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A look at what's down the road for Husqvarna.

Post in 'The Gear' started by cmonSTART, Aug 8, 2008.

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  1. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Working at a large Husky dealer, I'm privy to a lot of information about the companies we represent and I thought I would share some of the inside baseball talk about Husqvarna. The information I have comes second hand, from a coworker which attended a regional meeting regarding Husky's lineup and future changes. This information is second hand, so it may not be one hundred percent accurate, though I try, and right up front I will say I'm rather unhappy with their current direction and some of the decisions being made, so this will probably be tainted a bit with my own views.

    Philosophy: Husky has been, and will continue to pursue a strategy of catering more and more to the big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply, etc.) They will still do a lot of business with local dealers, but they are more focusing at the bigger market at this point in time. To do this, they are making several important changes in their equipment line. Everything they make now (saws, tractors, snowblowers) will fall into either their standard line, or more of an "economy" line made with less expensive (read: cheap) parts. When warranty work is required, customers will still need to seek the help of a local dealer.

    Chainsaws: This is probably the most frustrating portion of what I learned. I feel they are making several important, and poor changes to their saw lineup. Husqvarna's best selling saw, the 455 Rancher is no more. It's being dropped from the line as of next model year. The "Rancher" designation will then be passed to the 460, which bears no mechanical relationship at all to the 455's. The 400, 445, and 450 saws, which folks will remember replaced the 300, 345, and 350 saws for emissions and reliability reasons, are based on the build of the 455, so the saw isn't completely lost. Why they would just drop their best selling saw is beyond me. They are also using bits and pieces from the 455 in their new box store model, the 255.

    All new saws bought in Lowes, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply will be of the 200 series line. As said above, this is the 255, and also the 235. They took some technology from the 455 Rancher, cheapened it out (Husky rep's words), and renamed it. The 235 is a newer model which is now their new low end saw, comparable to a Stihl MS 170. If you haven't seen this saw yet, instead of having a tooth every other link like a normal saw, it has a tooth every 3 links. Husky advertises this as taking less time to sharpen, but it gives the saw much less bite, and the chain will dull quicker too. Duh. During the demo portion of the meeting, the rep tried cutting a six inch log with a 235. I was told the saw bogged out and died during the cut. The rep said even an MS 170 would do that. Well, we routinely test MS 170's on a 10 inch log before we send them home, and they seem to do it OK. Who knows.

    I personally love the 372XP. It's a saw I would recommend to a pro in a heartbeat. Well, the head cheese at Husky in charge of things like this wants that saw out of the lineup by the end of the year. Goodbye - far too dirty for emissions. The 372XP was the saw that disappeared for a while but was brought back because of the outcry by professional saw users. They are rolling out their new and improved 576XP. The 576 is replacing both the 372 and the 575XP. It's based on the 575, but with many many changes because of the terrible reliability issues of the 575. For a while, the 575's were known as burn up machines. After even a couple months of average professional use (which is hard, I will agree) they would come in for a run issue. A peak in the plug hold revealed the ugly truth, the saw had burned itself up. This was an early issue with the 575 and I'm told it's been resolved on later units. We shall see.

    Snowblowers: As with everything else, there is a box store line, and a dealer line. The box store units are much more flimsily built - I remind you, this is as the Husky rep said. An example they had there was one auger half from each line. They were identical in dimensions, length and diameter that is, but the box store auger weighed a whole THREE POUNDS LESS than the dealer auger. That's a very significant amount of steel lacking from a very important part of a snowblower. They will have different engines etc etc etc.

    Tractors: Same as above, they will have the dealer line, and a distinctly different box store line. You guessed it, Lowes, HD, and TS units will be made much more cheaply.

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  2. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Technical issues: Ethanol is a huge issue right now industry wide. Everyone knows that. It rots fuel lines, hardens diaphragms, and eats the sealants used within the carburetors. I would like to think that as I sit here on my couch, hard working folks getting paid much more than I are working diligently into the night trying to find better materials to use to adapt to these new problems. Well, not Husky. "That's your (the dealer) problem," was the reps response. Oh well, so much for any help from the people building the stuff. I guess the best advice I can give is just to empty your chainsaw out after every use and run it dry. Warranty does not cover carb issues relating to ethanol.

    Conclusion: I'm not out to bash Husky. I'm really not. But be aware, there is now, and will be more of a difference in quality between box store units and dealer units. Some of these units are horribly cheap IMO. As for saws, I'm hard pressed to recommend a Husky right now until we see how some of these newer models hold up. I personally don't like the direction they are headed as a company.
  3. JayD

    JayD Member

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    In {2010 Things will change the new EPA rule’s will go into full effect} and it’s just now starting. Buy A Good saw soon take care of it you will be glad you did. P/S there already is a four stroke proto type out there in testing. And it's not just Husky this will affect ALL Saw manufactures that sell to the public, It will be up to the manufacture on what saws they will invest time & $$ in to make EPA compliant. I am still breaking in my Makita-Dolmar 7900 3 tanks so far and {LOVE this thang} I'm saving right now and can see a Dolmar 5100s in my very near future. I'm 48 and with care these 2 saws should outlive me. As for my husky 345e it runs great just don't ask it to oil the bar it aint going to happen EPA thing I guess.
  4. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe after 2010 I will have to buy my chainsaws in China and hide them in my carry on luggage, by then Huskys will probably be made there anyway. I was a big fan of husky but have heard nothing good of them lately. I really think they dropped the ball when they shut down internet sales as that did give them an edge over $tihl.
  5. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    Wow, this is sad. My first saw was an old Mac 10-10 then my dad came up with a Husky that changed my whole idea how a saw should be.

    Dealer support is important to me and is why I switched to Stihl after the local Husky dealer retired. I still have a soft spot for the orange saws and I hate to accept this.
  6. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    I have been using blended 10% ethanol in all of my two cycle engines including chainsaws and have not ever had one fuel related problem to any engines I have. One chain saw 029 Stihl is 11 years old.

    I think it is more of a myth.
  7. N/A N/A

    N/A N/A New Member

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    Wow. Not even sure what to say. Got an old Husky 162 that I love to death. The saw other than being old is tough to beat. I have been worried about Husky for a while now ever since they started showing up at big box stores, and thats why I bought a Stihl this time to be my Husky's friend. The two like each other a bunch.
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    I think the saddest thing in the whole column you wrote is the fact that the small local dealers get the shaft on repairs. They don't get anything from the sale of the saw and then have to here complaints about something that's totally out of their hands. I bought my last saw, a Stihl, from a local dealer and am PROUD I did. I also buy my bar/gas oil from the local dealers too. Trust me I like saving a buck where ever I can, but if we don't patronize our local dealers who is going to be there when we do need them??!!
  9. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    Weird. My 345e definitely oils the bar (almost too much in my opinion). You should check for a clog.
  10. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    I agree.

    There is more to this too. The local dealer is also a place to hang out with like minded folks who are tackling many of the same working conditions as myself. Where else would you get parts and service along with useful localized information?

    The fact that an old standby brand is in the process of leaving the local shop is akin to the passing of and old friend.
  11. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well thanks for the report cmonSTART...sad to hear though. I know my dealer wasn't too happy when Huskys started appearing in BB stores either.
  12. JayD

    JayD Member

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    myzamboni, I guess will have to pull her apart again :coolgrin: I have had the pump apart twice, Not much to it really, And its not missing any anything per the schematics, Used a flashlight and tank & pickup look fine and clean. It has to be between the tank and the pump, I'll try some air to blow it out. This 345e is one of the first one's when they first came out, Maybe they had a glith in production and I have one? Other then that the saw Starts and runs Great. Tony at Amicks told me to try a new pump. My first Husky and it kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth for them if you know what i mean. I'm going pro saws from now on. Need to get this fixed so i can sell it. I love my Makita-Dolmar 6400 now a 7900 and the Dolmar 5100s is not much more then I paid for the Husky. Thanks! Jay
  13. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    If I was selling Husky and I heard their attitude toward small local dealers as well as their plans for progress I would be actively searching for a different brand to sell/represent. Dolmar is currently looking to expand their dealer network, seems a good time to switch.
  14. N/A N/A

    N/A N/A New Member

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    Dolmar, Husky, made by the same crew????
  15. chevyjay

    chevyjay New Member

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    How does Jonsered fit into all of this Being made in the same factory in Sweden I have 2171 (aka HUsky372) it is a great saw
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  17. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    chevy, I don't know how Johnnys Red fits into all this.

    BB, something doesn't feel right about that saw.
  18. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    I too used to be a Husky fan, but when I was looking for a new snow blower last season and was told they were made by Electrolux ~ that changed it for me. I want Electrolux to make my vacuum, not my snow blower. Thus I bought a Simplicity commercial snowblower.
  19. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    I too would like to know what the plan is with Jonsored. Will they keep that label a premium label and just prostitute the husky line? Fire fighter, Dolmar is owned by Makita and has no association with husky/jonsored.
  20. N/A N/A

    N/A N/A New Member

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    Thanks for setting me straight about all that. Thought the two were the same.
  21. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    Yeesh...looks like my wife's saw :lol:
  22. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    It is always hard to figure out what is going on without inside info. I do KNOW that one of the reasons all these guys, not exclusive to Husky, are making changes and moving their products lines for big box stores is because that is where all Joe Homeowners go to buy their stuff. Sad but true that everyone wants one stop shopping, a good price and to sacrifice quality. I think this Box Store focus will only lead to changes in slimming down the Pro line.

    Now, environmentally driven changes are an entire other game. Every industry and manufacturer faces this eventually and again, they have difficult choices to make.
  23. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The whole EPA saw thing drives me nuts as chainsaws are such a minute part of the total pollution envelope.
  24. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    Especially when you consider the energy they use in comparison to what they save. I figure I use roughly 1 gallon of gas for every cord I produce, that number includes running my log splitter and moving the wood around with my tractor. 1 gallon of gas ~ 120,000 btu, 1 cord white oak ~ 23,000,000btu = 190 times the energy out vs energy in and the wood is carbon nuteral.
  25. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    MADE IN CHINA...I got 3 words for ya...SAD, SAD, SAD!!!!!!
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