I've used B&S engines for 35 years and my experience with B&S engines has been excellent. I seldom do any maintainance except to add oil as needed and knock the dust out of the air filter when they loose their power. In spite of stale fuel, dirty oil, leaving them out in the rain and all manner of abuse, they have been very reliable for me. They seem to be making them quiter these days or maybe it's just my hearing.
Sorry for your poor experience, however my own has been extremely favorable. I've had a Briggs engine on my own lawnmower which I have owned since 1996. I take good care of it ... changing the oil and sparkplug each season ... and have never had to crank it more than 3 times to start it. I have a hard time believing it myself. Each year I think that this will be the last year, but it just keeps chugging along.
I don't think you can get better quality than that. Just my 2 cents.
Obviously, small profit margins at B&S is a critical problem that needs to be addressed. This company still has most of what it takes to return to greatness: excellent products, superior market penetration, and numerous enduring competitive advantages. They do appear however, to be having a difficult time maintaining their position as a low-cost producer. So far as I can tell, B&S still manufactures most of their engines in the USA and about half of their cost is for labor. I don't see how they can return to profitability unless they move their manufacturing operations to a lower cost labor market. I'm also concerned about their use of stock options as management compensation. This isn't a very shareholder friendly practice. Insights ? Opinions ?
This stock has for sure made a bottom - at least for the next 7 -8 months. Have heart - you will get a chance to sell, if you want, at about 25% higher. Things are aligning all at the same time - bullish for BGG! This company is a strong "brand" name. Bush and Bernacke have debased our dollar so bad it is below the value of third world currencies - so "Made in USA" will now mean "low cost producer". They are very cost competitive - even with the huge pension cost overhang of an old USA company in the Midwest. The economic stimulus package checks start coming in 4 weeks. Good for retail and consumer goods even if a bad move for America in the long haul. People could use the money to buy a lawn mower or power washer (with a BGG engine sittin' atop). Lastly - the Citicorp news of tonight is the start of something fantastic for anything even remotely attached to "housing". The credit markets are unclogging. Mortage debt is starting to get a market. People are now fairly pricing the risk of foreclosures and now making a fair market. That means banks will start to improve, houses will start to sell (though at lower prices and AFFORDABLE prices), and money will start to be loaned at fair rates to people of conservative and hard working means. I feel good about BGG for the first time in a year. I bottom fished the past 6 months - and can almost taste the profits (and tax bill next April). Good luck. Best riches to you !!!!!