Forest River (company)

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

Forest River
IndustryRecreational vehicle products
FoundedJanuary 26, 1996; 27 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)
List of Divisions
  • Prime Time Manufacturing
  • Coachmen RV
  • Shasta RV
  • Palomino RV
  • Forest River RV
  • Dynamax Corporation
  • Glaval Bus
  • Elkhart Coach
  • Starcraft Bus
  • AmeraLite
  • Cargo Mate
  • Continental Cargo
  • Haulin Trailers
  • Lightning Trailers
  • Rance Aluminum Trailers
  • US Cargo
  • Berkshire Pontoon
  • South Bay Pontoon
  • Trifecta Pontoon
  • Qualridge
  • Rockport Commercial Vehicles
  • Berkshire Coach
  • East to West
  • Battisti Customs


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 2005, Forest River, Inc., was acquired by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.[9][10] In the same year, a new luxury coach brand, Elkhart Coach was launched.[11]

Forest River continued to expand with the acquisition of Rance Aluminum Fabrication and Priority One Financial Services in 2007.[12]

The following year, the company acquired assets of Coachmen RV, a subsidiary of Coachmen Industries.[13][14] 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[15] followed by the revival of the Shasta product line in 2010,[16] one of the intellectual properties of the Coachmen asset acquisition.

In 2011, Forest River acquired Dynamax Corporation,[17] 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,[18][19] Hemet, California,[20][21] and White Pigeon, Michigan.[22][23] That same year, the company acquired StarTrans Bus.[24]

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

In January 2017, Forest River launched its new line of luxury buses, Berkshire Coach.[25] In June of the same year, Battisti Customs was acquired.[26]

In May 2020, Forest River acquired the following REV Group shuttle bus brands: Champion, Federal Coach, World Trans, Krystal Coach, ElDorado, and Goshen Coach. [27]

Purchase by Berkshire HathawayEdit

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, they agreed on a deal. The transaction closed on August 31, 2005.[28]

Forest River Owners’ GroupEdit

Formed in 2011, the Forest River Owners’ Group (FROG), is a community of recreational vehicle owners from all over the US and Canada.[29] 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.[30]


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.:


Cargo TrailersEdit

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

Commercial TrucksEdit

  • Rockport Commercial Vehicles

Park ModelsEdit

  • Cabins and Suites
  • Summit
  • Quailridge

Pontoon BoatsEdit

  • Berkshire Pontoons
  • South Bay Pontoons
  • Trifecta Pontoons


  1. ^ "Our Story | Forest River Inc., A Berkshire Hathaway Company".
  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. ^ "Our Story". Elkhart Coach. Elkhart Coach.
  12. ^ "About Priority One: History". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  13. ^ "Coachmen and Forest River Working out the Details". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  14. ^ Inc., Forest River. "Coachmen RV - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels - Tent Campers - Motorhomes". Retrieved 2016-02-23. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  15. ^ Manufacturing, Prime Time. "Prime Time Manufacturing - Manufacturer of Travel Trailers - Fifth Wheels". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  16. ^ "Forest River Launches Shasta RV Division". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  17. ^ "Liegl Expects Few Changes at Dynamax Corp". RV Business. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  18. ^ "New business could add up to 70 jobs in Silverton". Statesman Journal. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  19. ^ "Our Town – Silverton, Mt. Angel & Scotts Mills » Blog Archive » Match made: Forest River expands manufacturing operations into Silverton". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  20. ^ "HEMET: First trailer rolls out of new manufacturing plant". Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  21. ^ "Hundreds of Jobs Expected as Major RV Manufacturer Opens Plant in Hemet | Patch". Banning-Beaumont, CA Patch. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  22. ^ "RV makers, dealers on roll as show opens in Novi". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  23. ^ "Nearly 400 jobs coming to St. Joseph County as RV maker Forest River Manufacturing expands". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  24. ^ Forest River Acquiring Startrans Shuttle Bus Unit
  25. ^ Tribune, Lincoln Wright South Bend. "Forest River launches luxury bus line". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  26. ^ "Forest River Acquires Battisti Customs". RV Pro. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  27. ^ "Forest River acquires REV Group's shuttle bus business". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  28. ^ "Berkshire Hathaway 2005 Annual Report".
  29. ^ "FROG's Facebook page". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  30. ^ "FROG Rally Draws 1300 Plus Members and 700 Rigs". RV Business. Retrieved 2016-02-19.