Thriving in an Era of High Gas Prices

Who ever thought that Winnebago would be a thriving company? The management team must really understand the future demographics of this country.

With gasoline hitting new highs, motorists have been doing plenty of grousing at the pumps. Gas hit a record $1.77 a gallon on Apr. 6, according to the American Automobile Assn. That might have some people thinking twice about buying sport-utility vehicles, which aren't exactly models of fuel efficiency.

The spike in oil costs, however, doesn't seem to be hurting the biggest gas hogs of all: motor homes, which start hitting the road in earnest as the weather warms. The fact that some of these beasts get less than 10 miles per gallon seems to be having no effect on sales.

On the contrary, recreational vehicles (RVs) are more popular than ever. Orders on hand for Winnebago (WGO ), the No. 1 name in motor homes, jumped 55%, to 2,933, by the end of February, 2004, up from 1,890 at the same time last year. Given how much motor homes cost — $300,000 or more for top-of-the-line models with solid-wood cabinets and flat-screen plasma TVs — the price of gas is almost an afterthought.

Companies that target the retiring baby boomers should do very very well.

The 30 Most Important Twitter Influencers in Business for 2020