Bombardier Inc.'s cutback in personal watercraft production will delay its plans to make reinforced-plastic components in-house.
The Montreal transportation products major decided to cut by half its output of watercraft such as Sea-Doo, one of the most popular brands on the market. Until recently, Sea-Doo sales were booming and in February the firm had made its 500,000th unit after debuting the high-speed watercraft nine years ago. It sells Sea-Doo in 70 countries.
The slowdown means Bombardier will delay indefinitely its plans to make major fiberglass-reinforced plastic components for Sea-Doo at one of its facilities, according to Marc Pelletier, vice president of the company's consumer products group.
Bombardier said in early spring it planned to make FRP components in St.-Antoine-de-Tilly, Quebec, after moving that facility's boat production to its Benton, Ill., plant.
Instead, Bombardier will close its St.-Antoine-de-Tilly operation, Pelletier said in a telephone interview from the consumer products group office in Valcourt, Quebec. About 170 workers were slated to make FRP Sea-Doo components there.
The Sea-Doo slump will be felt by at least one Bombardier FRP supplier. ADS Inc., which makes Sea-Doo hulls, said it expects to operate only one of three hull production lines for the 1988 season. The firm, based in the city of Quebec, estimates its sales for the year ending Jan. 31 will be nearly C$14 million (US$10.2 million) — short of earlier forecasts, mainly because of the Sea-Doo slump. ADS also said its profit probably will be C$3.5 million (US$2.5 million) below what analysts had forecast.
Bombardier blamed its watercraft sales drop on competitors dumping inventory from the 1996 season.