Bombardier to up PR amid Chapter 11 buzz

Sturtevant, WI: A division of Bombardier has launched a new dealer-, employee- and customer-relations effort to counter rumors that two of its boat motor brands may be facing bankruptcy.

Sturtevant, WI: A division of Bombardier has launched a new dealer-, employee- and customer-relations effort to counter rumors that two of its boat motor brands may be facing bankruptcy.

The rumors began circulating in early April when Montreal-based Bombardier announced plans to sell its recreational products division, which includes the Evinrude and Johnson engine brands, said Ann Stawski, senior coordinator of PR for Bombardier's boats and outboard engines division.

Bombardier had bought the brands in 2001 out of a bankruptcy situation that hurt some dealers.

The company decided to counter the rumors by starting a newsletter, The Real Deal,

and sending it to dealers, suppliers, and employees each week.

It includes updates on the planned sale and answers to rumors of bankruptcy and product warranties. Letters of support have been solicited from industry trade organizations and vendors, and are printed in the newsletter.

Roughly 4,000 copies a week are being sent to external sources, with 7,500 employees getting copies via e-mail.

Stawski and the internal PR team also have asked employees to pass on rumors to them. One potential newspaper story was prevented when an employee passed on a comment made by a reporter at a Sunday church service, Stawski said.

"We're very proactive in both discovering the source of these rumors and in responding to them. If we hadn't started The Real Deal, I can't imagine where the rumors would have been by now," she said.

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