Originally Posted by brucec32
March is fine for Michigan, I suppose. But some years we're busy mowing by then down south, when there is still snow on the ground up there. It's a busy time and the last thing we want to do in the springtime is be hassling with mower buying when we're already deluged with marketing, new customers, cleanups, etc. Most dealers here seem to have their big sales in Feb, and I figure that's for a good reason. Timing is everything in retail.
There seems to be a disconnect between manufacturers in the north and customers in the south. They don't seem to "get" that we have specific needs in terms of mower design and also when new designs become available for purchase. Numerous times I've had to pass on buying new machines from various makers because April (effectively that's when you'll actually be able to get one unless you are some sort of maniac who buys a new design w/o a test first) isn't good enough when you have lawns to mow before then. Hustler lost a wb sale to me last year for that reason. Need to hire more engineers? Do it, because it must be costing sales.
Also, a business needs time to test and access the capabilities of a machine before they run out and quote lawns based on using it. How can I properly bid a job if I don't know how long a Grandstand will take to do the work, or if it will give a good enough cut on a small, hilly, or undulating lot? So for that reason we need the units before the season, not during it. Otherwise it's "wait till next year" or more likley, buying a competitor's already proven and testable product.
I'd advise Toro to wake up and check the demographics. The money and population is moving south. Neglect it at your peril. With the 48/52" GS in the field for over a year and the new ones already 90% designed, there is little excuse for not having 36" and 40" units ready to go before the '10 season. Meanwhile, this time last year I was unable to find a GS to demo. I am NOT going to wait another season and will be visiting a Wright dealer.
Toro better get it together. I've owned over a dozen through the years, but this doesn't cut it, no pun intended. When I started 18 years ago Toro was THE mower here and every trailer had at least one. Not anymore. Wonder why?
Bruce 32 -
Your frustration is understandable and we apologize for the delay. Our intent was to have the new models available earlier than March, but final design and qualification required that production dates be moved out. Like you, we need time to test and access the quality and performance of mowers before finalizing parts, tooling and fixtures for production. While there are many similarities to our 48"/52" GrandStand, there are also a number of structural/weight/space differences that require thorough testing to ensure desired performance, handling and durability objectives are achieved. We never like to lose a sale or worse a customer because of a late product introduction, but we cannot knowingly cut corners related to quality in order to move-up the schedule. In the end our customers are better served if we miss some sales by holding off shipment of products until they're ready to be built and sold. Product demos will be available at Toro Commercial Dealers (CD designation on our dealer locator)as soon as we begin shipping product. If you can wait that long I suggest contacting your local Toro Commercial Dealer to verify which models he/she has on order and to line-up a demo of the exceptional product as soon as it arrives.
-The Toro Company