Following the recent injection of $2 million in capital, gross proceeds of $10 million from its initial public stock offering, and a new assembly and testing partner, Redline Performance Products, Inc. has begun production of the first snowmobiles in the company’s four-year history.
The company said it expects shipments to dealers to start this month. Redline plans to significantly ramp up production levels during February and March 2004, and expects to deliver a total of 600-700 snowmobiles during this 2003-2004 snowmobile season.
“This is an exciting culmination of years of planning and hard work,” says Kent Harle, CEO of Redline. “We really appreciate the support and patience of our dealer network, investors, employees and everyone else who has ‘kept the faith’ while waiting for this dream to become a reality.”
There have been a number of false starts, much to the chagrin of its dozens of dealers and hundreds, if not thousands, of well-wishers, but the publicly-traded company said last month it refused to release a sled that did not meet all of it’s expectations.
In November, Redline said it expected to begin limited shipments of the 800 Revolt in mid-December, and expected to deliver a total of 600 to 700 units during the 2003-2004 season. Once December arrived, the company repeated its claim.
“We could have pushed a pretty good sled out the door last month, but we’re more interested in putting a great sled out,” Mark Payne, Redline president and CFO, told Powersports Business in late January.
“We’re at the tail end of having all of the kinks worked out, everything dialed in the way we want it; so now we’re just bringing in the final parts to get to the point where we can commence assembly,” he said. “We want it to be right instead of just pushing it out the door.
“I don’t want our dealers to think we’re happy about the timing issues, but I like the way Rob Massey, our director of sales, puts it: ‘Right now, there’s no such thing as a good date. We’re passed the point of a good date; there’s only a good sled.’ So we have to come out with the quality we’ve been professing and the quality we’ve been aiming for.”
Redline engineers have spent the winter working on the Revolt in Wyoming, and most recently finished some additional tests in northern Minnesota. Although Payne says the $12,000 Revolt is sure to be released in 2004 — “because we can get 600 or 700 into the system even at this timeframe” — the sled is being marketed as a 2005 model on the company’s Web site.
“From our standpoint, this will be an early release ’05 and not a late ’04,” Payne said. “The machine, had it come out in September, would not have had a few of the things we’ve had time to add. For instance, the taillight is different, the hood is different, and there are some other things that are different than what would have been on the ’04.
“I think it will attract the enthusiast, but the price tag and performance will not make this a sled for the weekend rider. And that’s actually what we’re looking for, is the rider who can supply us with the feedback that will be significant in terms of enhancing it in the future.”
The Revolt’s forte, Payne said, “is in the bumps from 20mph to 60mph.”
Payne estimated 60 dealers have signed on to carry Redline sleds. He said the company would like between 60 and 70 dealers initially, and said a best-case scenario would have each dealer ordering seven to 10 sleds.
Redline’s second-year goal is 1,500 units, he said, adding that the company would like to eventually have a network of 200 to 300 dealers, each geographically located to maximize sales potential and profitability.
“We’re not out to displace someone in the industry and we’re certainly not trying to be the biggest,” Payne maintained. “But dealers have been choking on inventory, so if they have something that’s exciting and performing well and has potential, our machine is not going to be a big problem to bring in.
“I certainly look forward to the headline some day that says it was worth the wait.”
Look for Redline’s 800 Revolt displayed at the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis.