RV manufacturer Winnebago to suspend production due to coronavirus

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(WNDU, AP) A major player in the RV industry announced Monday that it will suspend production due to the coronavirus

Photo: Winnebago Industries

The move will idle some 5,500 workers nationwide at companies owned by Winnebago.

That includes some 3,200 workers in Elkhart County at Grand Design RV, Chris-Craft and Newmar.

“Newmar means a lot in our community,” said Jeff Kitson with the Nappanee Chamber of Commerce. “Shutting down Newmar is definitely going to hurt our local economy.”

When asked if any local workers had tested positive for the virus, a Winnebago spokesman said the production suspension was “preemptive.”

The suspension will start this week and run through April 12.

Workers will receive base pay and benefits for two weeks.

“As far as businesses shutting down, what do you do in a situation where one infects two, two to four and four to eight,” Kitson said. “Kudos to those business leaders that are willing to step up and say we are going to protect our employees over our bottom line.”

Original Story:

RV and boat manufacturer Winnebago Industries says it is suspending production due to the spread of coronavirus.

The Forest City, Iowa-based company has production facilities in Elkhart County, as well as in Iowa, Oregon, Minnesota and Florida.

The company, which employees about 5,000 people, makes motor homes, travel trailers and boats under the Winnebago, Grand Design, Newmar and Chris-Craft brands.

The company says remote retail support for dealers, along with technical care, warranty administration and parts fulfillment activities, will continue.

Production will stop this week and remain idle through April 12.

The company will provide base pay and benefits for two weeks.

From Winnebago Industries, Inc.:

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WGO) today announced it will be temporarily suspending most production activities at the Company’s Winnebago, Grand Design RV, Newmar, and Chris-Craft facilities. This action is in response to the national spread of the coronavirus, the national emergency associated with the virus, and unforeseeable change in business circumstances that have accompanied it. These steps are designed to lower the probability of coronavirus exposure to employees and adjust future production output relative to a fast-changing demand landscape for the Company’s products. Winnebago Industries and its businesses will remain open and perform essential activities for its dealers and end customers, including remote retail support for dealers, along with technical care, warranty administration, and parts fulfillment. Each of the Company’s businesses will suspend production during the week of March 23rd and based on present conditions, the manufacturing suspension is currently anticipated to last through April 12th.

“As this global situation continues to rapidly evolve, our top priority is the health and well-being of our employees, business partners, customers and communities,” said Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe. “We are also seeing demand for our products shift dramatically as the nation takes appropriate action to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This decision is not an easy one, but we are confident it is in the best interests of all our stakeholders. During this time, we will remain flexible with operations that can provide products related to the support of mobile health care, command centers and other logistical needs that local, state and Federal resources may require during this crisis.”

To support employees and their families affected by this temporary production suspension, the Company is providing base pay and benefits for the first two weeks.

“As we take precautionary measures in the best interest of both our employees’ health and our long-term business prospects, we remain confident in the strength of our balance sheet and in our cash position to allow us to provide the appropriate pay and benefits to our employees and weather a period of business interruption from this health crisis,” Happe continued.

Winnebago Industries will continue to monitor this situation very closely and is committed to executing contingency plans that ensure a safe work environment for employees and disciplined production strategies that benefit the Company and its channel partners before resuming full operations.

About Winnebago Industries
Winnebago Industries, Inc. is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles under the Winnebago, Grand Design, Newmar and Chris-Craft brands, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities. The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheel products and boats. Winnebago Industries has multiple facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, Minnesota and Florida. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and traded under the symbol WGO. For access to Winnebago Industries' investor relations material or to add your name to an automatic email list for Company news releases, visit http://investor.wgo.net.