Briggs & Stratton continues century celebration with sights set on future

Founded in 1908, Briggs & Stratton Corporation is continuing to celebrate its first 100 years with an eye toward its next 100 years.

“Briggs & Stratton is constantly re-inventing itself,” Vince Shiely, president of the Briggs & Stratton Yard Power Products Group (BSYPPG), said at an Oct. 23 GIE+EXPO press conference. “If you’re not…you’re dying.”

The BSYPPG certainly displayed that innovative spirit at the show by introducing several products under its Allis-Chalmers, Ferris, Simplicity, Snapper and Snapper Pro brands.

On the residential front, Briggs recently brought back the Allis-Chalmers name, its familiar orange color and distinctive logo with the introduction of the AC130 lawn tractor. The AC130 is available in two versions: a 23-hp. unit with a 42-inch mowing deck and a 24-hp. unit with a 46-inch mowing deck. Both units feature a Briggs & Stratton Extended Life Series V-Twin engine with spin-on oil filter, advanced debris management system and full pressure lubrication. Other highlights include a single pedal foot-controlled hydrostatic transmission, cruise control, cast-iron front axle and 14-inch turning radius. “Allis-Chalmers is now our Simplicity brand without rollers,” said Shiely.

Speaking of Simplicity, Briggs broadened Simplicity’s Axion compact zero-turn lineup with an 18.5-hp. Briggs & Stratton Intek engine-powered, 33-inch model to fit through a standard 36-inch gate, making it ideal for suburban homeowners. The Axion is also available in a 20-hp. model with a 42-inch deck or a 24-hp. model with a 50-inch deck. Briggs also introduced a front-tine tiller with three-way adjustable width (11, 16 and 21 inches) under both its Simplicity and Snapper brands.

In addition to the aforementioned tiller, Briggs introduced two more Snapper brand products with both being Pivot-N-Go walk-behind mowers. The Pivot-N-Go variable drive system allows operators to adjust the speed of the mower to their own pace; the more the handle pivots forward, the faster the ground speed. One model is equipped with a 21-inch mowing deck, rear wheel drive and a 675 Series ReadyStart engine, while the second one has a 22-inch mowing deck, front wheel drive and a 650 Series ReadyStart engine. Both Pivot-N-Go mowers have 3-N-1 versatility so they can be used to mulch, bag, or side discharge clippings.

On the commercial side, Ferris introduced the IS 3100ZP propane-powered mower with an 895-cc Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block V-Twin engine and a 61- or 72-inch cutting width. “We are very pleased to be offering a Ferris commercial mower that utilizes alternative fuel,” said Bill Shea, vice president of commercial sales for BSYPPG. “Operators now have the best of both worlds, a mower that is comfortable and productive while being better for the environment.” Ferris also expanded two of its existing lines with the additions of a 36-inch model to its 48-, 52- and 61-inch ComfortControl Dual Drive commercial walk-behind mowers and a 61-inch model to its 44- and 52-inch IS 500Z commercial zero-turn riding mowers. Plus, Ferris announced that it is now offering a low rpm option 30-hp. Vanguard Big Block engine on both the IS 2000Z and IS 3100Z Series zero-turn mowers.

Snapper Pro unveiled a compact 36-inch mower to each of its SW20 Series walk-behind and S50x Series zero-turn mower lines. It also added the rugged and robust S800x outfront zero-turn mower with a 28-hp. Kawasaki engine and 61-inch cutting width. “The acceptance of this machine is outstanding,” Shea said of the S800x. “It meets the needs of customers who are looking for a versatile mower that can be used in conjunction with multiple attachments for increased productivity.”

Briggs & Stratton also announced that it was in the process of launching two new Web sites.

On Oct. 20, it started an interactive Web site for OEMs and commercial engine owners to take interaction to a whole new level. Engine owners and operators can visit to find engines, locate product support, and participate in the industry’s first Web site designed to include user-generated content on commercial engines. “OEM engineers told us locating engine information was difficult,” said Dan Roche, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power. “We designed a new way to speed the process by making the search tool extremely flexible. And if an owner has a specific question about an engine, they will find everything they need on the engine page.”

Briggs also said that in November it would initiate The Power Channel, an innovative, global, Web-based training site that would allow support technicians, managers and owners to be able to supplement traditional instructor-led classroom training with a full range of online technical training and business management courses. With the Power Channel, Briggs will deliver training on more products to more people in more places by capitalizing on technology and the convenient, 24/7 nature of the Internet. “The Power Channel will help our dealers to save time and money in meeting their training requirements,” said Tim Schreiber, director of customer education and business development for Briggs & Stratton.” The Power Channel will feature a library of courses on engines, consumer products and other topics.”

Visitors to The Power Channel will also find podcasts, mini online classes, test out options, key resource downloads and troubleshooting tips. Information on sales and marketing programs and business management best practices will be another area of focus. “Our motto is Powering Knowledge to Succeed,” said Schreiber. “We want to offer dealers and technicians a best-in-industry training experience.” 

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