The year 1958 brought some high-tech firsts: the first microchip, the first passenger jet to Europe, and the first satellite. It’s fitting that the RV brand known for engineering was born that year too. Called Modernistic Industries for its first three years, the company in Forest City, Iowa soon took a new name: Winnebago. Since producing its first $895 Aljo travel trailer in 1958, Winnebago has shaped America’s RV industry one game-changing model at a time. Here are some highlights:
The nation was stunned by 9/11, but business slowly recovered. By 2004, Winnebago was the top-seller in both Class As and Class Cs, and the “most admired RV manufacturer,” according to RVBusiness magazine. The company went on to expand every category with new models:
- The Ultimate Freedom and Ultimate Advantage, two top-of-the-line diesel pushers;
- The Vista and Sunstar, two affordable Class As that remain category leaders.
- The View and Navion, two Class Cs, and the first North American motorhomes built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis; and
- The Era, a fuel-efficient Class B van also built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.
2010 to Now
Winnebago emerged from the Great Recession determined to thrive. In the last eight years, it’s expanded Class A diesel production, and acquired two companies (Sunnybrook RV and Grand Design) to make a big return to towables.
In 2014, the Winnebago Travato rolled out, based on a Dodge Ram ProMaster chassis. Together, the Era and Travato have catapulted Winnebago to the top of the B-van market.
Winnebago enters its seventh decade with the introduction of four revolutionary models for a growing customer base — the rugged 4x4 Class B Revel, the contemporary Horizon diesel pusher, the user-friendly Class A Intent, and the lightweight Minnie Plus fifth wheel.
As the next chapter dawns, RVs are certain to evolve, and based on its track record of 60 years, Winnebago will lead the way with new options for work, travel, live, and play.