During an economic slow down, the best thing a motorcycles manufacturer can do is to closely monitor its retail sales to avoid an overloaded factory inventory, keeping a realistic production in phase with the market. And unfortunately it can mean reducing your work force to adjust to deteriorating economic conditions. Effective yesterday Big Dog Motorcycles was obliged to cut 20 more jobs out of over 200 jobs in 2007. A total of 50 jobs were lost since mid 2007. The layoff affects all areas of Big Dog’s Operations. A low dollar is an incentive for Big Dog to try to expand abroad to Canada and other markets. The company plans to introduce 2 new models later this year. Big Dog Motorcycles.
Updated at 3.00 PM EST: After reading my post and your comments, Paul Hansen, Marketing Director of Big Dog Motorcycles wrote to me the following:
“Hi Cyril – Yesterday’s layoff was a terribly difficult, but necessary decision. You laid it out very well in your blog this morning; I know you need to cover it – as bad news as it is, we appreciate your positive tone. Some comments are concerning and negative, which should be no surprise when you consider the state of the industry and the world of the internet. However, I would like to respond to the comments from “Mike” and “Tony” regarding our liquidation of parts. First, this step is no sign of the financial state of the company. Big Dog Motorcycles is still very solid with nearly 200 employees and 100 dealers from coast to coast. In addition, we are investing heavily in new product development and testing to ensure our models meet the demands of the consumer and are increasingly reliable. Finally, in the next few months we will build our 25,000th motorcycle and launch our 15th model year of motorcycles. No other high performance, high style motorcycle manufacturer can boast such milestones.
Regarding the parts liquidation comment specifically: Yes, we are liquidating parts – and only parts…not motorcycles. In addition, these parts are very dated…the inventory of parts are those used on production models from 1999-2005. Over this period, we had developed a large amount of surplus inventory that (as you can imagine) are no longer needed. No longer needed because we have evolved into a full-fledged OEM, design our own components, have them manufactured to our specifications, and continue to improve our designs and technology year after year. I hope this clears things up for you”. Paul Hansen