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An old name returns: Redline reborn under new management – July 24, 2006

July 24, 2006
Filed under Features

When the Redline snowmobile hit the consumer show circuit in 1998, the flashy, red concept vehicle garnered a lot of attention, and some sales, on an untested, unproven machine.
Then, after a public offering and limited production, the company spiraled into bankruptcy. Redline Performance Products Inc. of Vista, Calif., filed Chapter 7 on Aug. 24, 2004, with $6.5 million in debts and $4.2 million in assets.
Now, nearly two years after the bankruptcy, the Web site www.redlinesnowmobiles.com shows an intriguing message: Coming July of 2006.
It’s true, said Chad Johnson, a Yamaha and Polaris veteran who now is general manager for the company. The company, now called Redline Holdings LLC, will unveil a product this month. Johnson would not comment on the type of product (he refers to it as “a vehicle”), or a more precise timeframe for the rollout.
Two clues may give a hint into what the Redline Holdings LLC will produce. The company’s introduction in the November 2005 Fargo-Moorhead Chamber of Commerce newsletter states that Redline Holdings LLC “produces unique powersports products, including snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles; committed to delivering excitement to customers by providing vehicles equipped with exceptional looks, reliability and performance.”A spring 2005 posting on the Minnesota State University internship board sought an engineering/drafting student where “knowledge of snowmobiles would be beneficial.”
Johnson was clear on one point: this is not the same company as the previous Redline. “It’s basically a start-up,” he said. “There is nobody here from the old company.”
Redline Holdings LLC is based in West Fargo, N.D., which was going to be the production center for the original Redline snowmobile. Interstate Cos. Inc., a Bloomington, Minn.-based company with a production facility in West Fargo, was under contract to build the original machines.
Redline Holdings LLC is owned by a group of investors, including Howard Dahl, president and CEO of Amity Technology, a farm implement manufacturing company based in Fargo.
The investors purchased the assets of Redline Performance — inventory, tooling, trademarks, patents, parts — “everything,” Johnson said. The new Redline Holdings LLC decided to keep the “Redline” name, and the logo shown on the Web site is the same as the defunct company.
Johnson feels confident of the team assembled to bring the brand back to the market. “We have very good investors,” he said. “They are people who have brought other companies to a high level of success.”
Original Redline supplier and dealer Gary Golden of Micro Belmont in Grand Rapids, Mich., still has a positive view of the machine, even though he calls the initial company “a $17 million fiasco.”
“They said it would ride better, and it does,” Golden said. “They really raised the bar. Nobody has a suspension like that.” psb

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