Mr. Wizard Looks into OMC's Future

What's Next for OMC?

by Mr. Wizard

RBBI LogoHuggins Link

Contact Mr. Wizard

Copyright © 2001 by Polson Enterprises. All rights reserved.

  • Huggins Outboard announces free online test of their picture part reference system used to identify aftermarket
    parts for OMC and other manufactures.

  • Please help out Mr. Wizard by emailing breaking news to his attention.
    We have had some requests for this page in other languages.
    You can obtain a rapid free machine translate the entire page by copying
    the URL, to the
    AltaVista translator and selecting the language desired.

    Mr. Wizard is updating this page several times a day.
    Please check back for the latest developments.

    Polson Enterprises Research Services

    Recent News Coverage

    18 May: Several have asked about the lack of updates to this site, the answer is their is nothing to update. Bombardier has been very closed mouthed about any plans. Mr. Wizard had to get back to his real job, but we will continue to cover major developments, if and when they occur.

    18 May: Genmar announced they will be dropping Mercury from most product lines (no great surprise), they will be using Bombardier as their prime supplier.

    10 May: Bombardier blast fax announced the appointment of Dean Devore as the Director of Parts and Accessories.

    9 May: Bombardier blast fax announced discounts to dealers on existing 2001 outboard inventories up to 18% and free shipping.

    Apr 12: Brunswick announced today they are closing eight U.S. Marine plants for 1 to 5 weeks and eliminating 170 positions. This amplifies other signals of bad times ahead for the industry.

    Apr 10: Today's Bombardier dealer blast fax says Announces the return of Dealer Port/OMNI capability and open accounts for parts & accessory orders. Plus, best of all, they will offer a rebate program for old-OMC rebate credits from Quarterly Volume, Package Outboards and Sales Growth programs. It will not cover the old co-op advertising, yellow pages, outdoor inluminated signs, stationery, service programs or the Secure Stock program. To recieve these rebates, all outstanding ballances must be paid.

    Apr 5: Bombardier dealer blast fax states they have created a new Boats and Outboard Engines division which will be headed by Roch Lambert. Henry Lonski will be VP Business Development for the group.

    Apr 5: U.S. Coast Guard issued a recall for the Evinrude Ficht a 200 and 225 motors. Full text of the recall is below.

    Coast Guard Advisory to Recreational Boaters on Fuel Leak Hazard
    Involving Evinrude FICHT 200 and 225 horsepower Outboard Motors

    The Coast Guard advises owners and operators of boats powered by 1999 or 2000 Evinrude FICHT 200 and 225 horsepower outboard motors about a fuel leak problem that causes a potential fire and explosion hazard. There is evidence that fuel leaks affecting these outboard models have resulted in fires and explosions that, in some cases, caused personal injuries. The Coast Guard advises owners and operators to cease using 1999 or 2000 Evinrude FICHT 200 and 225 horsepower outboard motors until such time as the defect is corrected. The Coast Guard recently learned that in November 2000 the Outboard Marine Corporation sent a “service upgrade bulletin” to its Evinrude outboard motor dealers concerning the company’s 1999 and 2000 model year 200 and 225 horsepower models. The upgrade was intended to “reduce the likelihood of fuel leaks, which can be a potentially hazardous condition.” After further investigation, the Coast Guard learned that between July 1999 and December 2000 OMC had received reports of an unacceptably high number of fires and explosions involving the company’s 1999 and 2000 model year Evinrude FICHT 200 and 225 horsepower models.

    The Coast Guard has the legal authority to require manufacturers of boats and engines to notify owners and to recall and repair or replace products that contain defects which create a substantial risk of personal injury to the public, or which fail to comply with an applicable U.S. Coast Guard safety standard. The Coast Guard has determined that the problems involving the 1999 and 2000 model year Evinrude FICHT 200 and 225 horsepower motors constitute a defect that creates a substantial risk of injury to the public. Under normal circumstances, the Coast Guard would notify OMC that a safety recall was necessary and would pursue the correction of this defect via OMC. However, OMC filed for bankruptcy in federal court in December 2000 and has since sold its Evinrude and Johnson outboard engine lines to Bombardier Motor Corporation of America. Bombardier has agreed to accept responsibility for this recall and will be notifying affected Evinrude owners in the near future. Bombardier reports that they intend to distribute upgrade kits to dealers that will correct this problem and that several thousand of the affected outboards have previously been corrected by OMC through the installation of these upgrade kits.

    Apr 3: Bombardier press release, Bombardier Recreational Products forms Alliance with Direct Marketing Leader Overton's states Bombardier has joined with Overtons to sell direct. The three pronged program 1. Allows dealers to become web enabled, 2. The new Bombardier direct catalog is a potential vehicle through which dealers can reach their current customer base and possible revive former customers. The first catalogs were sent to U.S. consumers in March and 3. Dealers will benefit from the new Bombardier direct web site, as purchasers will have the OPTION to pickup to pickup goods at their favorite participating dealership.
    Mr. Wizard note: Bet dealers will be really thrilled with this one.

    Mar 30: Today's Bombardier dealer blast fax announced the purchased the Ralph Evinrude Test Center (RETC) in Stuart FL from Genmar Holdings. They say RETC will continue to support our engineers, product developers and marketers in the introduction and refinement of all marine products, including Evinrude FICHT Ram Injection technology. "The RETC will live on as the home of the most capable group of engine and boat handling experts in the world."

    Mar 30: One of our viewers reported, Bombardier purchased the old OMC Hong Kong operation for $20 million.

    Mar 28: PBGC press release on Mar. 15th says OMC is considering moving its underfunded pension plan to private insurers and to eliminate certain benefits.

    Mar 28: Mar 28: Bombardier provided a one page document to the dealers describing the process of the Evinrude ficht repair. the repair kit, how to order them, and set 3.3 warranty hours as the allowance for the repair. It also discusses placing a rubber boot on the number 1 injector as a means to identifying modified engines.

    Mar 23: Bombardier's blast fax sent to dealers late today announces the recall of all 1999 and 2000 Evinrude 200 and 225 Ficht engines not yet upgraded for potential fuel leak, fire and explosion hazards. Text of recall is below.

    As we prepare to restart outboard production, an issue of significant importance has come to our attention. This issue has to do with the recall of all 1999 and 2000 Evinrude Outboards with Ficht technology in the 200 and 225 horsepower categories that have not been upgraded and were built by OMC. These units may suffer fuel leaks that could potentially result in fire or explosion.

    Supporting the recall of these units is another example of our strong commitment to the dealer network and the customers it serves. Bombardier will absorb the costs associated with this recall. Bombardier has always been and continues to be proactive in promoting the safety of its customers and the boating community in general. We want to maintain the confidence of our dealers in the products they sell and the confidence of their customers. This is a top priority.

    We are currently developing the details regarding the recall process, how to obtain the upgrade kits and compensation rates for making the necessary upgrade. We will be sending this information to you in the very near future. In addition, we will send a letter to all registered owners urging them to discontinue using their product(s) and outlining what they need to do to upgrade their unit(s). Similar letters will be directed to the boating media, in an effort to reach as many people as possible, to alert them to this important safety issue.

    We will also continue to post information on DealerPort and the Web site, as it becomes available. We urge you to utilize these tools form information updates, as this will free up the phone lines and enable us to serve you faster and in a more efficient manner.

    We intend to work diligently with you and your customers to correct his safety related problem and get them back on the water as quickly as possible.

    Roch Lambert
    Vice President and General Manager
    Bombardier Motor Corporation of America

    Mar 26: Boating Industry International article, Bombardier recalls FICHTengines, covers the recent recall and says the Coast Guard will release an advisory statement, perhaps as soon as today.

    Mar 23: Boating Industry International article, Genmar recalls Stratos boats, reports a voluntary recall of Stratos 19SS and 20SS units built in model year 2000. They will be tested and repaired or replaced as necessary by Genmar. They also announce a switch in their earlier warranty position, Stratos/Javelin 2000/2001 models will receive a 5 yr. structural hull, 1 year component parts and 1 year trailer warranty.

    Mar 23: Boating Industry International article, Customers concerned over old FICHT engines, raises the issues discussed on this site earlier. Several are concerned about Ficht fire problems on the older engines and who might be responsible for the liability.

    Mar 21: Boating Industry International article, Bombardier returns 200 to work, reports about 200 have been hired. Still no comment on if will be built in the existing facilities or elsewhere (Canada). The company is still working on its business plan and will make an announcement in ther future, "perhaps within about 2 months". A union representative says they have not received a call back from Bombardier.

    Mar 20: Today's Bombardier blast fax says they are in the middle of recertifying the environmental performance of the engines with the EPA and that is the reason for the delay in responding to orders. They believe the process will be finished in the next two weeks. Each model needs to be recertified. The fax also announces their new web sites that have been up a couple days. and

  • News Coverage Prior to Mar 20th

  • We received a great on-site report from the Bankruptcy Court hearing Feb 8th by an independent sports writer. It details the process used to consider and reject Brunswick's bid.

    Mr. Wizard's Latest Thoughts

    Apr 5: With the U.S. Coast Guard recall and the many reports of fires, it is starting to look like OMC may have been trying to dump more than debt at the bankruptcy. It also ends Bombardier's short honeymoon before the first big problem. Sounds kind like President Bush and the current China issue.

    Mar 26: The Ficht recall is inline with my response to one of the fitch fire letters posted on Feb 20th ,

    Mr. Wizard reply: .... "I suspect Bombardier will keep their eye on the fire issue. Although they are not technically liable for past problems, if they try to go forward with the model names and the old units become well know for catching fire, they are smart enough to realize that is not good for future sales and will probably take some sort of action."
    Sounds like my crystal ball worked this time!!

    Mar 23: Genmar seems to not be using their web site as a communication tool during this time. Only has a press release about the purchase. Still does not say anything about the Stratos recall or the Stratos/Javelin warranty. Think they would at least use it when good news like the warranty was allowed along?

    Mar 15: I received a copy of Bombardier's Mar 14 blast fax to the dealers.

    "We are actively developing a detailed plan and will soon be in a position to announce the action plan for the future of this business. ... In the meantime your continued patience is appreciated."
    They posted the same basic content on their web site two days earlier in their March 12 press release:
    "We are now actively developing a detailed business plan and we will soon be in a position to announce our action plan for this business"
    Seems like they might tell their dealers first, even when their is no real news, But wait, looks like they did in their Feb 15 dealer blast fax:
    We will be working on the Business Action Plan in the upcoming weeks to transition these three historic brands into the Bombardier family. We will keep you abreast of the direction in which we will be heading.
    Seems to me, like they must need some help. If I went out bought something for $50 million at an auction and still hadn't figured out what to do with it 5 weeks later, Mrs. Wizard would kick my butt!

    Some Archived Earlier Thoughts from Mr. Wizard.

    Aftermarket Service Parts

      The OMC parts availability problem is now easing because you can identify aftermarket service parts using the web. Huggins Outboard now has a web version of their popular aftermarket parts cross reference. For a limited time, you can visit and try out the PicturePart cross reference. As more and more businesses get full time high speed connections to the web, web based applications such as this will become more and more popular. No installation is required to your local hard drive. The data is always kept up to date by the Huggins Outboard webmaster.

    DEALERS & INDEPENDENT REPAIR FACILITIES! If you need parts for your OMC engines while OMC is not shipping parts, perhaps that part is available on the aftermarket and you don't know who makes it, the aftermarket part numbers, or how much it costs. Huggins can help. Our aftermarket parts cross reference computer program (approximately $100 without images and $500 with images) cross references OMC part numbers to other OEM and aftermarket suppliers and supplies current cost information. This program received the Innovation Award in the Service Shop Category at Boating Week 2000.       Please help support our efforts with this page and tell them Mr. Wizard sent you.

    Robert Huggins
    Huggins Outboard Computer Programs, Inc.
    (919) 787-1836
    Huggins Link

    Job Openings for ex-OMC Employees

    If you are an employer with possible job openings for ex-OMC employees, please drop us a note and we will post them.
    This effort has been so successful we had to move it to the Job Openings for ex-OMC employees Page. Additional employment information is on our OMC Employee FAQ page.

    Please email Mr. Wizard any comments you may have on this page or the OMC situation. We will remove your name and any company affiliation information before we post them. If you request us not to publish you comments, we will honor your request.

    Reader Comments

    Comments below were posted on or after Apr 10.
    Over 500 earlier responses are on our Mr. Wizard OMC Feedback Page.

    Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001
    From: M
    Subject: Loss of Pension Supplement
    Has anyone heard anything about the loss of the supplement for OMC/Evinrude
    retirees.  We heard it was to be effective 5/1/01. Help.
    Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 From: s To: Subject: 1999/2000 Ficht Fire Hazard Bombardier has upgrade kits available now and will ship to authorized dealers even if registered owners have not yet received any notification. All dealer has to do is call with engine serial number. Costs of parts and installation are covered by Bombardier. Aggrevating yes, but still a pretty good deal for owners .

    Thurs Apr 12

    Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001
    From: R
    Subject: O.M.C Canada
    I was wandering if there is anywhere I can get some information on what is 
    going on with The O.M.C Canada and if they are covering the 1999 Fitch, 
    as I purchased it last year and only have 1 season on the motor.
    At the end of the first year I needed a new power head, I think I got it just 
    in time so the dealer tells me. Bombardier doesn't return my calls.
    I am also worried of the safety of this motor, as I have had it in for leaks. 
    I keep seeing a trail of oil or gas on the water when fishing when the motor 
    is not running.
    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 From: M in Palmer Alaska To: Subject: Did anyone buy OMC's Manufactureing facilities? Did Bombardier buy the OMC manufactureing plants? Are they going to produce the full line of Johnson/Evinrude's in the future. If so when?
    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 From: M in Palmer Alaska To: Gary Polson Subject: Re: Did anyone buy OMC's Manufactureing facilities? Thanks for replying to my questions. I thought they hadn't bought the faucilities due to EPA problems. If they did buy the faucilities, why didn't they pick up the skilled labor? The time it will take to retrain and get things going again will take up to 18mos to 2yrs. ( that's just my personal guesstamate) if they have get a retrain an entirely new work force. If that occurs they will need to build a completely new dealership network. Undenialabily they have already lost some of their dealerships, but many are still intact and could recover if production started immediately.
    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 From: Jim To: "''" Subject: EX Employee of OMC I really feel for you guys and gals. I was part of the 1989 selloff of Cushman, Lawn Boy, Etc. My question is how do I get ahold of someone to switch my 401k money out of OMC? I have been trying all the numbers I know, but get no response.

    Sat Apr 14

    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001
    From: R
    Subject: 401K assistance
    Dear Wizard,
      Please pass along to Jim the following phone number - 1-877-662-7283.  
    Dial 0 for a person, but if that doesn't work use the number the recording 
    gives for deposit or withdrawal. It took me the better part of an hour but I 
    finally did get to speak to a real live person. But be cautious! They had 
    lost my PIN and had to reissue it. The reissued one would not work, so I 
    had to put in yet another one. After that they sent only a partial amount 
    having taken massive amounts of both state and federal taxes. When I
    reestablished contact to ask about this I was told that I was issued a form 
    to elect a roll over disbursment (I didn't recieve one) and that they could not 
    be held responsible for the delivery of my mail, and in as much as I had 
    made no election I was issued the check and there was nothing I could 
    do about it.  At least I got that much when some people got nothing, so I 
    should be happy about that.
      Good luck and don't give up the good fight. We will persevere in the end 
    and be better off for the experience.
    Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 From: X To: Subject: To Jim, about 401K They now have a recording that states that all monies will be sent to all participants by the end of May. Hey, Wizard don't use my name please!
    Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 From: A To: Subject: eye of the storm First, OMC went down. Now, things have calmed down. Next, we must find a way to live thru this year. I have regrouped, but am in much debt. Now that I have taken on Merc and Yamaha, I believe that I will be better off. But, the bad press caused by the demise of OMC has left us with dismal sales and a hole to climb out of. Survival is the key word. We are just hoping to live to fight another day. Bombardier has done enough to be reasonable. Unfortunately, many will not agree and switch to other lines. We will provide those lines. Bombardier has missed the opportunity to become a hero. Now they will go thru the process of building back a company. My prediction is that they will learn soon that much of their base has gone. They are not advertising because they have little product to sell. Merc and Yamaha have gobbled up the market. If Bom gets 15% , if will be surprised. We have several 99 and 98 Ficht's that were under warranty and are blown and customers and dealers will bear the brunt. Customers and dealers will not appreciate this situation and will go elsewhere for relief. Bom is CPA driven and has overlooked the importance of consumer confidence. They have a job ahead of them. I will continue to sell Johnson and Evinrude , if offered. But , I expect at about half speed.
    Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 From: R To: Subject: hey With Bombardier only the dealers that have the resourses and the technology are the ones to survive.....So if you are not prepare to move on with the technology,,,,find something else to do.....perhaps a hot dog stand Mr. Wizard suggestion: Many of our readers have been really challenged by recent times, lets try to not be too antagonistic toward one another.

    Tues Apr 17

    Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 From: XX To: Subject: parts Good Morning: Do you know if Bombardier ended up with the receivables from OMC parts and accessories division. They are sending statements but won't respond to a letter asking if they really have the rights to the monies owed. I still would rather donate that money to a fund to help the dealers that did not receive monies owed to them by OMC or to some of the companies that were suppliers and did not get paid. Please, no name as usual. Thanks

    Read More Feedback


    Leave Your Own Feedback

    Donate Funds to Support This Site

    If anybody would like to send us a few bucks to help keep Mrs. Wizard off my back and defray some of our expenses. Please limit to $20 for individuals, companies can send more. Receipts can be supplied for company checks if requested. Make checks payable to Polson Enterprises or just toss a few dollars in an envelope and send to:

    Polson Enterprises
    P.O. Box 1381
    Stillwater OK 74076
    Mr. & Mrs. Wizard thank you!

    Voting & Reference

    Vote for Who You Think Will Buy OMC

    If you are a potential buyer or interested party, you might want to get our bookstore to rush you
    a few copies of the OMC and Chris Craft Histories.

    You can view coverage of OMC news over the last few years
    on our OMC News Page

    Please stop back by, we are updating this site several times a day

    Return to Recreational Boat Building Industry Home Page

    Polson Enterprises Research Services