Thursday, June 5, 2008

Winnebago falls after saying it will close plant

NEW YORK -Winnebago Industries Inc. fell to a new 52-week low Tuesday after the motor home manufacturer said it would close an Iowa plant, leading to the elimination of 270 jobs.

Late Monday, Winnebago said its Charles City facility will close in August, with work being transferred to its Forest City, Iowa, plant in the fourth quarter.

Company officials blamed rising fuel prices, a difficult lending environment and low consumer confidence for a decrease in motor home demand. The industry has seen a double-digit retail sales decline for seven of the last eight straight months.

Chairman Bob Olson said in a statement that the plant could reopen at a later time if manufacturing capacity increases in the future.

In March, Winnebago said it had cut its workforce by about 9 percent, or about 300 people during the second quarter, to bring production in line with slowing sales. Read more...


Winnehater said...

I am not surprised that Winnebago has come on hard times. I made the mistake of purchasing a new 2007 Winnebago Sightseer in the Fall of 2006 and had nothing but trouble with it. The first time I drove it after purchase, the windshield wiper motor burned out in a rain storm on the freeway. After a week at the dealers, I brought it home and wasn't 15 miles from the dealership when the wiper motor failed again. This time, it was the fault of the dealer (La Mesa RV in Davis, CA). The mechanic forgot to tighten the nut that drives the wipers and stripped the motor shaft (back to the dealer). Just when I thought all was well, my wife and I were driving it and came to a traffic jam on Hyway 50 near Sacramento, CA. It was very hot outside (100+) and as we slowed for traffic, I noticed that the air conditioner began to blow only hot air. After enduring that experience for several miles, we again reached highway speeds and the air conditioner began to work again. I spoke to the service department later and was told that that model of Winnebago had a manufacturer's defect in the air conditioning (that they refused to acknowledge) and one had to always run it on max A/C to get it to work when driving slowly (under 20 mph). The next problem came after it was in storage for several weeks. The main starter battery went dead. After charging it, I discovered that no only did the hydraulics not work, but neither did the slideouts. I finally found in the operator's manual the directions for fixing the problem (La Mesa mechanics had never heard of the problem). One had to move the driver's all the way forward, turn it 180 degrees, and then crawl under the dash. There, you have to unplug a cable leading to the hydraulic controls, plug in a shunt, turn on the key, turn off the key, then replace the original cable resetting the computer link that controls the hydraulics, etc. After that fun was over, I discovered that the refrigerator was not working. I checked all the breakers before calling La Mesa for advice. They told me of an unlisted and unmarked breaker box on the bulkhead "hidden" under a plastic cover that looked like a heater vent. That did the trick. On the way back from a trip to Tucson, AZ last March, we parked for the night in Barstow, CA. As I pushed the parking brake down, I noticed that a cable with a switch fell onto my foot as I pushed. The cable was the sensor that told the hydraulic system that the parking brake had been set and allowed it to function. You guessed it! Not hydraulics and no slideouts. We had to spend the night on a slight slope after crawling over the bed to get into it! We were thrilled. Last month, we again made the mistake of driving the motorhome to Folsom, CA to see our son and family. On the way back, it began to rain. You guessed it again! The wipers stopped working just West of Sacramento and I had to drive home to Napa without them. Again, the wiper motor had burned out.

Needless to say, we are not happy with out Winnebago and think of just selling it (even at a loss) just to get out from under the headaches!

Good luck to all who own these lemons.

Uzma Mir said...

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