FOUNDED IN 1948 BY ARTHUR WARN
Founded in 1948 by Arthur Warn, Warn Industries began producing locking hubs for surplus World War II Jeeps, converting thousands into useful, on-road vehicles. Originally based in Seattle, Washington, Warn Industries' innovation revolutionised the hub industry. The WARN winch, developed in 1959, was the first recreational winch. With pioneering features such as a rugged drive train, the WARN winch quickly became the leading brand for off-road racers, avid four wheelers, weekend adventurers and hard-working ranchers.
1970S: NEW PRODUCT, NEW RELATIONSHIPS, NEW LOCATION
Warn Industries added to its product family throughout the 1970s with manual and automatic hubs for all 4WD vehicles, new electric and hydraulic winches, severe-duty winches and new winch mounting systems. By the end of the decade, the company began its long-standing relationship with Ford Motor Company, established worldwide product distribution capabilities, and opened manufacturing operations near Portland, Oregon.
1980S: ATV INNOVATIONS & MORE
Warn Industries introduced more new products to the winch market in the 1980s, including the industry's first three-stage planetary gear train and free-spooling clutch, a new utility model, and the industry's first all-terrain vehicle (ATV) winch. Continuing to diversify its product line, the company also added fender flares and off-road accessory products.
During this time, the ATV market was emerging, and Warn introduced the industry's first ATV-specific winch and was issued a patent in 1988. By 1986, the company had moved its headquarters to Portland, Oregon and Michael Warn, Arthur Warn's grandson, became Warn Industries' new Chairman of the Board and CEO.
1990S: GREAT GROWTH
The years from 1991 to 1999 were pivotal for Warn Industries. The company moved to just-in-time manufacturing, implemented Total Quality Control practices and received ISO 9001/QS-9000 certification. The company also created an industrial division, building winches and accessories for markets including the towing industry. In the mid-‘90s, Warn’s ATV division grew as fast as the Powersports industry, and the company established relationships with OEMs such as Polaris, Yamaha, and Bombardier. In 1997, Warn opened its state-of-the-art world headquarters in Clackamas, Oregon, a 200,000 sq./ft. manufacturing and distribution facility. This helped it to become the dominant winch manufacturer in the ATV market segment and the number one supplier of wheel-end disconnect technology to OEM customers.
2000S: NEW CENTURY, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Mike Warn stepped away from the business in 2000, selling the company in a management buyout led by Jon Kreitz, Endeavour Capital (Portland, Oregon) and Norwest Equity Partners (Minneapolis, Minnesota). This transaction brought new capital into Warn Industries, allowing the company to pursue commercialisation of its wheel-end technology with automotive OEMs, continued rapid expansion of its strong ATV business, and support for marketing its core products.
In 2002, Warn Industries introduced WARN Works, a product line designed for the professional workers and do-it-yourself-ers who need a powerful tool to assist them. The WARN Works line developed new distribution channels for the company, and expanded its product offering to include utility winches, hoists, and accessories. (These products were eventually integrated into the WARN Utility lineup.)
During 2001–2004, Warn’s Senior Management Team implemented numerous improvements resulting in improved productivity, cost reductions, and improved safety. Warn also implemented a suite of JD Edwards software. The company also extended its manufacturing certificates to include the ISO 14001 environmental management system certificate.
WARN team members have a long tradition of sponsoring food drives and charitable events and volunteering to help the local community. In 2002 that generosity evolved into a formalised giving program called the WARN Employee Community Impact Project (WECIP) which assists our neighbours in the Clackamas area.
In October 2003, WARN extended its manufacturing certificates to include the upgrade of the QS9000 to ISO/TS16949:2002 and the 2000 revision of the ISO9001. Also in October 2003, Warn Industries joined the Dover Corporation, a multi-billion dollar, global manufacturer of diversified products.
To comply with the latest automotive industry standard ISO/TS 16949:2002 Warn Industries obtained certification in 2004.
In 2005, Warn opened a sales office in the Netherlands, added a distribution centre in Clackamas, Oregon, a distribution facility in Gahanna, Ohio, and expanded its manufacturing capability. Also in 2005, Jon Kreitz retired from Warn, and Thomas Giacomini was selected and promoted as Warn’s CEO and President.
In 2005 and 2006, Warn brought several innovative new products to the market, including the PowerPlant air compressor winch and the PullzAll, a hand-held electric pulling and lifting tool.
In late 2007, Thomas Giacomini was promoted to President of the Dover Industrial Products/Material Handling, and John McCalla was promoted to Warn's CEO and President. In 2007, Warn developed an 18,000 lb. winch for the tow/recovery, severe duty, and trailer/equipment markets and was selected to provide all the vehicle self-recovery winches for the U.S. military's MRAP program.
In 2008, Warn celebrated its 60th anniversary by releasing the XL product line of 20,000 and 30,000 lb. winches for use on trailers, roll back carriers, and the tow/recovery market; a 60th anniversary edition of the iconic 8274 winch; and the off-road industries' first fan-cooled electric winch, the Endurance 12.
In 2009, the company was selected to provide the self-recovery winch for the U.S. military's M-ATV program; launched our all new ProVantage plow system for ATVs and UTVs; and announced an all-new line of off-road lighting products for both our Truck/Auto segment and our Powersports segment.
2010S: INCREASED INNOVATIONS, ACQUISITION
In 2011, John Stransky was named President of Warn. The revolutionary Olympus winch was released, showcasing Warn's legendary engineering capabilities. Also in 2011, Warn released the VR winch line of truck winches, targeted at the entry-level consumer. In 2012, Warn released a new entry-level powersports winch line (Vantage), as well as a new premium line (ProVantage) and an all-new premium truck winch lineup (ZEON). Warn also introduced the Warn Authorised Retail Network program, to ensure WARN products are sold to consumers through Authorised Retailers and dealers, who could provide a high level of customer service, product knowledge and a positive selling experience.
In 2014, Warn launched the ZEON Platinum winch line, the most technically advanced winch on the market, with the industry’s first remote clutch, using an advanced wireless remote. The aftermarket premium locking hubs were launched for 2005+ Ford Super Duty trucks that offered new styling, and a more robust design that allows for easier installation and maintenance. Also introduced were a full line of replacement synthetic ropes and rope extensions, LED lights for truck and Powersports applications, and the innovative drill-powered portable winch simply known as the Drill Winch.
In November, 2017, Warn Industries was acquired by Keystone Automotive operations, a segment of the LKQ Corporation. Warn Industries would be led by Kyle Shiminski, who was named Vice President and General Manager. The acquisition also led to the separation of the OE hub and powertrain business, which became a separate company called Warn Automotive, which remained under the Dover Corporation. In 2018, Warn Industries moved all of its business and manufacturing into the facility in Clackamas, Oregon. Warn Automotive remained in the Milwaukie building.
In 2018, Warn introduced the AXON and VRX powersports winches. These all-new entries provided added features and increased capacities for the ATV and UTV market. The AXON also showcased the Motactor™—a groundbreaking winch with a motor and digital contactor in one space-saving unit. This allowed installers to put the winch into a vehicle in up to 50% less time than a traditional winch. The VRX moved forward as a workhorse winch, but both offered IP68 waterproofing, great performance, and an all-new style.
2020S: A NEW DECADE WITH NEW COMPANIES AND PRODUCTS
In March of 2020, Warn Industries announced the acquisition of Idaho-based Factor 55. The company, best known for its winch line shackle mounts which replace a winch hook, also produces a host of other top-tier products for vehicle recovery. Factor 55 pioneered the idea of closed system winching, a rigging technique using closed-link hardware for truck, powersports, and industrial/military applications. Its product offerings, U.S. manufacturing, and location all made it a natural pairing with Warn.
Later in 2020, Warn continued to break new ground in the product world by launching its HUB Wireless Control, allowing users of contactor-equipped winches to operate their units using the Bluetooth connection on their smartphone. Whether truck, powersports, or something in between, with its custom-developed free app for both Android and iOS, it gave users nearly 10x the range of a 12’ corded remote.
About a year after the acquisition of Factor 55 in 2021, Warn Industries acquired Fabtech Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of premium suspension components. With a motorsports background and American manufacturing in Chino, California, Fabtech allowed Warn Industries family of brands the ability to not only offer vehicle recovery products, but also vehicle suspension systems. The company is known for producing top-tier suspensions for a wide range of vehicles, and uses premium parts including its Dirt Logic shocks.
In August of 2021, Warn acquired a third company: South Carolina-based manufacturer, Fab Fours. Best known for some of its wild designs, such as the Grumper, Fab Fours offers up a host of metal fabricated truck and Jeep bumper and accessory options. They also have built some show-stopping vehicles such as the Kymera.
Along with Warn, these three premium companies make up the Warn Industries family of brands, and continue to operate in their respective locations.