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Winnebago to open plant in Junction City, revive Country Coach brand


BooneDocks

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JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - Winnebago Industries plans to open a manufacturing plant in a formerCountry Coach facility in Junction City, the company and Lane County government announced Tuesday.


The company said it also plans to revive the Country Coach brand.


The company estimates employing 200 people, the county said.


Winnebago salaried wages will range from $45,000 to $125,000 plus a full benefits package.


Winnebago said the company plans to move production of select diesel products to the 200,000 square-foot facility. The company estimates the transition will be complete sometime in the second half of 2017.


"Winnebago is helping to breathe life into an industry that was largely lost during the Great Recession," said Commissioner Jay Bozievich. "Lane County has many skilled and talented workers in need of living-wage manufacturing jobs to sustain themselves and their families."


The Lane County commissioners also voted to use up to $100,000 of video lottery funds to assist with the cost of infrastructure improvements necessary to open the facility. Video lottery funds are distributed by the State of Oregon and must be earmarked for economic development activities.


Winnebago estimates an eventual total investment between $15 and $20 million, including land, buildings, necessary building modifications, production equipment and technology infrastructure, according to Lane County.


"We are pleased to be expanding our operations and look forward to the increased production and service presence this new facility will provide on the west coast," said Scott Degnan, Winnebago's Vice President of Sales and Product Management. "We would also like to express our thanks to Ron Lee, the former owner of the facilities, for providing us with this opportunity."


Country Coach, part of Junction City's past, is now part of Winnebago's future, Degnan said.


"As part of the facility purchase, Winnebago also acquired the intellectual property rights associated with Country Coach and we intend to revive that brand as part of the planned use of the new facility," he said.


Winnebago entered into an agreement on November 18, 2015, with the Lee Joint Trust to purchase property adjacent to the facility which was part of the Country Coach operation in the past.


"We have begun our due diligence evaluation of the property and hope to have that completed in the near future," said Scott Folkers, Winnebago's Vice President and General Counsel said. "We anticipate using this property to provide ongoing customer service to Country Coach owners, as well as providing service to Winnebago owners."


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And so the saga of Country Coach, as a brand or unique line of RVs, comes to an end. I wonder what is happening to the people who were part of the repair facility and those who were involved in the efforts to start building new Country Coaches again? I had read earlier that they were having problems raising capital to fund the new RV line construction and sales effort and was wondering what was happening, but it seems that we now know. The website of the former Country Coach is still up and working. Their phone does still answer. Have they possibly moved somewhere or.................?

 

Country Coach Corporation
PO Box 575
Junction City, OR 97448

Physical Address:
Country Coach Corporation
135 East First Avenue
Junction City, OR 97448

Phone:
541-234-2167

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And so the saga of Country Coach, as a brand or unique line of RVs, comes to an end. I wonder what is happening to the people who were part of the repair facility and those who were involved in the efforts to start building new Country Coaches again? I had read earlier that they were having problems raising capital to fund the new RV line construction and sales effort and was wondering what was happening, but it seems that we now know. The website of the former Country Coach is still up and working. Their phone does still answer. Have they possibly moved somewhere or.................?

 

It's "or"

 

 

From Ron Lee:

 

 

A personal note to our friends,

 

As we enter this holiday season here at Country Coach, we also enter a season of change. As most of you know, I have spent most of my adult life growing, nurturing and eventually rescuing the Country Coach brand that I love. I am very proud of what Country Coach came to represent, but I am even more proud of work the core group I assembled after purchasing the intellectual property of Country Coach has accomplished. From the start my goals were to resurrect Country Coach in the spirit in which it was created - to produce the finest motor coaches available, to bring economic vitality and growth to Junction City and to develop stable jobs for our employees.

 

As you know, we have continued to work on the next generation of Country Coach product in the design and prototype stage and to transfer that work to reality of a product, actual production requires much more. To do that I needed to find the right resources to augment and grow what we have started. To that end, I have been working diligently for the past two years. Of the options I had to choose from I have made what I consider the very best choice for Country Coach for both service and production. I am pleased to announce that, effective today, I have sold the Country Coach Campus and intellectual property to Winnebago Industries. I have worked with Winnebago to ensure that Country Coach moves forward and work will begin in earnest to assemble the infrastructure that will lead to Country Coach production. Winnebago will also bring production of some of its current diesel motorhome offerings to Junction City. Please note that future Country Coach products will not be rebranded Winnebagos, but products specifically designed and built to the exacting performance, amenity and standard levels that have always defined Country Coach. Obviously this process will take time but everyone involved is committed to making Country Coach the premier motorcoach offering available.

 

I made this decision because I believe that Winnebago is the best fit for Country Coach and that their, culture, dedication to design and build quality closely mirrors the standards I have set. This transition includes a change for me also as I will step down from the day to day operations. But rest assured, I intend to be the leading Country Coach brand enthusiast so you can expect to see and hear from Cookie and I from time to time as we travel around the country in our 2016 Country Coach Allure.

 

As I write this, I am recalling designing the first Country Camper Class A, I used a lower front from a Winnebago Class A to mock it up, we have come full circle.

 

Until the next time we meet!!

 

Ron Lee

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I toured the CC facility about 10 years ago and was impressed with the people and the mfg process. I sincerely hope Ron Lee vision comes to fruition. I was always partial to the Allegro brand, but have been hearing stories lately of poor workmanship as a result of their having made the large expansion of their production facilities over the past few years.

 

Ron, I hope you plan on creating a CC coach for the mid-level buyer who wants quality, but not the large size (40'+) or high price ($400,000+). This level of coach might be more amenable to people like, for example, members of the Xscapers.

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Kirk the article says they plan to continue the CC brand. Perhaps that's why W is eliminating the Itasca brand.

You may be right, but I suspect that was going to happen no matter what. Itasca came to existence back when Winnebago had a contract with Dodge to use their chassis exclusively to save some money. But then along came both GM and Ford with competitive chassis and that Dodge exclusive didn't look so promising. Winnebago created Itasca originally as a company to build the Winnebago but on chassis from Ford and GM. Over the years the exclusive from Dodge expired and the two slowly became more and more the same series of motorhommes but wearing different names.

 

I'm wondering about your source of information about Itasca ending as I was trying to find something on that but what I found was a long list of places to view the 2016 Itasca line? Are you sure that they are ending?

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You may be right, but I suspect that was going to happen no matter what. Itasca came to existence back when Winnebago had a contract with Dodge to use their chassis exclusively to save some money.

 

I'm wondering about your source of information about Itasca ending as I was trying to find something on that but what I found was a long list of places to view the 2016 Itasca line? Are you sure that they are ending?

 

Word came from Winnebago themselves

 

http://www.rvbusiness.com/2015/11/winnebago-phases-out-itasca-part-of-2-year-plan/

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Word came from Winnebago themselves

I usually read the RV News but I sure missed that one. Thanks. Looks like it will be keeping the same line names, at least for now. I always thought that everyone knew that Itasca was really a part of Winnebago, but I suppose that was because I'm part of the RV world and new customers might not.

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