Updated story — Winnebago announces plans to move diesel motorhome production back to Forest City, add 175 jobs
Winnebago Industries has announced plans to shift production of diesel motorhome manufacturing from its Junction City, Oregon plant to its manufacturing campus in Forest City.
Company spokesman Chad Reese says the transition consolidates and centralizes the company’s diesel motorhome business to a single location. “A lot of it involves inefficiency — the ability we think to build more efficiently from a design, production and other things, all those diesel pusher products. We can certainly build a diesel a high quality product in Oregon, but as we look at this and the strategy for the future, we believe that we can become a better diesel pusher supplier by facilitating here out of Forest City,” according to Reese.
The move is already underway. He says they will continue the move into the fourth quarter of 2019, which will take them into the fall. Expenses are related to the move are expected to negatively impact both the third and fourth quarter fiscal earnings per share by an estimated two cents per share. However, in 2020, it is expected to generate an incremental income benefit of nearly four million dollars leading into 2021.
The Oregon facility currently employs 250 workers and that will be trimmed to 30 people who will work in an aftermarket and R-V parts support facility. The Forest City Winnebago plant is expected to add 175 positions to the assembly side by the end of 2020. “As business changes, you know that could go up,” Reese says, “But obviously those are the numbers that we think are accurate and evaluate where we are going to be at that point.”
Reese says the company is very proud to move the diesel motorhome manufacturing back to Forest City. “Forest City is our home base…we started here, so we have a rich tradition of can do and entrepreneurial spirit here. And with that, it’s going to be exciting to have a little bit more activity here as we continue to grow our company. And I think that is exciting for all of us,” Reese says.
The diesel motorhomes involved are known as Class A, and are roughly the size of a bus.