Brunswick to close four plants, cut 1,000 jobs
News Sentinel staff
Originally published 09:57 a.m., June 26, 2008
Updated 12:37 p.m., June 26, 2008
The Sea Ray plant at Forks of the River Industrial Park in Knoxville. Brunswick Corp. said Thursday it will cut 1,000 jobs, including about 310 in East Tennessee. The company also plans to close four boat manufacturing plants in an effort to slash costs by $300 million this year.
Brunswick Corp. said Thursday it will cut 1,000 jobs, including about 310 in East Tennessee. The company also plans to close four boat manufacturing plants in an effort to slash costs by $300 million this year. The four plants have not been identified, said Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera.
Employees were notified today of the layoffs.
Locally, 270 employees will lose their jobs at the Sea Ray plants in Knoxville and Vonore. Another 40 employees at the U.S. Marine plant in Dandrige, Tenn. will also be let go.
Retail unit sales of power boats in the United States have been in decline since late 2005; however, the rate of decline has been accelerating, Dustan E. McCoy, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
Industry retail unit sales were down 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 and down 21 percent in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the respective year-ago quarters. Further, these reductions were recorded off of an already low base. Total unit sales of power boats in the United States in 2007 were at their lowest in more than 40 years, McCoy added.
“An uncertain economy, high fuel and food prices, slumping home sales and values, rising unemployment and other factors continue to erode U.S. consumers’ confidence and are reducing their ability and desire to purchase discretionary items such as boats, and billiards tables and fitness equipment for their homes,” said Dustan E. McCoy, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
“For our planning purposes, we are not assuming that these pressures will abate any time soon. As a result, we are planning for an environment in which the U.S. marine market will be smaller in the near term, and we will resize our company accordingly.”
The company said that it had notified employees today that it would be reducing its hourly and salaried work force at some of its marine plants by 1,000. Further work force reductions of approximately 1,000 hourly and 700 salaried employees across the company’s marine business units and staff functions are contemplated as additional plant closures and consolidations and other cost-cutting measures are completed, according to the news release.
Brunswick has already completed or announced eight plant closuers since 2007, which will bring the total number of plants to 17 by the end of 2009. Brunswick also plans to reduce the number of models and option packages it offers.