2019 Winnebago Grand National Rally

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John Canfield

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For those of you not receiving WIT club emails, here's some news about the GNR. If you've never been, it's well worth attending. Especially for the newer RVers. (You must own a Winnebago Industries product to attend.)

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The Grand National Rally is the annual gathering and celebration of Winnebago RVs and their owners. The event takes place July 22nd thru July 27th in Forest City, IA.

Register before March 31st and save-
General $250
Premium $375
Dry Camping $125

After April 1st add $25 to registration fee.

Visit our website to register today https://witclub.com/grand_national_rally/.

Join us for exciting events, activities and attractions, including:

    Educational Seminars
    Vendor Exhibits
    Craft and Hobby Classes
    Games and Events
    Row Competitions and Row Party Night
    Winnebago Product Display
    Winnebago Factory and Special Building Tours
    Service at the Winnebago Customer Service Facility
    Daily Entertainment

And so much more.

Upon registration, you'll receive a confirmation email as well as a printed GNR Guidebook with more information.

Hope to see you at the 2019 Grand National Rally!
 
John, do you have to be a WIT club member to attend?  We attended in 2014 and enjoyed everything except the parking arrangements. Since then we have let the WIT membership lapse as we are not really rally folks.

Bill
 
I have a 2001 Sunnybrook trailer.  Sunnybrook was later purchased by Winnebago.  Does this qualify me for WIT or the rally?
 
Dragginourbedaround said:
You do not need to be a WIT Club member to attend. The membership will save you 10% on anything you buy though.
Thanks. About the only thing we bought last time was a dump ticket and several great meals served by those Waldorf College folks.

Bill
 
Lou Schneider said:
I have a 2001 Sunnybrook trailer.  Sunnybrook was later purchased by Winnebago.  Does this qualify me for WIT or the rally?
Good question Lou, I don't know. Winnebago bought Grand Design towables a few years ago and they are allowed at the GNR. Give the WIT office a call at 800-643-4892.
 
Lou

I'll bet you qualify as they purchased the Country Coach assets and they are allowed to attend.
 
To add to that - this is the 50th Anniversary of the Grand National Rally itself!  Last year was the 60th Anniversary of Winnebago.

Last year was my first year and it was fun, with a ton of Winnebago history and dedicated vendor support and info.  I was a little disappointing to see the bigger rigs gone off the assembly line with the transfer of Horizon to Junction City Oregon, but that will all be back in Forest City this year now that Junction City is closing.

Reps from Freightliner, Ford, Cummins, Mercedes all set up tents there.  Coleman will run around checking your ACs, Michelin your tires (speaking of which I need to replace before I go), Blue Ox your towing gear, folks to wax, food, music, a lot to take in.
 
That was news to me  -  Junction City closing.  I wondered about that location when they announced that they bought Country Coach.  It would seem that the Forest City location would be more centralized for the whole country than the far western US.
 
Winnebago has had problems finding production workers and even service techs for factory service in Forest City - when we were there three of four years ago they were running full (or half-page) newspaper ads looking for workers. So maybe that was one factor prompting the move. (Might be the same or worse situation in Junction City.)

I was always puzzled about moving some production to the NW corner of the country.
 
Some of the problems in JC included difficulty hiring and retaining qualified techs and there have been reports of issues with drug problems for some of the techs they could get.  Also the plant was "bay build" and not "line build" which resulted in extremely low product out put.  Winnebago know of all of this prior to moving their DP line out there but thought it was worth the risk anyway.  Its hard to punish Winnebago, to much, for attempting the move but I'm not so sure I would have moved everything all at once.  I think I might have tried a proof of principle with one unit to see how it went first.  I am glad they didn't drag it out when it became obvious the move wasn't going to work and they are moving the DP products back to FC on a line and not try to continue with bay built process.

Now if they would just give us back some DP choices and not try to force only the Forza or the Horizon on us I think they would see some market share bounce back.
 
Quote:
"Now if they would just give us back some DP choices and not try to force only the Forza or the Horizon on us I think they would see some market share bounce back."
Amen.
I don't know about market share, but I would like to see some mid-range DPs. I don't like either of the current offerings. But I'm sure Winnebago makes more profit from towables.
 
Winnebago's business strategy is for sure including towables - they saw this as a opportunity to appeal to a different market segment. When they bought Grand Design it was the first time ever they took on significant debt - it was a huge risk but I hope it pans out.
 
They keep bragging that the towables are their big money maker right now. 

I too would like to see something grand back on the line other than the Horizon.  But I'm careful what I ask for, because they could just as easily re-introduce the Journey or Tour as a cheapened up version like they just did with the Adventurer.  In fact, I kind of consider the Horizon a cheapened up version of what they used to be if you really look beyond the LEDs and look at the features.
 
Mile High said:
[...] In fact, I kind of consider the Horizon a cheapened up version of what they used to be if you really look beyond the LEDs and look at the features.
The Ultimate Freedom (last model year was 2004) was extremely well built and finished (and on a Spartan chassis) - the first telltale I look at when assessing general build quality is to pull a drawer out. The UF drawers all had dovetailed joints on the drawer box. I believe this was Winnebago's high point in build quality and attention to details. The 04-05 model year Horizon/Vectra build quality is pretty good, my cabinetry is solid cherry. Then I think it was '07 for the Horizon/Vectra where the design changed to a rear radiator undoubtedly to save a few bucks over a side radiator. Drawer slides were a laughable quality, almost like they were made out of beer cans.

Now the product managers are loading the Class As with bling - it always catches the eye for the gee whiz factor. It takes a discerning eye to look beyond the bling for build quality.
 
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