Cascade Designs has announced yet another stove delay, two months after notifying dealers that the capillary stove and the two-burner stoves debuted at Summer Market would not be shipped at all in 2005.
This delay involves MSR's new XGK EX stove. The original release date was February 1, 2005, but that date has been pushed back three months to May 1, 2005, to allow the company to more rigorously test the flagship of their stove line.
"The XGK is our ultimate stove, and it is not used by campers out for a weekend retreat. Lives often depend on the performance of this stove," Lee Fromson, CEO of Cascade Designs told SNEWSÂ®. "We decided as a company that even though the stove had passed very rigorous lab and standard testing, we wanted to take the testing to the extreme and be 100 percent sure that the stove was perfect in all possible conditions."
As to why MSR didn't think to test the stove to these extremes before announcing the first scheduled ship date, Fromson told us he did not have a good answer. But, he also reiterated that making the decision to conduct the extra testing was the right thing to do, as was letting Cascade's dealers know as soon as possible of the change.
"We felt very strongly that it was important to be very upfront and straight with our dealers and if we have to take some flak for it, we can handle it," says Fromson.
During the interim period, MSR will continue to offer the existing XGK Expedition stove at 2004 pricing.Â Also, the target ship date for the new MSR SuperFuel is now March 21, 2005.
In other news, Cascade Designs Inc. is in the process of transitioning out of the SmartTrack business. According to the company, SmartTrack no longer fits strategically within the company's recently defined brand positions.
"It is a very cool product, and all of us who have boats have the rudder system installed," says Fromson. "However, SmartTrack is an anomaly to the SealLine brand. SealLine is all things dry, and that is the positioning we will be using as we move the brand forward â€” dry storage."
Cascade is actively pursuing a buyer interested in taking over production and sale of all SmartTrack products. Fromson tells us that Cascade is fully committed to supporting the company's existing accounts and customers with orders through July 2005 and will continue to honor all warranty needs.Â August 1, 2005, will be the last day Cascade ships SmartTrack, and all preseason and ASAP orders must be taken by this date. If no buyer has been found, SmartTrack will simply shut down.
SNEWSÂ® View: Good for Cascade on being upfront with dealers. Far better to get the stove right from the start, and the few months delay that will occur as a result is inconsequential really. Shame about FastTrack, but frankly, we understand. Cascade never realized the home run it was seeking by having various boat manufacturers turn to the rudder system and begin installing it into their boats as standard equipment. And as an after-market solution, the numbers simply are not there to support the program.Â