US RV company wins Aussie court battle
AMERICAN RV company Winnebago plans to import its motorhomes to Australia after winning a court battle against local manufacturers and dealers using their brand name.
Sydney-based Knott Investments Pty Ltd has been making Winnebago RVs for more than 30 years – but the original American company, established in 1958, challenged the Australian company’s use of the name in 2010 after de- ciding that it wanted to export its products to Australia.
The Federal Court has now ruled that Knott and 11 Winnebago dealers around the country had contravened the former Trade Practices Act and the current Australian Consumer Law by using the American Winnebago name and its logo.
Costs are yet to be decided but the Australian company, trading as Winnebago Industries, has been given time to re-brand itself. Director Samantha Binns, the daughter of company founder Bruce Binns, has refused to comment on the decision of the court.
Winnebago Industries last year built a second factory on its Emu Plains site in Sydney — doubling capacity to cope with the expected wave of baby-boomer retirees.
The 47-year-old family-owned company is now producing one motorhome every three hours, with a staff of 250.
Company spokesman Max Mayo said earlier this year that Australia’s biggest motorhome com- pany expected to record its second successive record financial year after topping 600 sales last year.
Meanwhile, the big American motorhome company plans to move into the Aussie market with its behemoth homes on wheels.
Its RVs have featured in Hollywood movies for several decades, including Lost in America (1985), Spaceballs (1987), Independence Day (1996), About Schmidt (2003), Terminator 3 (2003), Talladega Nights (2007), Wild Hogs (2007) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009).