Avida is an Australian motorhome company with a long history, which has seen it lead the way in RV manufacture and become part of the fabric of the country’s caravan and camping industry. Although there are more than 600,000 registered RVs in Australia, many of these are made in the United Station. In fact, one county in Indiana makes about 80% of the world’s RVs. As this includes manufacturers that started out in Australia, Avida stands out as being one company staying true to its roots.
That it is able to do so is testament to the family ethos of the company, as well as its commitment to local workers and values. Knowledge of the Australian market for RVs in particular, rather than a generic one-size-fits-all approach, is what gave Avida its cutting edge for discerning Aussie owner-drivers and their families, and what continues to motivate the company’s employees today.
Original camper design and manufacture
Bruce Binns and his wife Ruth began making portable campers in Sydney in 1965, as the Freeway Camper Company. They pioneered the Slide On design, which made use of the legendary Australian Ute, of which the long, stable flatbed could carry the weight of a tailor-made and well-manufactured camper unit. Success with this design led to Freeway expanding its portfolio, adding four products to its Slide On camper.
In 1978, Freeway became Winnebago Industries (WI), and produced the Original Australian Winnebago. This type of motorhome originated in America but was adapted by WI to suit the Australian market. This combination of design, manufacturing and market knowledge made Winnebago Industries very successful, so much so that the company expanded its operation to four factories.
Current site and continued success
To consolidate its business, WI moved to new premises in Emu Plains, New South Wales, in 2001, on a 4-hectare site, which gave it enough space to maintain its day-to-day business while investing in the development of new designs at the same time. This was a successful approach, which led to the building of a new factory on the site in 2008, and the 2010 release of WI’s Escape and Diversion models; these being a new venture into the world of the campervan, which is proving a staple of the Australian mobile home lifestyle.
The name Avida was launched by the company in 2013, as a sign of its continued commitment to the Australian motorhome manufacturing industry. The name itself stems from the word “avid”, which describes the Avida team’s approach to their craft and their belief in Australian skilled labour. Today, Avida employs more than 250 people, annually producing 600 state-of-the-art Australian RVs and caravans, sold in dealerships throughout the country and in New Zealand.