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Boat Manufacturer Lays Off Nearly 300 at Wisconsin Facility

The mass layoff comes months after reports that the company would invest millions to expand the factory.

Boat and engine maker BRP U.S. Inc. has announced a mass layoff for its facility in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The company stated in a Notice of Workforce Reduction that the move affected 298 employees at the factory, citing “adverse market and economic conditions.”

According to the notice, BRP laid off the first 150 workers on March 21,  then 148 more on May 23. The layoffs include new and low-hour employees and there are no bumping or recall rights for any positions. All impacted workers will receive pay in lieu of notice. 

The positions most affected were assemblers and material handlers, with 156 and 75 layoffs, respectively. Assembly line repair and quality inspector positions saw the third-highest number of layoffs with 10 each. Other impacted titles include machine operators, manufacturing technicians, and engineers. 

A company spokesperson said the plant retained a workforce of 350 employees. 

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    In a company statement reported by Wisconsin Public Radio, BRP said the approach would enable inventory reduction while ensuring the ability to increase production when demand rises. 

    The mass layoff comes nearly seven months after reports surfaced that BRP would invest $14 million into expanding the Sturtevant factory and developing an off-site shipping yard. The investment aimed to support the production and distribution needs for the Sea-Doo Switch, the company’s customizable pontoon.

    However, BRP’s fiscal year 2025 first quarter results revealed a net loss of $7.4 million and a 16.4% decline in revenue compared to last year. 

    BRP also announced in January 2023 that it would begin construction on a boat manufacturing plant in Chihuahua City, Mexico, with the hope of creating up to 1,300 jobs and beginning production in 2025.

    The Canadian-headquartered company already operates three plants in Juárez, Mexico, as well as factories in Australia, Austria, Finland, North Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan.

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