Less than one week after it announced a voluntary recall of 420,000 Bowflex Power Pro units with a Lat Tower attachment to correct two safety issues, The Nautilus Group, Inc., doubled the five-year warranty period on these models to 10 years.
â€œWe want everyone to know just how confident we are in the durability and quality of this product, which has sold over 800,000 units that have helped people achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle,â€ Gregg Hammann, the president and CEO of Nautilus, told SNEWSÂ®. â€œThe best way to demonstrate that is to extend the warranty.â€
Effective Feb. 5, the 10-year warranty covers all Power Pro units, including those already owned by consumers, as well as new machines. It does not apply to other Bowflex models, such as the Motivator, Ultimate, Xtreme or Versatrainer, which each carry warranties from five to 10 years. In the Bowflex line-up, the Power Pro is one of the original models -- a mid-priced product that lags behind in sales compared to the newer Xtreme and Ultimate.
Last week, Nautilus, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, voluntarily recalled the Bowflex Power Pro units with a Lat Tower attachment amidst more than 70 reports of injuries from the machine's backboard bench cracking and collapsing and the Lat Tower rotating forward and falling (See SNEWS story, Jan. 30, 2004). Three lawsuits have been filed against the company to date.
Nautilus is offering free safety reinforcement kits to Power Pro owners to correct the problems. The voluntary recall is not expected to exceed the $3 million reserve that Nautilus took in September 2003, nor will it impact first quarter 2004 EPS guidance of $0.18 to $0.20 or total 2004 earnings, Hammann said.
SNEWS View: This is a very proactive and aggressive move by Nautilus and should serve to dampen the noise and publicity that the recall has brought. Currently, the extended warranty information is splashed all over the company' home page at www.bowflex.com. Of course, there are those that wonder why Nautilus didn't extend the warranty sooner -- before the pressure of the recall -- if indeed the company has always been so confident in the quality and durability of this product. Perhaps the move to a 10-year warranty will help specialty retailers close a few more sales now, which will ultimately work in Nautilus' favor.