Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP), a privately held company that was spun off of Bombardier Inc. in 2004, will relocate its watercraft production from Valcourt, QC, to Mexico. BRP employs approximately 1500 in Mexico, and plans to increase capacity at its factory in Juarez, directly across the Rio Grande from El Paso, TX, in addition to finding a new site for a second plant in the region.
BRP’s Juarez facility makes Rotax engines for recreational produces and assembles both side-by-side and all-terrain vehicles. Products to be manufactured in Mexico include the popular Sea-Doo and other watercraft produced by BRP. According to BRP spokesman Pierre Pichette, the move will help free up space for the continued manufacture of the Ski-Doo and the Spyder Roadster, a three-wheeled vehicle.
Pichette told PlasticsToday that BRP has been manufacturing in Mexico since 2007 and currently makes the three-wheeled Can-AM ATVs there in addition to the Rotax engines and the side-by-side products.
With respect to what this move might mean to BRP’s suppliers, Pichette said that the company has been successful in attracting Quebec suppliers to Mexico. “We currently have a good supplier base in Mexico, and we’ve invited some of [our suppliers] to follow us in Mexico,” Pichette said. “We should know in the coming months if they will or not.”
The company has a standard process to assess potential suppliers, and the supplier base in Mexico has grown considerably over the past five years because of the company’s growing presence, Pichette explained.
The company is keeping the Ski-Doo production in Canada because of the climate that is more conducive to the sales of the snowmobiles in that region. Moving the Sea-Doo gets that product’s manufacturing closer to areas where the climate is more suitable to year-round water sports. “And, Mexico is also part of the [North American ] Free Trade Agreement,” Pichette said.
In April, BRP announced that it planned to expand its Spruce Pine facility in Mitchell County, NC, investing $1.1 million over the next three years and adding 70 jobs.
BRP saw its volumes of Sea-Doos and other watercraft drop about 75% over the past few years, “which hit the marine product very hard.” Despite that rough patch, Pichette added, “We remain confident the industry will rebound.”