REDLINE Snowmobiles Was to Start Production of 700 Sleds Last December
(ed note: the company filed for bankcrupty recently Nov/04)
By Scott A. Sumner
We recently had the opportunity to see and find out more about Redline snowmobiles, the high end technological superior snowmobile that is close to full production and should be on the snow with 700 sleds this winter.
Robin Master is the National Sales Manager for Redline snowmobiles, based out of California, at Vista just outside San Diego, The company keeps an incubation centre, a sort of a think tank in California and will assembly and produce out of Fargo, North Dakota. Their sales effort will be out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. "We contacted with Interstate Company which is a very a significant entity to do our assembly for us in Fargo ,North Dakota," said Robin Master.
Redline has been in concept for 4 years. It started as a group of enthusiasts who sat down and took a clean sheet of paper with the idea of trying to improve on some of the areas of the snowmobiling industry that they thought were lagging behind in terms of technology and in particular looking at areas of power sports, that could be applied successfully to the snowmobile business. "In concept we are about a four year old company. I'm not one of the founders but fortunate enough to get involved shortly after the start. Right now the company is publically traded," said Master. "These are protypes. The ones we are looking at here are very very close to production. There are a few parts and a few prototype pieces missing but in essence what you see here is what you will see this fall. We begin assembly in the first week to ten days of December and we expect that will have all the inventory out by the end of January."
Redline will build about 700 units this year in Fargo and will have an extensive dealer network in Canada, "We decided to walk before we ran in Canada. We have 50 dealers in the US. Right now we have 5 dealers in Canada and will probably have close to 20 shortly, "stated Master. "The sale of the product has never really been an issue. We want to make sure we have correct distribution. We have dealers who would like to buy 50 or 60 snowmobiles if they could. We can't allow that. Each dealer will get an allotment and we will have more dealers than we need to sell 700 snowmobiles. We need correct distribution and be in a position to service the snowmobiles in the area that they are being ridden. They will retail for $16,000 Cdn, or $12,000 US."
"It is our own 800cc engine. We do the engine assembly in California. The interesting thing about 2 stroke engines is that they are not that complicated. We have a very experienced engine designer who has worked with most of the two stroke companies. He is well known and respected," says Master. "The Redline engine is 800 cc and 140 HP. The projected weight of the sled is 525 to 530 pounds. We see our sled as technology you can't get anywhere else, a premium product. We consider our snowmobile to be a BMW or Ferrari, something premium not exotic. We have more suspension than anyone in the industry with the swing arm style. It is the same design that a motocross or off road vehicles use. It is the only thing that actually works. We have 15 inches of true vertical movement in our rail. You have as much travel at the front of the rear suspension as you do at the back. The front of the suspension is where you have the travel. There are some weight savings but we add some other components so it is a similar weight. Overall depending on what your button is there are many things we have done with this snowmobile that consumers find very interesting. It is a high quality product. It is full tube chrome molly chassis so it is very rigid and durable."
The goal of Redline is to produce a true production snowmobile which involves many millions of dollars worth of tooling and R&D. "We are at the point now that our tooling is so sophisticated that we are a true identically reproducible manufacturer and that is the key," says Master. "We can put parts on the shelf that a consumer or dealer can buy and replace. It is no longer a hand built unit. It is identically reproducible from unit to unit."
A Redline dealer must have another line of snowmobiles besides Redline. "Our build is very limited. We believe we will enhance the dealers sales just by having Redline on the floor. We provide dealers with broad markets, good margins and we will attract people into the dealership," states Master. "We definitely will expand our production into different models. We have projections and aspirations but this year we will build 700 sleds."
Master has been racing snowmobiles, oval and drag, and is excited about the Redline sled. "It's pretty dynamic. It's still 140 hp, 525 pounds with two skis, but the suspension is unique and the drive system is gear to gear. It's called a clutch isolation system," states Master. "When you pull the engine from the chassis, both clutches stay in the chassis. It is a very unique system. We design the component parts from the ground up and outsource the machining. Our goal has been to build a true manufactured identically reproducible snowmobile with new technology that has yet to be provided in the snowmobile industry. There will ride tests as soon as we have snowmobiles and snow. We have a limited opportunity to show off our sleds so we'll be out there, "