June '21

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rv-pro.com June 2021 • RV PRO • 21 iming is everything. In November 2019, Winnebago Industries completed its acquisition of Newmar for $344 million. Four months later, COVID-19 forced both companies to halt production for five weeks. No one in the RV industry could have predicted the subsequent tsunami of interest that hit the RV industry. Although they had little time together beforehand, the partnership between Newmar and Winnebago executives had already begun to take hold, according to Winnebago Industries CEO Mike Happe. "COVID-19 began to disrupt the busi- ness in March of 2020, but the good news was we had enough time together before the pandemic for the management teams to trust each other and to build some rela- tionships. Matt and I had known each other for a while before the deal and the cultural connection was sown going into the pandemic," said Happe. Newmar President Matt Miller said he believes the deal came at the perfect time. "We faced a lot of decision points and challenges the last 12 to 13 months where it was beneficial to have a larger organiza- tion helping us make decisions," he said. "In terms of the supply chain, to be part of a larger organization, with the resources of a larger company, is helpful. There's sharing going across business units that we wouldn't have had if we were on our own. I'm glad we made the decision to join Winnebago when we did." Happe said he believes the partner- ship and integration is still growing and is pleased with the progress. "We are continuing to find opportu- nities for Winnebago Industries to sup- port the Newmar business in a way that will enhance its success and profitability in the future," he said. "We're committed to maintaining the elements of their busi- ness brand that have made them unique and special throughout the years." How Times Have Changed Although Miller and Happe said the acquisition of Newmar by Winnebago has been good for their respective companies, the pandemic has created some challenges Miller (right) confers with Devin Murphy, owner of Freedom RV, at Newmar's dealer event. Miller said Newmar dealer attendance was nearly 100 percent at the event. RV Retailer East President Don Strollo (left) and team members confer and enjoy a break after touring 2022 Newmar models. " We are continuing to find opportunities for Winnebago Industries to support the Newmar business in a way that will enhance its success and profitability in the future." – Winnebago President Michael Happe T

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