plans, set for completion in the second half of 2017, call for full-scale production of select Class A diesel products that will effectively free up space in Forest City to expand manufacture of Winnebago’s Class A gas and Class C motorized lines.

Junction City General Manager John Millis reported to that “the renovations and clean-up are done, and we do have a number of Grand Tour motorhomes that are moving down the line. But production is slow at this point. We’re waiting on some large components and machines, such as chassis fixtures, to be shipped from Iowa that will allow us to build product using the same technology that we employ in Forest City. We are looking at having that equipment early next week.

“From the start we have been committed to not compromising quality in Junction City. We want to build our motorhomes with the same exactitude as we do in Forest City. Once we do get the chassis fixtures in place there will be a period of testing to ensure that we are ready to ramp up our numbers. We are probably looking at robust production toward the end of next year.”

He added, “We are designing the facility to be able to handle 1,000 units a year. Of course, production levels will be dependent on market demand.”

Initially, the Oregon operation will build Winnebago’s Grand Tour, Tour and Journey diesel-powered coaches. “We’re still looking at other lines as we move forward. We certainly have the capacity in Junction City to increase volume,” Millis said.

Long-term, that product mix could include Country Coach-badged motorhomes. “That is certainly very much on the table,” Millis related. “It’s a great product that has very high brand recognition with consumers. Probably in the very near future, we’re going to begin looking at business plans and putting together some proposals. One thing that will be critical in the process is that we want to hear the voice of the Country Coach customers – what they want to see in the next generation of Country Coach motorhomes. If we do make this move, we want to make sure it’s right.”

According to Millis, an immediate focus is Winnebago’s 45-foot Grand Tour – a larger floorplan that has been resonating with consumers.

“We missed out on some business by not having a 45-foot coach in our lineup,” he said. “There is a very high demand right now. A lot of our customers are full-timers or snowbirds and they like the spaciousness of the floorplan. It was a difficult product for us to build in Forest City because of space and we got a little bit behind the eight ball because we couldn’t move quickly on that segment of the market.”

Millis stressed that, at this point, the transition in Junction City has been relatively seamless, primarily due to the concentration of personnel that was not only highly trained in diesel motorhome production but also familiar with the inner workings of the plant.

“The existing workforce is really one of key reasons Junction City had such appeal for Winnebago,” Millis said. “The legacy of products that came out of this region and the heritage of building high-quality diesel motorhomes is still, by and large, in the area.

“I guess that really hit home when we started looking at the people we were hiring. The average level of experience is 14 years. But I guess the thing that really impressed me is just how enthusiastic they were about joining us. I have heard over and over that they feel like they have come home, so that’s pretty special.”


To read the original article, go to Winnebago Initiates Production at Oregon Facility


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: