John Deere dealerships to continue servicing walk-behind lawnmowers that it will discontinue in 2012

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Deere is stepping out of the outdoor-power-equipment arena and will discontinue the manufacture of its John Deere walk-behind lawnmowers and snowthrowers. However, John Deere dealerships will continue to provide parts and services for discontinued John Deere lawnmowers and snowthrowers.

Ken Golden, who is a spokesperson for Deere, says Honda walk-behind lawnmowers and snowthrowers also will be serviced through John Deere dealerships.

Deere signed a sales-and-marketing agreement with Honda, and John Deere dealers will begin to sell Honda premium power products in 2012.

Deere is focusing its efforts on its core agriculture-equipment business, Golden tells Consumers Digest. “Rather than try to create a business around John Deere branded products, we have decided to team up” with Honda, he says.

Deere began its line of walk-behind lawnmowers in the 1970s, Golden says. In 2005, the company began to outsource its production of walk-behind lawnmowers to a manufacturer that would create lawnmowers that were based on Deere’s design specifications. Golden says that although consumers buy power equipment from John Deere dealers, most homeowners primarily come in “to look at lawn tractors and riding lawn tractors,” which the company still will produce under the John Deere brand.

In 2008, the company discontinued its brand of chainsaws and signed a sales pact with STIHL to carry STIHL’s products in John Deere dealerships.

When Consumers Digest asked Golden why Deere is discontinuing its outdoor-power-equipment line, Golden says it boils down to “a matter of whether or not we believe we should invest, not only money but management time, into smaller parts of the business that do not have the same global capacity as some of our more core businesses do.”

– K. Fanuko