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Forest River (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forest River
IndustryRecreational vehicle products
FoundedJanuary 26, 1996; 24 years ago (1996-01-26)
FounderPeter Liegl
Number of locations
More than 100 Plants
Key people
Peter Liegl (CEO)
Number of employees
ParentBerkshire Hathaway (since 2005)

Forest River Inc. is an American manufacturer of recreational vehicles, cargo trailers, utility trailers, pontoon boats, and buses.[1]


Forest River, Inc., (Forest River) was founded in 1996 by Peter Liegl and the company just recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.[2]

After Purchasing Certain assets of Cobra Industries in January 1996[3] where CEO Peter Liegl served from 1985 to 1993. The company started by manufacturing tentcampers, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and park models under the following model lines: Salem, Sierra, Sandpiper, Wildwood, Rockwood, Flagstaff, Summit and Quailridge. Later that same year they began producing cargo utility trailers as Cargo Mate.[4]

Forest River has grown through growth and acquisitions.

In 1997, Forest River established a second cargo trailer line in 1997 called Continental Cargo.[5]

In 1998 Forest River Launched Forest River Marine and began producing pontoon boats.[6] That same year the company purchased certain assets of Firan Motorhomes to begin manufacturing Class A Motorhomes.

In 2000, Forest River acquired US Cargo, another manufacturer of utility trailers.

In 2001, Forest River entered the bus business through the acquisitions of Starcraft Bus[7] and Glaval Bus.

In 2002, Rockport Commercial Vehicles, a brand of commercial vehicles and cargo trucks, was launched. That same year, the company acquired Vanguard Industries and the assets of Palomino.[8]

With its rapidly expanding business, Forest River moved its corporate office out of the original building in Goshen, Indiana, to its current location in Elkhart, Indiana. Each new acquisition and launch led to expansions in manufacturing and production facilities in order to meet the demand for the products and strategically grow the company.

In 2005, Forest River, Inc., was acquired by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.[9][10]

Forest River continued to expand with the acquisition of Rance Aluminum Fabrication and Priority One Financial Services in 2007.[11]

The following year, the company acquired assets of Coachmen RV, a subsidiary of Coachmen Industries.[12][13] Coachmen provides a broad breadth of product makes, ranging from rear diesel motorhomes, gas class A motorhomes, class C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, tent campers and sport utility trailers and have been on North American roads dating back to 1964.

Prime Time Manufacturing, which builds towable recreational vehicles, was established in 2009[14] followed by the revival of the Shasta product line in 2010,[15] one of the intellectual properties of the Coachmen asset acquisition.

In 2011, Forest River acquired Dynamax Corporation,[16] which builds Luxury motorhomes (Super Class C and Class C).

In 2014, the company expanded further with the addition of production facilities in Silverton, Oregon,[17][18] Hemet, California,[19][20] and White Pigeon, Michigan.[21][22] That same year, the company acquired StarTrans Bus.[23]

In 2016, Forest River Marine added the Trifecta Pontoon line.

In January 2017, Forest River launched its new line of luxury buses, Berkshire Coach.[24]

In May 2020, Forest River acquired the following REV Group shuttle bus brands: Champion, Federal Coach, World Trans, Krystal Coach, ElDorado and Goshen Coach. [25]

Purchase by Berkshire Hathaway

On June 21, 2005, Warren Buffett received a two-page fax telling him why Forest River met the Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition criteria. Buffett immediately asked for more figures, and that afternoon he made Pete Liegl an offer. On June 28, 2005, agreed on a deal. The transaction closed on August 31, 2005.[26]

Forest River Owners’ Group

Formed in 2011, the Forest River Owners’ Group (FROG), is a community of recreational vehicle owners from all over the US and Canada.[27] Free to owners of Forest River and affiliated brands’ products, it organizes group trips and rallies. These vary in size from small local gatherings to the annual FROG International Rally in Goshen, Indiana. In 2015 the FROG International Rally had approximately 700 RVs and 1400 members.[28]


Forest River, Inc., though known best for its recreational vehicles, sells a wide variety of products including cargo trailers, buses, and pontoon boats. Below are the subsidiary brands of Forest River, Inc.:


  • Berkshire Coach
  • Glaval Bus
  • Elkhart Coach
  • Starcraft Bus
  • StarTrans Bus

Cargo Trailers

  • Force Trailers
  • Restroom Trailers
  • AmeraLite
  • Cargo Mate
  • Continental Cargo
  • Haulin Trailers
  • Lightning Trailers
  • Rance Aluminum Trailers
  • US Cargo

Commercial Trucks

  • Rockport Commercial Vehicles

Park Models

  • Cabins and Suites
  • Summit
  • Quailridge

Pontoon Boats

  • Berkshire Pontoons
  • South Bay Pontoons
  • Trifecta Pontoons

Recreational Vehicles (RVs) Range Brands (listed alphabetically)

Coachmen RV

Coachmen RV
Coachmen RV

The first Coachmen RV products were manufactured in 1964[29] in a 5,000 square foot plant in downtown Middlebury, Indiana. Coachmen’s first year of production totaled 12 travel trailers, a single truck camper and 80 truck caps. Since then, over three quarters of a million Coachmen recreational vehicles have been produced and sold. In December 2008, Coachmen RV became a brand of Forest River, Inc. Today Coachmen RV is still headquartered in Middlebury, Indiana. Its primary manufacturing facilities occupy over 220 acres, serving as dedicated manufacturing facilities for Coachmen branded Class A Motorhomes, Class C Motorhomes, Class B Motorhomes, Fifth Wheels and Travel Trailers. Coachmen and Viking branded Travel Trailers and Camping Trailers are manufactured in its Centerville, Michigan, manufacturing facilities occupying 90 acres and in their recently built White Pigeon, Michigan,[30][31] manufacturing facility.

Dynamax Corporation

Dynamax Corporation was founded in 1997[32] with a fresh perspective in RV design – to create an automotive style motorhome. Over the years, Dynamax has developed a recreational vehicle product lineup and a series of custom Specialty Vehicles and RVs. Forest River, Inc., acquired the Dynamax brand in 2011.[33]

Dynamax builds luxury Class C and Super C Motorhomes.

East to West

East to West was acquired by Forest River, Inc. in 2018. The division debuted its flagship Della Terra conventional travel trailer at the 11th Annual Forest River Product Expo on Sept. 24, 2018, and later introduced the Alta laminated travel trailer. According to the company, East to West operates on five guiding principles which promote environmental sustainability, corporate/social responsibility, teamwork, quality construction and customer satisfaction.[34]

Forest River RV

Forest River RV is a division of Forest River, Inc., and initially manufactured pop-up tent campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels and destination trailers. One of the largest RV manufacturers in North America, today Forest River RV has expanded into producing Class A and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, camping trailers and destination trailers.[35] Motorized Model lines sold under the Forest River range brand include: Berkshire RDs, Charleston RDs, Legacy RDs, Georgetown Class As, FR3 Class As, Forester Class Cs and Sunseeker Class Cs. Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel Model lines sold under the Forest River range brand include: Blue Ridge Fifth Wheels (FWs), Cardinal FWs, Cedar Creek FW & Travel Trailers (TTs), Cherokee FW & TTs, Evo TTs, Flagstaff FW & TTs, Salem FW & TTs, Wildwood FW & TTs, Riverstone FWs, Rockwood FW & TTs, R-Pod TTs, Sabre FWs, Sandpiper FW & TTs, Sierra FW & TTs, Surveyor FW & TTs, Vibe TTs and Wildcat FW & TTs. Sport Utility Trailers sold under the Forest River range brand include: All American Sport, XLR, Work and Play, Cherokee, Sandstorm, Shockwave, Stealth and Vengeance. Camping Trailers sold under the Forest River range brand include: Flagstaff and Rockwood. Park Models sold under the Forest River range brand include Summit, Quailridge and Cabins & Suites.


The Palomino brand was founded in 1968 by Vanguard Industries in Savage, Minnesota. In 1972, they moved their manufacturing facility to Colon, Michigan, where it remains to this day. Palomino was purchased by Forest River, Inc., in 2002.[36] This allowed for rapid growth and the introduction of two new towable lines of travel trailers and fifth wheels, Puma, Sabre, and Columbus. Palomino has grown to one of the top 5 RV manufacturers in North America. Palomino RV produces truck campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers.

Prime Time Manufacturing

Prime Time Manufacturing was founded in 2009[37] by an executive management team with over 100 years of experience. Prime Time Manufacturing has been North America’s fastest growing RV Company and is currently a Top 10 manufacturer of both travel trailers and fifth wheels in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Wakarusa, Indiana, the company produces fifth wheels and travel trailers.[38]


Shasta RV was founded in 1941[39] with the first “house trailer” built to be used as mobile military housing. In the 1950s and 60s,[40] Shasta’s iconic travel trailers were a recognizable shape on the road. As the industry’s longest producer of recreational vehicles, Shasta has manufactured hundreds of thousands of RVs. Building on this history in the recreational vehicle industry, today Shasta manufactures travel trailers and fifth wheels.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Liegl Conveys Gratitude on Forest River's 20th". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  3. ^ (RV Business Vol 56, no. 9 pg 38)
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  6. ^ Pontoons, South Bay. "South Bay Pontoon - a division of Forest River, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  7. ^ "Forest River Buys Starcraft Bus Business". RV Business. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ "Palomino RV - Manufacturer of Quality RVs since 1968". Archived from the original on 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  9. ^ "Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report-2005" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Billionaire Buffett Operates on 'Gut Instinct'". RVBusiness. RVBusiness.
  11. ^ "About Priority One: History". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  12. ^ "Coachmen and Forest River Working out the Details". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  13. ^ Inc., Forest River. "Coachmen RV - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels - Tent Campers - Motorhomes". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  14. ^ Manufacturing, Prime Time. "Prime Time Manufacturing - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  15. ^ "Forest River Launches Shasta RV Division". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  16. ^ "Liegl Expects Few Changes at Dynamax Corp". RV Business. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  17. ^ "New business could add up to 70 jobs in Silverton". Statesman Journal. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  18. ^ "Our Town – Silverton, Mt. Angel & Scotts Mills » Blog Archive » Match made: Forest River expands manufacturing operations into Silverton". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  19. ^ "HEMET: First trailer rolls out of new manufacturing plant". Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  20. ^ "Hundreds of Jobs Expected as Major RV Manufacturer Opens Plant in Hemet | Patch". Banning-Beaumont, CA Patch. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  21. ^ "RV makers, dealers on roll as show opens in Novi". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  22. ^ "Nearly 400 jobs coming to St. Joseph County as RV maker Forest River Manufacturing expands". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  23. ^ Forest River Acquiring Startrans Shuttle Bus Unit
  24. ^ Tribune, Lincoln Wright South Bend. "Forest River launches luxury bus line". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  25. ^ "Forest River acquires REV Group's shuttle bus business". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  26. ^ "Berkshire Hathaway 2005 Annual Report".
  27. ^ "FROG's Facebook page". Facebook. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  28. ^ "FROG Rally Draws 1300 Plus Members and 700 Rigs". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  29. ^ Inc., Forest River. "Coachmen RV - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels - Tent Campers - Motorhomes". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  30. ^ "RV makers, dealers on roll as show opens in Novi". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  31. ^ "Nearly 400 jobs coming to St. Joseph County as RV maker Forest River Manufacturing expands". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  32. ^ "Luxury RV | Luxury RVs | Class C Motorhomes | Motor Coach | Fifth Wheel | Dynamax Corp". 2010-11-12. Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  33. ^ "Liegl Expects Few Changes at Dynamax Corp". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  34. ^ "New Forest River Unit to Debut 'Della Terra' Trailer". RVBusiness - Breaking RV Industry News. 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  35. ^ Inc., Forest River. "Forest River, Inc. - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels - Tent Campers - Motorhomes". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
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  37. ^ "Forest River unveils Newly Formed Prime Time at 2nd Annual Show".
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  39. ^ "Tin Can Tourists". Tin Can Tourists. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  40. ^ "Shasta RV - About Us". Retrieved 2016-04-15.
This page was last edited on 12 September 2020, at 12:01
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