Jobs Cut at Big Dog

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A slower-than-anticipated sales season has led Big Dog Motorcycles to lay off 7 percent of its work force from its Wichita, Kan., headquarters.

The company said that it had hired more workers in anticipation of the seasonal increase in motorcycle sales, but the increase was weaker than expected.

Nick Messer, president of Big Dog, put the exact number at 18 employees "mostly in direct labor from various parts of the organization."

"We anticipate no adverse effects on production," Messer says. "We still have 240 employees and have several open positions that we are attempting to fill."

The company described the cuts as "pre-emptive."

The news comes about a month after Big Dog announced that it was canceling its popular two-year-old Tornado Rally. Messer told Big Twin Dealer (Dealernews' sister publication) that the rally was canceled over concerns of lost sales and congestion from neighboring businesses, and that the city of Wichita had scaled back the space it would agree to close off for the rally.

With the rally growing from 5,000 attendees its first year to 30,000 people last year, it had already outgrown its original footprint. The newly assigned space would have been too small, Messer says.

The growing event was also a drain on company resources, Messer says. "We would spend a great deal of time getting the factory set up for all of the tours that came through that three-day weekend, which, of course, hurt our production numbers that week."

He added that the rally had always been a financial loss for the company, but that the monetary drain had been figured into the event's budget.