Many RVers love the quality of Grand Design travel trailers and fifth wheels. I’m one of them, so I got interested in who owns Grand Design RV. The owners must know how to build quality campers without compromising space and amenities.
Winnebago Industries currently owns Grand Design RV after its acquisition in 2016. Before that time, three friends (Don Clark and the Fenech brothers) founded the company after quitting their jobs at Keystone RV.
Let’s dig deeper into the inspirational story of Grand Design and its reputation in the RV world.
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The Founders of Grand Design
Grand Design RV was founded by Don Clark, Ron Fenech, and Bill Fenech in Indiana in 2012. The founders were all part of Keystone’s success in leading the travel trailer and 5th wheel industry.
With a pursuit of satisfying customer preferences, they left in 2011 to create their own RV company, bringing with them more than 50 years of expertise.
The selection of Middlebury, Indiana, was strategic. The senior leaders believed the area was the best place to serve better shopping and customer service. The location of Indiana allows the quick shipment of RVs across the US, thanks to its powerful railroad system.
The three friends created a new approach to dealing with business, focusing on RV dealers. The long, trusting partnership helps improve product quality and customer satisfaction.
Accompanied by a team of experienced workforce, they rose to the market, and Grand Design was valued at $500 million upon acquisition.
Is Grand Design Owned by Winnebago?
In 2016, Grand Design was fast-growing in the RV market with its great expertise. Winnebago noticed that potential, so they bought the Grand Design RV manufacturer, putting the two brands under the same umbrella.
The best part about the acquisition is that Winnebago still allows the independence of Grand Design to operate on its own.
More specifically, Grand Design will serve as a unit within the Winnebago franchise while maintaining its Middlebury headquarters and leadership of co-founder Don Clark.
The Fenech brothers eventually left the company on good terms to take on different paths. Bill Fenech ventured into the boating industry, where his passion lies.
Who Owns Winnebago Industries?
Winnebago has been an investor-owned RV company since 1970, so a lot of people could have shares this company. BlackRock Fund Advisors own the largest stake in the company, followed by The Vanguard and Dimensional Fund Advisors groups.
As you can see, these are names of investment companies and not actual names of people.
That being said, no one can tell who owns Winnebago Industries. Anyone who owns a share of that company technically becomes part of the company’s investors.
In terms of leadership, Michael Happe is currently the CEO. He’s not the owner per se, but he makes the final decision in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.
When we trace its roots, Winnebago Industries was founded by entrepreneur John Hanson in 1958 as Modernistic Industries.
The company later changed its name to Winnebago Industries in 1960 with five more additional owners. Hanston still remained president at this point and introduced the first Winnebago RV in 1966.
What is Grand Design Known for?
Grand Design is best known for its reliable towable products. This company offers a wide range of mid-tier to upscale fifth wheels and travel trailers. Among its popular product lines are Imagine campers and Reflection Grand Design RV models.
Besides the wonderful Grand Design campers, the brand is also known for excellent customer service.
One proof is the launch of an online community to support buyers worldwide. Grand Design cements its place in the RV industry as a strong competitor with a one-year base limited warranty and 3-year limited structural warranty.
Current Grand Design Product Lines
Grand Design offers a wide array of towable campers, from travel trailers to fifth wheels and toy haulers.
1. Travel Trailers
Transcend Xplor is the top line of Grand Design travel trailers, offering open floor plans to meet customer needs and good built-in quality.
The plans include different vehicle lengths and vehicle weight ratings, such as 7695 lbs GVWR, 30 or 31-feet models or 9295 GVWR, 36-feet RVs.
2. Fifth Wheels
The Reflection travel trailers offer additional room, while the Reflection 150 series provides a lightweight option with the same upscale features. The Solitude line offers premium features, but if you’re short of budget, you can try the Solitude S-Class.
3. Toy Haulers
The Momentum standard model provides the largest room, while Momentum M-Class is a bit smaller. The Momentum G-Class is a more lightweight option than the standard model without sacrificing much extra space.
Grand Design Quality
The quality of Grand Design recreational vehicles is so incredibly good that they’ve won several Quality Circle awards. Customers are very satisfied with the brand’s products compared to other brands.
After construction, the vehicles go through a meticulous quality inspection to determine any flaws or defects before being sold to the market.
The construction of its products is laminated, chiefly to make it lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, though some models use wood support and aluminum bodies.
The built-in amenities seem outstanding, with natural wood cabinets and large bathrooms.
Now, you know who owns Grand Design RV. It’s no longer the original founders, though Don Clark maintains his leadership after the brand’s acquired by Winnebago Industries.
Despite the split of the three founders, no one can beat the expertise, quality control, and creative floor plans of Grand Design.
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Okay, so I’m Philip Lopez. I join Riverside Trailer as an editor, where I will be doing research for both content and reviews. I contribute to studies aimed at understanding the most typical problems encountered by RVers on the road. I also keep up with the newest RVing gadget innovations so that I can promptly evaluate and recommend the best options.