Class B Production at Winnebago – Our Factory Tour

Winnebago offers factory tours of their facility in Forest City, Iowa during most of the year.  The facility is large and impressive, and covers all aspects of production for the Class A and Class C motorhomes.  But something’s missing from that tour:  Namely, Class B production!  When we were at Winnebago last year, we got to tour the Winnebago Touring Coach facility in nearby Lake Mills, Iowa, and this video is the result.


You’ll see several areas of their main Forest City complex in the video as well. There’s a very different feel between the two.  The Forest City complex is large, automated, vertically integrated, and very much a “factory”.  The Lake Mills facility, on the other hand, has more of a “craftsman” vibe to it.  It’s tough to explain, but perhaps you’ll pick up on it in the video.

The thing I found most interesting in the facility is that all models of Era and Travato motorhomes are built in the same set of stations; and they could be interspersed.  In other words, it’s not Travato G on Monday, Era on Wednesday, and so forth.  I can see how that lets them adapt production to meet demand, and it’s more efficient that way.  But it must make it more difficult on planning and scheduling arrival of parts.  And considering that they’re 20 minutes away from Forest City, it’s a serious wrench in the works if they forget something!

Hope you enjoy the video!

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he's also an IT consultant.

    12 thoughts on “Class B Production at Winnebago – Our Factory Tour

    1. Russ Schmidt

      NICE Video— Think I saw my unit being built in the line —
      We took delivery of our 2017 59G / Diesel w/ solar – “Max” last week to replace our 2005 Airstream Westfalia
      Let the adventures begin ..The Travato is an excellent coach that will meet our nomadic lifestyle
      Enjoy your technology / systems pieces Thank You –Keep up the useful work …
      Russ & Terry — South Wales NY (Buffalo)

    2. Colton Wayan

      Cool! When I see it being made I realize why it costs so much. There’s a ton of labor hours in them. And while some people like to tackle it themselves, I think its best to leave it in the hands of the professionals. One question, is it possible to park the Travato in a garage?And, or do you cover yours? Thanks for the input!

      1. James - Post author

        About parking the Travato in a garage – that entirely depends on your garage! The length or width aren’t typically issues. But the height you’ll need to get a Travato inside is greater than a standard residential garage. It’s entirely possible though.
        We don’t put ours in a garage. We park under an RV carport with a solar panel up top to keep the batteries charged.

    3. Andy & Kim

      Great video tour guys!
      Were Russ and the crew receptive to the “winterizing” mods you have made to Lance?

      Andy & Kim

      1. James - Post author

        Well, we’ve never had to seek approval or anything!
        I don’t think they’re planning on making my changes “standard”, but they know about them, and have always been very helpful in my efforts to push the limits of the Travato.
        So, I’d say “yes!”

    4. Hal Smith

      Question about the Promaster: Winnebago keeps saying the Promaster has been the mainstay of RVs in Europe for many years and this true. However has the Dodge engine and transmission been the power plant? If not what is the longevity record of this power plant? Also any more news on the Hymer? Thanks

      1. James - Post author

        It’s true that the engine we have in the ProMaster is different from what has been available in Europe for years. BUT! The good news there is that the North American versions (at least in gas) are getting the same V6 Pentastar engine that has been used across the Chrysler product line with great success. I believe it’s the same engine that’s available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. So you can look to that for reliability numbers.
        Oh, and we’ve not had additional contact with Hymer beyond our interview.

    5. Mike

      Great video-humorous and well presented. I think our 2016 ERA may have missed that QC station you quickly referenced. Honestly, did you all see QC or QA activities on the tour of the Class B line? Our coach is headed back to the dealer for some more, albeit minor, warranty work. Small, irritating items that should have been checked before leaving the factory. Best, Mike

      1. James - Post author

        Actually, we did see QC type activities going on! I have footage of it somewhere. People with checklists going over the RV, opening and latching cabinet doors, etc. I didn’t get a copy of the lists or anything, but they were definitely there. And some of the paint details they were picking up on were pretty minor. Sorry to hear that they missed something on yours, but I’m confident they’ll make it right for you.
        Thanks for watching!

    6. Mike Ortino

      Hi James and Stef,

      Excellent review at the Winnebago factory. Enjoyed all the detail on the assembly line and the new methods of construction.
      After watching this video I am of the opinion Winnebago makes a good product for the money invested.
      Thanks, Mike and Audrey

      1. James - Post author

        Glad ya liked it! It was tough condensing days and days of footage down to just 15 minutes.


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