11:25 02nd Jun, 2014
Motorola To Shut Its Moto X Facility In Texas By This Year End
Does this usher the end of smartphone manufacturing in the USA? More importantly what happens to the Moto Maker tool?
Google is selling Motorola's entire handset division to Chinese PC giant Lenovo, but the Moto X plant in Texas will not be part of the deal. News has just broken that Motorola will shut down its Texas facility by the end of this year, putting an end to company's 'Born in the USA' vision.
Motorola opened the facility just a year ago to build its flagship Moto X smartphone. The company's intention was to offset the higher cost of manufacturing in the US with being able to sell fully customised handsets to customers in a span of just 2-3 days. The dividends have obviously not paid out, despite the plant producing 100,000 Moto X's a week at one point of time.
Rick Osterloh, the President of Motorola, told the Wall Street Journal that "the decision to close the plant was independent of the planned sale." The move may seem a little counter productive since Lenovo is one of the few PC manufacturers that have figured out how to profitably manufacture PCs in the US. We've come to imagine it wouldn't be too hard for them to do the same with smartphones too.
The Moto X will continue to be made elsewhere, but the fate of Motorola's Moto Maker tool does seem a little dubious. It's clearly one of the biggest attraction for customers, and while the company may not scrap it for its upcoming Moto X replacement, it could take a lot longer for the customised phones to be shipped to customers.
So far the Moto Maker tool has been accessible only to customers in the US, but if Motorola figures out a way to deliver customised handsets to US customers without actually manufacturing the phones there, who's to say they couldn't do the same elsewhere. This could mean markets outside the US could also get a taste of Motorola's awesome customisation tool.
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