As part of a two-year initiative designed to leverage the Winnebago brand’s cachet with RV consumers, the builder recently informed dealers it has essentially phased out its Itasca nameplate.
“This is all part of a larger strategy to become more aggressive in promoting the Winnebago brand name,” Scott Degnan, vice president, sales and product management for Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries Inc., told RVBUSINESS.com. “We continue to strengthen and build the Winnebago brand through our advertising, social media, mainstream media, and brand licensing efforts.
“If you go back a few years and look at some of our motorhomes, you can’t even tell that they’re Winnebagos. We saw that as a lost opportunity. Winnebago stands for quality and longevity, and we wanted to promote that in the industry.”
Degnan stressed that the move would not impact its dealer body in a significant way. “Dealers will be keeping the same product lines and the Itasca network has not gone away,” said Degnan. “For instance if they carried the Itasca Sunstar, it will now be a Sunstar motorhome by Winnebago. A lot of our dealers are actually seeing this as a positive. They understand that the bigger and bolder the Winnebago name is, the more recognition it will have with consumers.”
Sam Jeffson, public relations specialist, added, “In all of our marketing efforts, we are focusing on bringing Winnebago to the forefront. Ultimately, we want people to see motorhome and immediately connect to Winnebago – no stop in between.”