Winnebago Industries company was founded in February, 1958 in the city Forrest City, Uinnebago's district, the State of Iowa, the businessman by the name of John K. Hanson. At that time the town endured recession in economy, and the group of local businessmen pushed by the Californian company Modernistic Industries decided to open plant on production of road trailers here to recover local economy.
Right after the end of world war John Hanson noticed that popularity of trailers among tourists significantly increased. Before appealing to trustees on industrial development about creation of plant, Hanson got two trailers to learn about the developing type of transport personally more. In October, 1957 the board of trustees took vote concerning John's idea, and Hanson became the chairman of committee on searches of the territory under new plant.
Having held three-day negotiations and having paid to a community Forrest City 20 thousand dollars, John Hanson began the business, having called the new company Forest City Industries. The board of directors of firm included the president Paul Kars, the secretary Bob Smith and John Hanson as the treasurer. Also the contract with the Modernistic Industries company which too made trailers, that Forest City Industries became subsidiary of the Californian company was signed. In Forrest City Aljo trailer model from Modernistic began to be made for the market of the Midwest under the leadership of experts from California.
The plant began the work in the State of Iowa on January 29, 1958, and the first trailer descended from the conveyor in the middle of March. This trailer was designed for five people, had kitchen, chairs inside and cost 895 dollars. Demand for the first-born of production was very high, and inhabitants Forrest City decided that the factory needs to be redeemed from Californians that would create the competition of Modernistic Industries. Such situation didn't satisfy management of Modernistic Industries which head was K. T. Makkiri at all.
Production of the Aljo model was stopped before celebration of Day of Workers (the first Monday of September in the USA), and further in September, 1959 when was planned to begin release of new models, the plant wasn't open again. It was connected with that after completion of negotiations with local authorities in February, 1959 the decision on creation of new plant Forest City Industries was made, money for which creation gave five local businessmen. To them John Hanson in a consequence suggested to head plant. The former enterprise operated by Modernistic Industries functioned till 1960. At the end of the existence the company totaled 17 employees. And on February 28, 1961 the Forest City Industries firm was renamed into Winnebago Industries, Inc.
In two years the Winnebago Industries company became the largest producer of trailers on the continent. The areas belonging to the company totaled 400 acres of the earth from which 46,5 I occupied actually plant. Since then the allotment increased even more than twice – to 860 acres.
To provide to the buyers the first-class service of trailers, the Winnebago Industries company created the dealer network including more than 100 dealers over all country submitting to the main office in Forrest City. Also in 1973 two subsidiaries were founded: Winnebago Realty Corporation and Winnebago International Corporation. The first was created with the purpose to help the dealer centers to increase number of customer services, and the second – for adjustment of deliveries of production to the foreign markets.
In 1974 the company felt on itself oil crisis of previous year because of which sales fell to the trailers which are uneconomically using fuel. Financial difficulties also with that during this period the United States got to small recession that didn't allow people to make serious purchases were aggravated. To offset financial losses, the management of Winnebago made the decision to diversify the range of trailers. So the five-wheel trailer of Eze-Hauler which was suitable for use in agriculture came to production. Also many companies used Winnebago trailers to bring workers from the remote areas.
At that time the number of workers at plant in Forrest City reached 1600 people. To increase sales on trailers in the middle of embargo on oil from the countries of OPEK (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the Grand Giveaway program was created (literally – "great distribution"). According to this plan, buyers of trailers suggested to acquire in addition certain goods at low prices or in general to take free of charge.
In 1976 John Hanson departed from the leading post, having become the vice-chairman while Gerald Boman was appointed the chairman of the board of directors, and the president and the executive director – the son of the founder of business John V. Hanson.
Next year Winnebago expected expansion: the plant of 126 thousand square foots was constructed in the city of Riverside, State of California, for expansion of production of trailers. Also the premises of plant in Eshville, the State of North Carolina where production of vans soon began were leased. Besides, in 1977 release of a hundred-thousandth trailer was celebrated. To this action there arrived journalists from all corners of the United States of America.
In the middle and the end of the 1990th years the company continued to survive in quite difficult market conditions, but the competent policy of the management and strategy of all-round development made the business. The majority of holdings which were engaged in production of the most versatile equipment, were sold, and the company returned to in what it equal wasn't – to production of trailers. The Winnebago Chieftain and Itasca Sunflyer models which are let out at that time having a set of innovations and modern conveniences in existence became two most popular SUVs in the market of the USA. The company continued to improve the models of SUVs that led to increase in their production and brought more than 30 "additional" millions in 1998.
Over the past few years the range of the Winnebago company began to consist of trailers of a class "A" (elite mobile houses) and a class "C" (the berth is over a driver's cabin). The model range of 2009 included trailers of a class "A" of Tour, Journey, Destination, Adventurer, Sightseer and a trailer which it is necessary to mention separately – Vectra. The Vectra model – the real American dream on wheels combining conveniences of a mansion and road performance of a sport car. The area of a trailer reaches 37 square meters, speed – 120 km/h, and engine capacity – 420 h.p. Existence of so-called "cellar" – the office which is below the main case and intended for storage of baggage and all large subjects became one more innovation.
Though the management of the Winnebago company had to work properly in the late nineties to hold sales at the necessary level and to promote their growth, demographic researches showed that the successful future is provided to the company. After all always there were people liking to carry out travel in a convenient trailer, and the Winnebago company always provided them with the high-quality production. And it will do farther.1 - 23
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