Several people have been in touch to say that a certain manufacturer has purchased the rights from Textron Specialized Vehicles to manufacture Dixie Chopper mowers. Textron announced back in December 2018 in a memo to dealers that it was stopping production due to “market pressure and a change in the economic circumstances of the business.”
I checked in with the manufacturer mentioned and they say the news is a rumor. However, I recognize that even if it is true, they may not be able to confirm at this time. But, isn’t it time that some company steps in and begins manufacturing the brand again?
Many of the comments to a blog post on the topic (What Should be Next for the Dixie Chopper Brand?) speak about the quality of the mower, with both dealers and customers weighing in.
Beyond that, the Dixie Chopper name has brand equity, especially in a market crowded with zero-turn manufacturers. According to Investopedia, brand equity refers to a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognizable name when compared to a generic equivalent. When a company has positive brand equity, customers are willingly pay a high price for its products, even though they could get the same thing from a competitor for less.
And, even beyond that, Dixie Chopper has a dealer network that believes in and relies on Dixie Chopper. One long-time dealer told me he had worked many years to build up the Dixie Chopper name in the area. Customers were coming in asking which Dixie Chopper to buy — not whether or not they should buy one.
The timing is right for a re-introduction as GIE+Expo, the industry’s largest trade show, kicks off Oct. 16.
My advice to the manufacturer that will eventually take on the line: You can’t over communicate with your Dixie dealers. They were caught off guard with the Textron announcement, with several telling me they never did receive the official dealer memo. A dealer network is what turns brand equity from a marketing term into reality. They can help make the re-introduction a smooth one.
We’ll keep watching for what happens next with Dixie Chopper.