Jump to content

Unofficial Home of Old Simplicity & Allis-Chalmers Garden Tractors

Sign in to follow this  
curlett

Why stop making Soveriegns?

Recommended Posts

curlett

Why did simplicity ever quit making the sovereign series? I think they had a bulletproof design that really didnt change that much since the early 70's so why did they stop? Is there any chance they could ever bring it back?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
skunkhome

Economics!

Will it come back? I believe Simplicity is too far down the road toward producing a pedestrian lawn tractor that they aren't even interested in producing a premium tractor like the Legacy. Tooling back up would be prohibitively expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeES

My take is that they were too easy to work on and the dealers did not get any revenue after sale.

They did have a minor safety safety issue with the gas tank next to the battery, but that could have been solved with a molded gas tank under the fender deck.

They had a good heavy duty tractor with the Legacy and a good lawn tractor with the Broadmore, and with the vertical shaft engine Conquest and Prestige coming out, which were more consumer friendly and dealer friendly $$, but in my opinion not as heavy duty, the Sovereign no longer fit the line up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris727

Other than Ingersol, the Simplicity Sovereign transmission was one of the last non-vendor supplied transmissions. It would have needed to be updated to a foot control system and step through frame as these were becoming industry standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RayS

p.jpg

Page 12-28 of the large frame repair manual claims it is a peerless transaxle. I believe it is true and not a misprint. Their factory in Port Washington wasn`t very big and machining and assembling those would take up some room.

p.jpg.a759db3ce754a157dd4754d6375ef63c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RayS

I have heard from my dealer that is now retired that a couple of reasons were the cost of the BGB and they were not really selling that many towards the end.

If they were losing sales it wouldn`t take long to figure out what the next step would be. People could list a half dozen reason they think the Sovereign is better than the Prestige and I could list a half dozen reason that I felt the other way.

My Prestige uses all the attachments that I have for my Sovereign. Except a sickle bar and I have no use for one of those. Damn near cut my finger off loading the sickle bar into the guys truck when I sold it:D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SmilinSam

I remember discussions on this before, and I believe it was mentioned that the tooling used to produce the Soveriegn was nearly worn out. Sales were not high enough on the model to justify the expense of replacing all the expensive machinery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnwiz

Is it me or do the lower end of the simplicity line becoming more and more like the MTD line of tractors?

Plastic hoods and cheap parts. The weight of the tractor gives you a clue on the way we are heading.I just don't see todays tractors alive and well 50 years from now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RayS

The only tractor that I am aware that had a plastic hood. Is the 4200 series and that is the grille. The new models have steel hoods. The Prestige is about the same weight as a Sovereign. Mine is around 820 pounds with the deck on.

Horizontal shaft or vertical shaft means nothing on these because they are both belt driven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burntime
quote:Originally posted by RayS

I have heard from my dealer that is now retired that a couple of reasons were the cost of the BGB and they were not really selling that many towards the end. If they were losing sales it wouldn`t take long to figure out what the next step would be. People could list a half dozen reason they think the Sovereign is better than the Prestige and I could list a half dozen reason that I felt the other way.My Prestige uses all the attachments that I have for my Sovereign. Except a sickle bar and I have no use for one of those. Damn near cut my finger off loading the sickle bar into the guys truck when I sold it:D.


id="quote">
id="quote">Yeah, Ray is not having much luck with fingers!:D Just teasin bud!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnwiz
quote:Originally posted by RayS

The only tractor that I am aware that had a plastic hood. Is the 4200 series and that is the grille. The new models have steel hoods. The Prestige is about the same weight as a Sovereign. Mine is around 820 pounds with the deck on.Horizontal shaft or vertical shaft means nothing on these because they are both belt driven.


id="quote">
id="quote">I was making reference to the lower end models not the top of the line tractors. I think the quality is still there but at a price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Talntedmrgreen

I'm thinking it was simply time for a change. Obviously there had to be financial motivation as well, primarily, to reenter the market with a tractor that didn't look the same as it had for the past 20 years.

Lots of good points made above. I doubt that it would have been cheaper to keep the Sovereign presses running, than to dump them and entirely retool and reengineer dies and injection moldings for both steel and plastic components.

There had to be substantial research and ROI anaysis to make the move away from Sovereign. I'm certain one of the factors they calculated was the fact that the Sovereign's just don't die. It was born of an era where the US manufacturers were not yet producing products to meet (and rarely exceed) a given life cycle as they do today, and it was time to chit or get off the pot for Simplicity.

Changing the line took a considerable investment, and one that probably cost so much that Simplicity sold to Briggs just a few years later (that, and the fact that in only a couple years time, they bought Ferris, Snapper & Giant Vac). They made bold moves in the early 2000's, and it made them ripe for the picking.

That being said, sales have to be there for Briggs to keep the lines going, and they have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burntime

Honestly I see simplicity going to say 3 models and a cheapie to blow out as a priemier model at big box stores. Kind like John Deere did with the sable line. Why have a conquest? It would make more sense to just offer the better prestige with no lift. I am sure that briggs, as they have done already, will cheapen the line. I am sure parts will and continue to be phased out. Have you tried to buy a headlight assembly? LOL. No more diesel legacy because they could not compete with the Kubotas. Mr Green is right. The days of making something that will last and last is gone. I give it another 2-4 years and the sovereign parts will be non existant if it lasts that long. Its like Kia, sell the car cheap, sell the parts high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RayS

Mike, what has Briggs cheapened? They have not offered any new models that they were not already making when they bought out Simplicity. In fact a lot of the replacement parts are cheaper now (price wise then when Simplicity owned them)that Briggs owns them (Mass produced in Chinese sweat shops). I doubt Simplicity done that and probably due to union contracts.

The plant in Port Washington was to small. Snapper had a bigger plant and when greed is figured in. Georgia was the place to go. Plus you get cheaper wages down there by busting a union and Briggs get most of it massed produced in China. When the guy passes out on the line in China they kick him off to the side and bring in his little brother:D.

I also do not think they have compromised quality like other manufactures have. If anything with the newer V twins they have probably gotten better. All the new stuff can be repowered. Just like all of the older stuff.

12 years on a Kohler command in a Prestige and no oil usage is not compromising quality to me. It is preventive maintenance. Plus it has differential lock, tighter turning radius, foot control and a cup holder that beer cans fit in;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burntime

When the guy passes out on the line in China they kick him off to the side and bring in his little brother.

Now thats funny Ray!!!

Yes, cheaper labor has driven some prices down, but look at what the tractors still costs. No consessions. I am also not comparing your pretige, I am looking at the new stuff. Hoods are thinner, seats made cheaper, not sure about the frames. No kohler commands anymore since briggs owns them, ditched the hondas, I just am not impressed with the newer stuff. Sovereigns, landlord dlx, pretige, and legacy is the only thing I would own. A 4x4 legacy is overpriced and I think I would go Kubota before a legacy if I were to part with the cash for new. They are making all things interchangeable too to lower the price. Look at the frames from regent to pretige. Now thats not all together bad, just a sign of the times. A prestige will not tow what a sovy did, you have to get into the legacy. Yes, the prestige has the ability to add most of the attachments, but it is not as easy to apply. Of course the attachment price has gone up and there are much fewer out there used. Ideally I would have a kubota 4x4 with a loader and deck, a tried and true sovy, and a dlx or older prestige. That would be my fleet of choice! The sovy would just till, plow, and grade, pretige would cut and snow duty with the foot control and short lift rod, and boy oh boy could I landscape with a bota!!!:D Now if I just had a use for a broom!:P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curlett
quote:Originally posted by Burntime

I give it another 2-4 years and the sovereign parts will be non existant if it lasts that long.


id="quote">
id="quote">I sure hope not! I still need parts because its no secret that I like these tractors:D

image.jpg

There is some very interesting points being made, I'm learning a lot here. It sure is a shame that they don't make these tractors anymore!:(

image.jpg.6e71c2ef25192975280f30b385e9a7de.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnwiz
quote:Originally posted by RayS

Their low end models have steel hoods (Simplicity brand any ways), unless it changed this year.


id="quote">
id="quote">You are correct sir! I was at a dealer this evening and I had to take a second look..the darn thing was so flimsy I thought for sure it was plastic! It's only a matter of time I am sure and they will be like low end Deeres and go to plastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RayS
Originally posted by fishnwiz
quote:
id="quote">Hopefully not. They have resisted so far. Which Deere`s have plastic hoods? The ones at the box store? Those are not made by Deere. I thought someone mentioned AYP made the box store junk for Deere but not for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishnwiz

I have a 2000 150lt from a dealer that is all plastic hood. My tractor was NOT a big box store bought tractor but was made at Horicon and not Mexico. I believe all of the lt series had plastic hoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
drbrian722

The X300's, X500's and LX's and GT's before them have plastic hoods. "JD Alloy" I believe is what it's called in the brochure.

I, like most everyone here, do not have an objective position in this. I love my Sovereign's and I've used a lot of different "flavors" from a 3212V's to a Deutz 916H and what they all have in common is roughness. When I'm done with any of the large frames and switch seats to my Conquest it's night and day in the comfort arena. I wouldn't argue capability, but I've yet to run the Conquest to a breaking point with a dozer in dirt and snow, and I've had to use it to recover a Sovereign or two (the rear locker is what gives it that ability in my opinion).

It's that refinement that I think the market was looking for. After sitting astride a sunstrand with hand control for half a day and switching to the K66 with the foot control, you cannot ignore that drastic difference. I compare it to being on the motorcycle all day and then getting home and having to run out in the grand cherokee for an errand. It's THAT drastic.

Add to that most people who truly need machine of that capability have moved up market. My father has a yanmar diesel that does the work that needs to be done. The Sovereigns are a father-son hobby and if we accomplish real work with them, that's just a bonus! (In fairness we do get a lot of work done with the Sovereigns, but it's not the most efficient tool at our disposal, just the one we like the most.) A few decades ago these were what people used for gardens and property. Now people buy zero turns for the grass and a Kioti or Kubota for the acreage.

I've had discussions with people about reproducing Sovereigns and it's an almost impossible proposition. If you could, would you buy a Sovereign complete for $7k today if it was made in China? You need to move to an electric PTO to have a RIO safety to pass certification. What about a kit? $3-5K for a complete sovereign minus the motor and "some assembly required"? That's a tough sell, even to the devotees of the Sovereigns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
leeave96

FWIW - the plant on GA, which I believe was a Snapper plant, is closing and some models with it will no longer be offered.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2014/07/11/briggs-stratton-to-close-mcdonough-ga-plant.html

Wonder what models?

To the OP's question, I don't see how any of the old iron could have survived, Simplicity Sovereign, IH type Cub Cadets or Wheelhorse. Costly to manufacture, compared to the new stuff, the ergonomics are IMHO as good and the absence of foot controlled hydro.

I will say this In defense of the one old iron tractor - the Wheelhorse 520H tractors with the gear reduction steering, swept forward axles and one inch spindles. There is an after market foot control ground speed kit available for these tractors. I've got 4 of these tractors and 2 of them have the foot control kit. It is an easy install and works GREAT! IMHO, the 520H with the foot control kit, very heavy duty tranny, tighter turning radius via the swept fwd axle, basically power steering via the gear reduction steering, smooth/powerful 20 hp Onan twin AND foot control kit are as modern/relevant as any John Deere x500 series or Simplicity Prestige today. It is a combo that is a pleasure to use.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    • Paul M.Murphy
    • lt-scir
    • RickS
    • dayardguy
    • Brettw
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Big 10
      Big 10
      (71 years old)
    2. cowfan
      cowfan
      (51 years old)
    3. dynodave
      dynodave
      (71 years old)
    4. WaylandLegacy
      WaylandLegacy
      (44 years old)
  • Recent Status Updates

    • SonOfCreepfeed

      SonOfCreepfeed

      Thinkin' about this old girl.

      · 2 replies
    • Dean McFadden

      Dean McFadden

      Good morning peeps! I’m always searching for helpful information with my AC collection. Hope to find out new information and pass on my own experience in restoration. Here are some pics of my babies. I’m still looking for front rims for the 410 so yesterday I put the 310 wheels on took it for a drive. Working pretty good but still needs some carb work. Gotta get the 310 running next. Have a great day!😁
       

      · 1 reply
  • Adverts

×