Big Dog owners are wondering where to turn for warranty support on their bikes. Though the official BDM warranty ended with the company, S&S is stepping up to the plate and offering a special engine warranty to all owners of Big Dog motorcycles that were still covered by the factory warranty. S&S company president George Smith commented “I’m certainly sad to see a good customer like BDM close their doors, but I feel that we need to shoulder the responsibility, and make sure the end customer gets a square deal. I suppose we could just look the other way, but I won’t do that. After all, these are S&S engines. We built them and we’re going to stand behind them!”
It has now been confirmed that Big Dog Motorcycles has closed for good. Cyril Huze first broke the story that Big Dog was closing and later The Wichita Eagle reported that the company has laid another 10 employees off but stopped short of confirming that the remaining 22 have been given pink slips. The company started in 1994.
The company’s official Facebook Fan Page has not responded to inquiries about the closing and company owner Sheldon Coleman has not responded to calls or emails.
Blogger Cyril Huze is saying he was told last week by a source that the company’s closing would happen this week.
Huze speculates that Coleman may negotiate with the bank to regain possession of the company’s stock of parts that he has used as collateral for loans to start a smaller business supplying parts to the past customers of the brand.
*Update April 5, 2011 10:30am – Headline changed
DealerNews is reporting that Rick Fairless, owner of Strokers Dallas has spoken with Sheldon Coleman about Big Dog’s demise. “Sheldon called me and said the bank was taking over operations, and that the bank was shutting down the production line,” he told Dealernews. “So Big Dog Motorcycles as we know it has ceased to exist. It’s a sad, sad day.”
With it’s market in the US all but dead, Wichita Kansas based Big Dog Motorcycles announced yesterday that it has entered the European market with four models and has appointed Belgium-based Legend Motorcycle Group GCV as its European distributor.
In a press release, Sheldon Coleman, founder and CEO of Big Dog said, “European distribution has been a goal of ours for several years, but we have been very selective as to the perfect partner to make this a reality, Legend Motorcycle Group has been the ideal ally in every phase of the process. They understand the European market, they provide exceptional customer service and they share our passion for our products.”
The Big Dog models K-9, Wolf, Pitbull and Coyote recently passed certification tests for distribution in the European Union.
According to the release, Legend has relationships with seven dealers in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Luxemburg. Observers say this is a good thing for Big Dog, but it may not be enough to save the company from eventual bankruptcy.
In another round of layoffs, Big Dog Motorcycles inches closer to complete shutdown.
According to information on Cyril Huze blog, several key employees have been let go. John Brock (since 2003 Vice President Of Operations), Anne Dixon (Customer Service Manager) and Wayne Hanson (since 2006 Customer Support Manager.)
The June 26th factory Open House was cancelled with no future date set and as of June 28th, the factory has not confirmed its vending spot at the upcoming 70th Sturgis Rally and Races this August.
Since mid 2009, Big Dog owner Coleman Sheldon has been actively seeking an investing partner or a complete buyout.
Several other prominent factory custom brands are said to be having difficulties and are behind on reimbursing their dealers for advertising co-op money.