Friday, August 07, 2009
The birth place of our motorhome is Forrest City, Iowa at Winnebago industries. We made a two day stop over there to have some paint work done in areas that were losing the clear coat. Even though the warranty period was over, the company that does the full body paint for Winnebago, CDI Inc, graciously agreed to make the repairs without charge. They did the repairs quickly and were very friendly. This was in stark contrast to our recent experience with HWH Corp, which makes the hydraulic equipment for the coach. We have had a number of problems with their equipment and had a failure of the main control panel over the winter, during the warranty period, and they refused to honor the warranty. This is when you find out which companies are truly quality operations.
While in Forrest City, we took the factory tour and were impressed that they were still fairly busy. Unfortunately, they do not allow pictures during the tour. They are one of only a few large RV manufacturers that have avoided bankruptcy, but they still have seen a big slow down in business. They have had to reduce their work force by 60%. This has been very hard on this small town.
The factory provides camping spots at both the visitor center and service center, where Winnebago can complete repairs or upgrades up to and including major rebuilds of the motorhome. The visitor center has a display showing the history of the company and has one the first motorhomes made on display. There have been a lot of changes since the early 60’s.
We missed the big Winnebago Grand National Rally, which took place a few weeks before at the company rally grounds located across the street from the plant complex. This facility can hold 1600 motorhomes. This year they had around 1250 units. Since there was a steady flow of motorhomes arriving for service, the parking areas remained full. This allowed some of us to hold a mini rally and discuss our RV’s and travel. Besides getting the needed work done, we had a good time visiting with fellow Winnebago owners.