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Forest River

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Recreational Vehicles

Forest River
Vehicle Marque

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Official Site: ForestRiverInc.com
Wikipedia: Forest River (company)

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A manufacturer of recreational vehicles starting in 1996 and based in Elkhart, Indiana, United States.

Vehicle names used by Forest River currently and throughout history include:  Berkshire, Cardinal, Cedar Creek, Charleston, Flagstaff, Forester, Georgetown, Lexington, r-pod, Rockwood, Salem, Sandpiper, Sierra, Sunseeker, Tsunami and Wildwood.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Forest River (company) page on 17 September 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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

After Purchasing Certain assets of Cobra Industries in January 1996 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.

Forest River has grown through growth and acquisitions.

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

In 1998 Forest River Launched Forest River Marine and began producing pontoon boats. 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, 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.

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.

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

The following year, the company acquired assets of Coachmen RV, a subsidiary of Coachmen Industries. 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 followed by the revival of the Shasta product line in 2010, one of the intellectual properties of the Coachmen asset acquisition.

In 2011, Forest River acquired Dynamax Corporation, 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, Hemet, California, and White Pigeon, Michigan. That same year, the company acquired StarTrans Bus.

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

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

Forest River, Inc., operates out of 86 manufacturing locations boasting over 8 million square feet of manufacturing facilities, and employs over 11,000 people. In its 20 years of operation, the company has grown to over $4 billion in total revenues and has sold more than 1.9 million vehicles.

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.

Formed in 2011, the Forest River Owners’ Group (FROG), is a community of recreational vehicle owners from all over the US and Canada. 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.


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
2 May 2001FOREST RIVER CHOOSES COR TEC'S ENCOR PRODUCT FOR TRAILER PRODUCTIONCor Tec
9 July 2015U.S. DOT Fines Spartan Motors Inc. and Forest River Inc. for Failure to Announce Recalls and Report Safety Defects to NHTSANHTSA
16 April 2018Forest River, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Claudia W. Covell)
1 March 2019Forest River, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Michael A. Cole)


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