Saturday, June 21, 2008

Winnebago CEO: Price war possible in tough climate

"The motor home market has changed significantly in the past year, with dramatic declines in the past few months," CEO Bob Olson said in a statement. "Discretionary purchases have declined in the United States as the country is faced with unstable fuel prices, consumer confidence at 16-year lows and a tighter credit environment."

Olson said the industry has seen a decrease in motor home sales of more than 26 percent for the first four months of this year and a decline of more than 30 percent in both March and April, typically strong sales months.

He said he expects no improvement in the industry for the rest of 2008.

Olson told analysts in a conference call that dealers are cutting their inventories, a trend he expects to continue, which further reduces sales.

In addition, competitors are discounting motor homes forcing Winnebago to offer discounts.

"If we don't do something to try and stimulate the market we could get left in the dust," he said. "This could end up being a discounting war, a war I don't want to fight but it may come to that."
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