Psst – Hey, buddy? Wanna buy a motorcycle manufacturer?
If you’ve saved your money for a big purchase, just like your parents told you, it might be about to pay off: Erik Buell Racing is for sale, after going into bankruptcy protection earlier this year. From what Erik Buell is saying, the sale will give you just what you’ve always wanted: A fully functional motorcycle marque, ready to go.
When EBR’s financial woes were first announced, there were some hopefuls who thought it might just be a brief hiccup, with the Wisconsin-based manufacturer back in business in a few weeks after securing some loans. No such luck! In an interview with Powersports Business, EBR founder Erik Buell told the mag his company was about $10 million short of what they needed for funding, so they shut down operations to meet payroll obligations.
Facing their shortfall, Buell told Powersports Business his company “shut down in mid-stream.” He said whoever buys EBR gets a “turnkey” business, with “Bikes and engines … lined up on the production line, sitting there with plastic covers over them.” He said they could “literally be shipping bikes out of the building the same day somebody turns the switch back on.”
Buell also said there’s an inventory of parts and even finished bikes in the facility.
That makes the upcoming sale of EBR much more interesting. As long as the buyer is able to bring back most of the employees who’ve left, we could see EBR bikes being shipped pretty soon after the sale (originally scheduled for July 21, but now postponed). EBR didn’t go out of business because they were selling outdated motorcycles that nobody wanted – they had a desirable product. If a buyer can figure out how to deliver those motorcycles more quickly, and at a lower price, we might see the day of the Great American Sportbike yet.
The big question is, who would buy the company? If the courts are handling the sale, then anyone who shows up with enough money is eligible. That thought probably scares some EBR fanboys, who’ve been circulating conspiracy theories that EBR’s former business partner Hero (motorcycle manufacturer based in India) is responsible for EBR’s problems. Considering EBR’s facilities are probably full of designs EBR was working on for Hero, it would certainly make sense for them to make the purchase, especially when you consider they were already interested enough to buy 49 per cent of the company in 2013.
Who else could be interested? Since EBR’s selling point has always been their made-in-the-USA origins, most EBR aficionados probably want a US-based buyer. Some fans would probably like to see Parts Unlimited make the deal; Parts Unlimited and their subsidiaries handled EBR’s parts distribution. However, we haven’t seen enough a faint hint of that deal happening.
For more details on EBR’s current situation, read Powersports Business here.