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Is Big Dog Motorcycles Closing its Doors?

Monday, April 4, 2011
Another great day of riding comes to an end.
The internet is buzzing with word that Big Dog Motorcyles is ready to ride off into the sunset and close its doors for good, but as of today there are still people in the building answering phones and working away.
Word is spreading over the internet that Big Dog Motorcycles is closing its doors. Blogger Cyril Huze is the first to report the company has been calling dealers to inform them that Big Dog Motorcycles is going under. The Wichita Eagle, located in the same city as Big Dog’s manufacturing plant and headquarters, didn’t run the same story but did report that BDM cut another 10 production workers and is down to 22 employees. In the Wichita Eagle story, it states that company president Mike Simmons is deferring questions about the company’s status to Big Dog owner Sheldon Coleman, who couldn’t be reached at the time the article was published.

Maybe Big Dog’s surprise withdrawal of its request for a tax exemption last month was a precursor to its closing. The request sought an extension to the $1.1 million industrial revenue bond issued in 2003 and city council members reportedly had already recommended the approval of the exemption.

A call to Big Dog earlier today refuted the claim. The receptionist who answered the phone said that as of today their doors were still open. Dan Voorhis, a business editor for The Wichita Eagle who wrote the story mentioned above reporting the company had laid off more workers, validates her story. Voorhis paid a visit to the plant earlier today and said at the moment “There are still people working there and they assured me that life goes on (minus the 10 production workers). So, obviously the place isn’t shut down.”

In December of 2009, Big Dog hired the investment banking firm of William Blair & Company to “assist in evaluating a possible merger, strategic partnership or sale of Big Dog or its assets. Big Dog and its shareholders will also consider selling additional equity to add capital, other financing options or a recapitalization of the company." Its quest for a financial lifeline has gone unanswered though. BDM did seek to expand its presence in the international market recently and lists two new 2011 model in its stable, the K-9 250.and the Bulldog Sport.

Big Dog Motorcycles opened its doors in 1994 and was once the leading factory custom motorcycle manufacturer around, with over 25,000 units sold. But in true cyclical fashion, the demand for raked out, fat-backed choppers powered by monstrous V-Twins has run its course. The price of a Big Dog also starts in the $20,000 range and goes up from there. Financing for big ticket items is almost non-existent and the hesitancy of consumers to put out that type of capital has put financial strains on the company.
Post Tags: Big Dog Motorcycles, BDM, Big Dog choppers, Sheldon Coleman
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Mitch April 5, 2011 07:48 PM
I suppose given the current financial climate and changing trends it is inevitable. Seems the only way to make $$$ from choppers anymore is to make them affordable/entry level friendly like the Fury/Stryker or make them completely custom ordered and/or sell parts like West Coast Choppers. Big Dog was one of the kings of the middle market but that well seems to be drying up.