Bombardier Recreational Products, manufacturer of Evinrude outboards and Sea-Doo PWC, announced sweeping changes to deal with the economic recession, including job cuts and reducing overall production.
The Quebec-based company said about 550 administrative/professional jobs will be eliminated, 80 percent of which will take place this month and another 20 percent during the next nine months.
Of the jobs lost, 139 will be in the United States, BRP spokeswoman Johanne Denault told Soundings Trade Only, with the majority of the layoffs at the company’s Sturtevant, Wis., operation. Of the jobs lost in Wisconsin, 20 are white-collar, or administrative, positions, and 78 are temporary layoffs of hourly employees.
BRP previously laid off about 370 blue-collar, or factory, employees in its third quarter, which ended Oct. 31, and another 430 blue-collar employees have received temporary layoff notices in the fourth quarter, the company said in a statement.
The work force reduction involves all BRP divisions.
"These are very difficult decisions to make, but we must take appropriate preventive measures considering the seriousness of the situation," said José Boisjoli, president and CEO, in a statement.
"We believe these measures will reduce our costs and make BRP less vulnerable to drastic declines in revenues caused by events outside our control, such as the current crisis," he added.
BRP also plans to reduce overall production volumes in the coming year by 20 percent for fiscal year 2009-’10. There are no plans to close any production facilities, Denault said.
The company plans to merge its engine divisions into a new Powertrain division, which will be responsible for the manufacturing and engineering of Evinrude and Rotax engines.
Evinrude manufacturing will remain in Sturtevant, Wis., and Dalang, China. Rotax engines will continue to be manufactured in Gunskirchen, Austria, and in Juarez, Mexico.
BRP is creating a Vehicle Development and Manufacturing division that will encompass the Valcourt and Benton plants as well as the Juarez plant with regards to the manufacturing of all-terrain vehicles. Also, all engineering services for the Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Can-Am brands will be integrated into this new division, as well as the new product-development process, including the procurement strategy for these brands.
"We are confident these initiatives will help us come out of the recession a stronger company because this new structure provides us with the tools to focus on cost reductions, market strategies, product launches, product innovation and to maximize synergies in both the Vehicle Development and Manufacturing division and the Powertrain division," said Boisjoli.