19 January 2024
19 January 2024, Comments Comments Off on Huw Bower – Winnebago
Huw Bower - Winnebago

Meeting new RV trends: 5 questions to Huw Bower

Winnebago prides itself on product development, dealer service, and staying ahead of the curve. Huw Bower, President of Winnebago Outdoors, details the company’s focus to meet the ever-changing landscape of the North American RV Industry

Words Antonio Mazzucchelli and Steve Fennell

Winnebago is synonymous with RVs among consumers. At the industry level, the company is known for its new innovations with a strong focus on connectivity and meeting new challenges.

Aboutcamp BtoB: What are your top priorities for product innovation in the next one or two years?
Huw Bower: We have a few focus areas. On the towable side of our business, we are looking at light-weighting our designs while improving fit, finish, and quality across our whole product lineup. We are also innovating price points by creating a feature-benefit specification at a lower price and embracing that with our new Access travel trailer line. Our focus is to offer a price point with lots of value so consumers can get into the Winnebago brand at a lower cost than they have ever seen from the company. On the motorhome side, product innovation starts with, for us, the core product features and floor plan innovations. We see that in terms of the new Ekko Class C on a Sprinter chassis. The extended length provided us with opportunities to increase functionality. Our focus also extends to connected solutions with our Winnebago Connect system we launched on the View and Navion Class C’s. It’s an exciting step forward and how people can experience our product, both physically and digitally.

Aboutcamp BtoB: What do you think are the biggest trends in the RV market right now and in the next one or two years?
Huw Bower: The class B market in the US has grown rapidly in recent years. Consumers are looking for an off-road lifestyle and boondocking experience, which are important trends for us. Our response is new lithium systems we’re bringing to the marketplace as well as partnerships with EcoFlow and the acquisition of Lithionics by Winnebago Industries. This will help us create durable, reliable, and effective power solutions for all of our vehicles.

Aboutcamp BtoB: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges of meeting consumer expectations?
Huw Bower: We’re renowned for the quality of our product, parts availability and service that we provide to dealers, and ultimately to consumers. The challenge for the industry is consumers expect quality levels that exceed the typical bar of the RV industry. So, constantly aspiring to improve the fit, finish, quality, and reliability of our products is key for long-term growth.

Aboutcamp BtoB: The ERV2 was a significant launch in the industry. What can you tell us about product developments?
Huw Bower: The ERV2 started as a concept vehicle. We then developed a prototype and put it into “the wild” with hundreds of consumers testing the model for three to four months. We took a lot of refinements from the fit-and-finish layout and the integration of the Winnebago Connect system and evolved from that feedback. This is not a normal step in product development but it has been very beneficial. It has some intriguing features, and we’re proud to be creating an electric RV prototype.

Aboutcamp BtoB: The platform is certainly interesting and a step up in the camper van segment. What is your forecast for 2024 and beyond for that market?
Huw Bower: The camper van has had a strong growth trajectory in the last few years and has even eclipsed class A models. We think it’s an attractive place to be. There’s a lot of competitors in that space now but it’ll keep a healthy dynamic and competitive edge in that space. As that market keeps innovating around that lifestyle, I think it’s going to be a catalyst for continued growth and play an important role in the RV industry.