APRIL FOOLS! APRIL FOOLS! APRIL FOOLS! APRIL FOOLS!
Arctic Cat to Produce Snowmobiles in Brazil???
I suppose it was just a matter of time, but Arctic Cat may soon join competitors Polaris and Ski-Doo by moving some of its production south of the United States, to take advantage of the less expensive labor and relaxed environmental laws available in Latin America.
But unlike Polaris and BRP, who located (or are relocating) their ATV production to Mexico, Arctic Cat has accelerated the race-to-the-bottom, leapfrogging the competition southward to possibly settle in even less-expensive Brazil.
The purchase of 50 acres of land outside of an industrial park in Sao Paulo, Brazil, caps a year-long effort aimed at finding a suitable low-cost production region and labor source capable of Arctic Cat’s current and future production needs. With an estimated population of 170 million people, Sao Paulo has a slightly more robust workforce than that available in Thief River Falls and surrounding communities.
Plus, the fact that both countries are coded “Orange” by the International Monetary Fund eases the burdens of currency exchange and shipping requirements.
An official at Arctic Cat acknowledged to me that the company’s decision to transition away from Suzuki engines did in fact directly influence the desire to move production to Brazil. Some of the companies currently doing business in this region of Latin America include Honda, Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton and SanRevco. Whether any of these companies might have some future involvement with Arctic Cat’s snowmobile engine supply is only speculation at this point.
The announcement of Arctic Cat’s intention to produce snowmobiles in Brazil will not materially impact their previous decision to produce engines at their St. Cloud, Minn., facility.
I must admit to feeling both shock and confusion regarding Arctic Cat’s most recent venture.
I understand that despite what many customers SAY about their allegiance to North American-made products, that their true buying habits are geared towards whatever product is least-expensive, which in today’s world means out-sourced goods from Latin America or Asia-Pacific. It all comes down to saving dollars, and Arctic Cat is doing EXACTLY the same thing its customers are doing: buying their stuff at the cheapest location. Some call it “globalism,” and others call it “resource exploitation.”
(If you’re protesting my point, ask yourself when was the last time you bought products at your local hardware store vs. Home Depot or Lowes? Are Mexican-built BRP and Polaris ATVs selling?)
On the other hand, I can’t help but lament the loss of domestic jobs and the impact that will have on Thief River Falls. At the very least it seems as if Arctic Cat could have waited until after the 50th Anniversary Celebration before announcing its intentions to move production away from TRF, as this news might ferment into a combustible situation in the beer tent on that fateful weekend.
Arctic Cat hasn’t indicated when it will move snowmobile production to Brazil, or when it will break ground on the new factory, but it’s believed to be directed at its NEXT snowmobile platform that will follow the recent 2012 ProCross/ProClimb. Common sense suggests 2017.
I did learn that Arctic Cat management recently purchased a half-dozen Rosetta’s Stone learn-to-speak Portuguese kits, presumably for the handful of manufacturing and engineering positions that will require fluency in the common language of Brazil.
Check back here for more details in the coming days.
UPDATE: It’s April Fools Folks!
UPDATE: It’s April Fools Folks!
My very sincere apologies to anyone who got derailed by the phony news report. My intention was to have a bit of harmless fun. Based on some feedback I’ve gotten, I now know that it wasn’t quite so harmless, and for that I truly am sorry. – John Sandberg