Briggs & Stratton Will Cut Jobs, Offshore More Engine Production
May 1, 2012
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Briggs & Stratton doesn't see the U.S. outdoor power equipment market recovering fully to previous levels and, as a result, is going to cut jobs in the United States, move some production to China, and shift its retail focus away from mass merchandisers.

Plans call for the company to cut 10% of its salaried workers during fiscal 2012, affecting about 210 employees worldwide. About 250 regular employees will be affected at its Auburn, Alabama plant.

The company will no longer pursue placement of lawn and garden products at national mass retailers. Instead, the retail focus will be on the higher margin products sold through its network of dealers of Simplicity, Snapper, and Ferris brand equipment as well as regional retailers.

Briggs & Stratton will continue to sell pressure washers and generators through the U.S. mass retail channel.

Production of horizontal shaft engines currently made in a plant in Auburn, AL, will move to the Briggs & Stratton plant in Chongqing, China or will be sourced from third parties in Southeast Asia. The company moved smaller horizontal shaft engines to the Chongqing plant in 2007.

Portable generators will still be manufactured in Auburn until the end of 2012, and Briggs & Stratton said it is evaluating manufacturing alternatives for this product, including the possibility of outsourcing the generators.

The Auburn plant will continue producing V-Twin engines used in riding mowers and other outdoor power applications.

"While we appear poised for an improved lawn and garden market here in the U.S., our longer term projections of the lawn and garden market in the U.S. and in Europe do not return to the peaks that we saw in 2004 and 2005 for the foreseeable future," said Todd Teske, chairman, president, and CEO.

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