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DanD

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Woodydel
This is what I said back in January of 06. quote "Immediate results. The Snapper employees now have enough work for a four day week instead of five. Customers will buy whatever Walmart brings into the store. They will not suddenly decide to buy from a Snapper dealer. Walmart is not hurt. Not so immediate possible result. Walmart decides to have lawnmowers made in China with their own brand. Then they don't need to haggle. Think about it, Sears has their own brand, why not Walmart? They're big enough to do anything they choose. Weir's actions could get them to thinking." end quote Back then Weir did a disservice to Simplicity and most importantly to Simplicity's workers. This is the link to the topic of Weir snubbing his nose at Walmart which prompted my reply above. http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=57524&SearchTerms=WALMART Simplicity (Weir)also made other bad deals. The worst one with Briggs. Snubbing your nose at the "big box stores" is another giant mistake. Here on Long Island Simplicity is dead in the water. Does it make any sense? No. We have millions of people here totally surrounded by water and this market is basically ignored by Simplicity. What's really amazing is that Briggs itself has no idea how to sell more Simplicity products to keep their loyal employees working. How about this for a real reason for the plant closing. How many Briggs upper echelon people want to live in Port Washington? Not many.

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Unkle Spike
This is the sad state of the world, look what is going on around us. Everything is cheaper and faster, and disposable. I remember laying under vehicles with my Dad, pumping the grease gun for him. Or handing him wrenches while he fixed this or that. Now you take your vehicles in for service, unless you are cheap like me, or just get the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Think of what it would be like to be a carburetor manufacturer in the 70's and 80's. Every car but Diesels had your product on it, and the engineering was the same as it was for a hundred years, then someone invents fuel injection..... If you polled 100 people on what they wanted in a lawn tractor, price would be near the top. If they can buy one for $800 and it lasts more than 5 years, they figure that they are ahead of the game. That is not to say I am not cost conscious, I just think I TRY to get value, not so much price. I have not done other than take a casual look at the new Simplicity Tractors when I am going to get parts for mine. They look like everybody else's... Think about it, when I was young (I am 42) if you would ask me my favorite car, it would have been Ford Chevy or Dodge, because that was the choices. Now ask a 15 year old today, chances are it is foreign. Not that some of these are not great cars, just where is the American equivalent? I would like to see any company produce a product that makes a statement, and not makes a profit as their focus. I will now step off my soapbox, and say I hate that for Simplicity, I hope their employees can recover.

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Roy
"I'm sure it will never happen." "Don't bet on it. New owners always have to change things to suit their methods and reduce cost to pay for the acquisition." Hate to say it but I was right in my above statement. Unfortunately Briggs and Kohler are like the Detroit auto makers. They haven't a clue why things are going wrong while the foreign competition eats their lunch and takes over the market. My opinion,

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BLT
quote:
Originally posted by Woodydel [ How about this for a real reason for the plant closing. How many Briggs upper echelon people want to live in Port Washington? Not many.
Beats living on an island where your highlight of the weekend is driving around in circles because the toll bridge is to expensive to use to get to real land.[:D]:D:D

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rsnik
I found a web site recently that traced the family tree of all garden tractors. John Deere is the obvious winner with just about the only direct and unbroken bloodline. I think the big market in antique and near modern Simplicity tractors and parts is where the money gets spent on Simplicity tractors today. I have big veggie gardens and fruit trees and lots of areas to mow, so I still live in the old world that Simplicity catered to. Everybody else in my neighborhood has no veggie gardens or fruit trees and either pays to have their lawn mowed or else they have a trophy Scag Turf Tiger or Toro Z Master. Both are examples of the zero turn chariot mowers that are dominating the market in the suburbs, where buyers don't blink at a $5-10K price tag. Besides the current fad in chariot mowers and decline in the popularity of conventional garden tractors, the market share for the Simplicity brand itself seems to have become progressively smaller; it almost seems like the perceived value of the brand became diluted and gradually eroded with the various mergers. In the worst case scenario Simplicity will become a Big Box Store echo of it's former glory like Troy-Bilt or Dewalt. In a best case scenario someone will buy and champion the Simplicity brand as a limited production, high quality and highly sought after product like what happened with Egg Harbor Yachts. Either way things look desperate for the people who make this tractor today. I am very sorry to see the last stewards of the legacy unable to feed their families.

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Woodydel
Far as I can tell the bad news started: Sunday June 6, 2004 "Briggs & Stratton likely to keep Simplicity in Port Washington" http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20040606/ai_n10966333 Nothing but pure bull. Weir worked for Briggs for 25 years! You wouldn't wish to be the fly on the wall listening in on the behind the scenes deal being made? Why in the world did it make sense for Briggs to buy Simplicity? Shouldn't they be buying Alcoa aluminum or Champion spark plug? You don't buy your customer so you can sell your product to yourself! Briggs knows nothing about selling retail. The Briggs sale was done for INDIVIDUALS to feather their own beds not for the phony reasons they publish. The workers at Simplicity and Port Washington, the city, mean nothing to Briggs/Simplicity management. It's not just the Simplicity workers involved. The trickle down effects of NO MONEY will affect far more people in the Port Washington area. The entire population of Port Washington is only about 10,400 people. That's a lot of jobs to lose for that size population. BLT we have a couple of bridges which are actually free into NY City though they are attempting to enact a charge of $8 if you enter the downtown area which is where the "free" bridges are located. The plus side is that even our "illegal" aliens make enough to easily pay the bridge tolls and stop in at Starbucks.

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andrewk
quote:
Originally posted by rsnik
I found a web site recently that traced the family tree of all garden tractors. John Deere is the obvious winner with just about the only direct and unbroken bloodline. I think the big market in antique and near modern Simplicity tractors and parts is where the money gets spent on Simplicity tractors today. I have big veggie gardens and fruit trees and lots of areas to mow, so I still live in the old world that Simplicity catered to. Everybody else in my neighborhood has no veggie gardens or fruit trees and either pays to have their lawn mowed or else they have a trophy Scag Turf Tiger or Toro Z Master. Both are examples of the zero turn chariot mowers that are dominating the market in the suburbs, where buyers don't blink at a $5-10K price tag. Besides the current fad in chariot mowers and decline in the popularity of conventional garden tractors, the market share for the Simplicity brand itself seems to have become progressively smaller; it almost seems like the perceived value of the brand became diluted and gradually eroded with the various mergers. In the worst case scenario Simplicity will become a Big Box Store echo of it's former glory like Troy-Bilt or Dewalt. In a best case scenario someone will buy and champion the Simplicity brand as a limited production, high quality and highly sought after product like what happened with Egg Harbor Yachts. Either way things look desperate for the people who make this tractor today. I am very sorry to see the last stewards of the legacy unable to feed their families.
I think you are somewhat mistaken here- Simplicity is very competitive (at least in the greater DSM area) with their Ferris line against the Toro/Exmark, Scag, etc. Before the briggs purchase, Simplicity had themselves diversified and setup to be a competitor in most aspects of this industry, and the quality of these tractors is still great in my opinion. In fact, with the recent discontinuation of Toro's wheelhorse/5xi line (going in favor of an MTD built unit) What other brand of quality tractor is there? John Deere and Simplicity. Take one against the other, cut for cut, and who has the upper hand? Deere has the market share, but they also have many more dealers, and have better brand recognition. If Simplicity goes completely "big box" (which would be a dumb move- Look at the Deere fiasco) then it will be like Husquvarna or Echo- Still a decent product, but not dealer based. I doubt something like this will happen. Briggs would be stupid to give up, or mess up what they have going with the brand, but I can see them offering a lower line (like the JD 100 series) at a box store, and doing what Deere does, which is give the dealers all the setup and service contracts. I don't know where manufacturing will go, and perhaps we will see a decline in quality, but they have only one real competitor with Deere- In my area, we sell one or two tractors a year and the rest are zero turns. While tractors may not be the hot ticket item, there is still a market for them, but it has gotten smaller across the board, not just against Simplicity. The market will find its supply and demand, and the company will have to adjust to meet this new criteria. And with a Toro timecutter Z (the homeowner z) starting at 2600 or so, its tough to argue with the price for the reduction in mowing time. For most in our society, lawn care has become a burden, not a labor of love, and that has altered the market accordingly. I don't think brand value has been diluted either- The diversification of the brand only lends advantages to them, because they picked up good products, and not junk. The various mergers never altered the Simplicity name, nor the quality of its products- Briggs has plenty of low end market share, why make more and flood the market? MTD already does it, and it doesn't help the industry at all. All of this is, of course, just my semi-educated opinion, so take it for what its worth.

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rs07
To sum it all up, it's bad news. I feel sorry for the workers who will lose their jobs. I kind of had a feeling when Briggs purchased Simplicity there would be big changes sooner or later. I just hope they don't start cutting quality. I was surprised to read how sales of traditional lawn and garden tractors is slumping to zero-turns. My local dealer still sells quite a few tractors. I guess it all depends on where you live.

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haykarenhardy
Two weeks ago my dealer called me, the 42 inch hi-lift blades were in. I ordered them about three weeks before. When I picked up the blades they said they had trouble getting parts out of Briggs all spring. Wounder what it will be like with the lost production from plant closings? I do believe Briggs manufactures off shore, don't they? Stan

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