One of boating's most well-known brands is set for a major expansion.
The new building is 70,000 square feet and is expected to build 6 models from the current Chris-Craft lineup. Known as 'Building 5' on the expansive property, the new facility will increase production by 50%. The expansion will also create more than 200 jobs for the local economy. Chris-Craft partnered with renowned Tampa-based developer and designer Ryan Companies US Inc. for the project.
In a company statement, Winnebago CEO Michael Happe said “The team at Chris-Craft builds some of the finest boats in the world, and I thank them for their effort to bring this facility from vision to reality."
““I’m thrilled to see boats rolling off the new line. The new building marks an important milestone in the growth of our community, and the enhanced production capacity this new building provides will help our dealer network meet demand for our products,” added Chris-Craft president Steve Hease.
Even Florida governor Rick Scott sent his regards to the industry stalwart, stating “I am on honored to join Chris-Craft in celebrating the opening of your new facility. Thank you for your work to continue Florida’s economic growth and create opportunities for families across the state.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Chris-Craft making several serious advancements across their portfolio. In February, the company announced their first-ever electric boat concept - the Launch 25 GTe. The new model is Chris-Craft's first fully electric boat and was unveiled at the recent Miami International Boat Show.
The Launch 25 GTe features a sterndrive powered 420 horsepower EVOA electric motor paired with a 133 kWh battery bank. It's unknown if the new facility will cater to Chris-Craft's electrification efforts, although as several major manufacturers have expanded post-pandemic and the electrification of recreational boating continues to emerge, it seems probable the new facility will be a boon towards Chris-Craft's plans to increase production capacity by 50%.
It was also announced earlier this week that Winnebago Industries has acquired premier battery producer Lithionics. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Lithionics is a premier manufacturer of lithium ion batteries for the RV, outdoor, marine, and automotive industries. They are headquartered close to Chris-Craft in nearby Clearwater, Florida.