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Why did Baby Stroller Manufacturer Maclaren File for Bankruptcy?

It's almost been two months now since popular British baby stroller manufacturer Maclaren filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Had you heard about it? There has been almost no news stories about it, and barely any parent blogger website reactions. So, what gives?Maclaren Triumph Stroller

This company had it together. Or at least it seemed. They supported charities, were dedicated to environmental responsibility, they even had and used a Facebook page to connect with consumers. So what went wrong? Maybe it was a number of contributing factors, or maybe you can just blame it on the poor economy like everything else, but we bet Owen Maclaren -- founder of the company and inventor of the umbrella fold baby buggy, is turning over in his grave due the demise of his creation.

Though those that don't have children may not recognize the Maclaren name, think of it like when Kodak went bankrupt earlier this year. Ok, Maclaren hasn't been around since the 1880s, but they have been around since the 60's and are available for purchase all around the world. It doesn't matter if you're walking the streets of Chicago or Tokyo, you may see a Maclaren stroller roll by with a smiling baby in its seat. They've even had a stroller in partnership with Gap -- enough said.

What most people may remember about Maclarens, and certainly if you or someone you know owned one of their umbrella strollers three years ago, would be the Maclaren recall of 2009. After receiving multiple reports of exposed side hinges cutting off baby fingers, Maclaren and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled almost all Maclaren umbrella-style strollers sold in the US through 2009. That's a lot (almost one million) of strollers. This would probably terrify me enough as a parent to not buy another one of their strollers. I want my baby to grow up with all ten fingers! Could the company have reacted better to the recall and fostered better relationships with its customers? Could this bankruptcy really have stemmed from this one, albeit a big, recall? It all seems a little far fetched.

The bankruptcy numbers are there. According to daddytimes.com's research of the bankruptcy reports, Maclaren's parent company, American Baby Products, Inc., has almost no assets--under $60,000, including $13,000 in inventory and $12,000 in the bank, and well over $15 million in liabilities. And to top it off, the company's revenue plummeted 99.5% last year. But Maclaren is still marketing and selling strollers and other baby gear. Maclaren's home website has a section dedicated to news and press releases about the company and there is not one mention of their recent bankruptcy filings. Wouldn't you think a little PR is what they need right now?

What we can't seem to get past, is how quietly this seems to be happening. The company filed officially on December 29, 2011, almost two months ago. Sure, this isn't Kodak, but a national company filing for bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be exact (the kind that ends in liquidation, not reorganization), should at least earn a small spot in national print news.

You can still find Maclaren strollers everywhere, including popular baby retailers like Babies R' Us and Amazon. We found a great deal here on one of their most popular strollers on Diapers.com.

Will strollers be flying off the shelves at incredibly low liquidation prices? Will you be buying one for the right price or are your child's right hand digits too priceless? Tell us what you think!

About the Author: Tessa McLean

35 Responses to “Why did Baby Stroller Manufacturer Maclaren File for Bankruptcy?”

  1. For $20, $100, even $5, or better yet, Free, I think I want my baby to have all ten fingers. Not worth it at all.

  2. With countless trips to the E.R. for a severed finger, surgery, and physical therapy, I think I’ll pass on the cheap deal of a MacLaren stroller. Not worth all the grief I’ll have to possibly endure in the future, all because I got a good deal on a stroller made by a company who is going out of business. And what if I come across future problems? Where’s my customer care? Who’s gonna help me? An answering machine??? Yeah, I don’t think so!

  3. Sandi Davis says:

    My children are well beyond the stroller stage but when they were any negative press from a stroller manufacturer would have caused me to consider switching companies. However, I agree with the writer, any press/comments would have helped me to breathe a sign of relief, I definitely don’t agree with the ‘sweep it under the rug’ approach. If it was a company I believed in, I would have continued to purchase the product as long as they corrected the problems and explained what had happened to consumers.

  4. Bee F. says:

    The whole point of a recall is to fix and improve the problem with the product. I’m sure it is now impossible for any fingers to be loss on any of the strollers Maclaren has put out since 2009. I would defineintly purchase a stroller from them.

  5. Joanne says:

    I have a Maclaren stroller and love it. The biggest response when the recall came out was “don’t let you kid put their fingers in the hinges”! I got the repair kit for my stroller. I still use it. And I still don’t let my kids put their fingers in ANY hinges, stroller or not. After the Maclaren recall, several other stroller companies had the same kind of recall.

    • Hey Joanne! It’s good to hear an opinion from a Maclaren stroller owner! And we also agree it’s a good idea to keep your kid’s fingers out of any hinges!

      • Laura says:

        I don’t understand how the kids fingers could get in the hinges?? I have 2 of them and a new baby and will for sure be using the amazing stroller that I have! People are sue happy for their own faults and I don’t mean to be mean about it I still can not understand how kids are getting their fingers caught in the stroller.

        • KLundgren says:

          I would still recommend McLaren strollers, I have gone through three children and am happy to say that i have often lost my mind but my children have never lost a digit! I have purchased enough strollers to say that the only brands I would ever repurchase are McLaren and Combi, they are the best to travel with and for some reason my kids were always very comfortable in them. I am sad to hear that they may close shop, it’s really too bad.

  6. rob says:

    If a parent is stupid enough to let their children play with the hinges, or let them near the stroller when opening it the parent should get their finger cut off. I am a proud owner of this bad ass stroller, love it and will always love it. It is so far superior to any other umbrella stroller on the market, it unfold and folds with one hand and a foot. These strollers are worth every penny I paid, back in 2007, and I still received the guards in 2009 my 3yo still has all his fingers as well as my 5yo which, gasp, did not have any protection and guess what he has all his fingers as well. Stop blaming companies for stupid parenting! Who would let a child near a stroller when opening or closing it, just moronic. My 2 cents. R

    • Hey rob! Great to hear somebody who heard about the recall and fixed their stroller!

    • Kate says:

      I totally agree (re: stupidity) Rob! We own 3 types of Maclaren strollers, including the umbrella stroller. We heard about the recall and immediately researched it. We found the reason for the recall ridiculous. Our understanding was that the unfortunate cut fingers occurred at the hinges and when the strollers were being closed(?). Why are these children that close to the stroller when you are closing them?!?! Anyway, we also received the guards and it was a quick easy fix. Still use it and LOVE it. We took it on a trip to Japan because it folded easily, fit into tight spaces but was WAY nicer and more sturdy than those cheap $20 gizmos. My son is 4 and it fit him comfortably. Those others felt like they would collapse. I will jump at the chance to get some more Maclarens if they clearance them out!

      • Emily says:

        I totally agree. We originally bought a cheap umbrella stroller because we were sick of lugging our chico around. That cheapo stroller sucked and wouldn’t turn and you had to use two hands to steer it everywhere. I had to convince my husband to get the Maclaren but once he tried it out he was like we have to have this. We got ours on sale at Babies r us in 2010 after the recall and we got an awesome deal on it because it was an open box. We love our Maclaren holds shopping bags nice, comfortable for our son small and light weight easy to fold up. I LOVE THIS STROLLER. I can’t stress this enough. My son will be 3 in march and we still use this. This stroller is so chic and up to date. If your dumb enough to let your kids fingers get cut off well then you shouldn’t own one of these. But those problems are now fixed and sick of people bashing Maclaren. I hope these are around if I have another baby, I don’t think I would use another stroller.

  7. Chuck B says:

    Shows how a little “negative Press” can destroy a company. In Most cases, I’d bet, the parents didn’t read the manuals, screwed up! (You know, kind of like the moron who ordered Hot coffee from Mickey D, Spilled it, burned himself, and sued Mickey D!)

    It’s morons like those who drive good companies out of business!

  8. Terri says:

    I love my Maclaren stroller and am sad about their possible fate. I bought my stroller last year after a lot of research and knowing about the past recall and can say I made the right decision. They fixed the problem and have a great stroller.

  9. Tiffany says:

    My husband and I bought a Maclaren in 2008 and still have it. Although the construction is starting to rust (not worth spending high price for something that will rust) it was/is a wonderful stroller. When they issued the recall, we were automatically sent the kit for our stroller. Come to find out, ours wasn’t a defect but we used the kit anyway for extra protection. I wouldn’t think that one recall would put this worldwide-known company at risk for bankruptcy unless they have lawsuits pending but even then I would think there would have been press about it.

  10. Karen says:

    My twins are 7 years old. We have had 5 Maclaren strollers -one double, 4 singles. The first set of singles were very discounted closeouts purchased in 2006. I don’t open or close the strollers anywhere near this kids. I bought a second pair in 2010 to go to Disney (newer model had canopy, more comfortable seats and a rain cover). Great strollers for toddlers and young children! Lightweight. Quick folding. Comfortable. Easy to manuever. No injuries ever! I agree – common sense parenting goes a long way. Sad to see them going out of business. Glad my stroller days are over, as Maclaren was a parent’s best friend.

  11. Tessa from BradsDeals says:

    Hey Karen! That’s too bad that the parent’s best friend went bankrupt. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Carrie S. says:

    We have owned several Maclerans over the last 9 years having had 4 children since 2002. I have also owned several other brands of strollers. Nothing has ever been able to compare to the quality and ease of use of a Macleran. I’m so sad to hear of their bankruptcy.

  13. Kim says:

    For the right price, I sure would! Why? Because I’m a responsible parent who doesn’t allow my children meat ANY moving parts while opening/folding a stroller or the like. I’ve heard great thing about Maclaren, but can’t justify the price.
    The problem is, we’re becoming a sue-happy society that doesn’t watch our children closely and/or take responsibility for anything.

  14. Laura says:

    It’s kind of like those crazy people who sued McDonalds when they spilled their hot coffee on themselves. I have a Maclaren and have two very accident prone boys. We never had a problem. We are pregnant with our third and i fully intend to use the one I have. It was part of the recall and I remember thinking, seriously?, when they sent the recall fix. I still am not sure how babies fingers were getting cut off.

  15. Lisa says:

    I hate to say it but the recall was a classic case of parental laziness. Who would ever guess that parents would put their kids in a stroller before it was locked open? In this day in age we should slow down, read the manual and make sure the stroller is locked in position before we put our kids in. It is also worth mentioning that almost every travel, lightweight stroller on the market stole Maclaren’s design and while none of them came forward immediately all of their gear was at risk for the same issues.

    The majority of recalls out there are because of ridiculous misuse. BUMBO is the best example. What parent would put their child in a chair that has no security belt and leave them on the counter? Probably most people you know. The company has issued a half a dozen safety recalls to educate parents of the most appropriate use but still I see pictures of friend’s babies sitting in the tub or on the kitchen table in BUMBOs.

  16. Tara says:

    My 2 favorite brands of strollers are/were Maclaren and Bob! The Bob is too big to travel with so have used our 2 Maclaren’s A LOT! I’ve never had an issue with them, besides thinking they’re great! My first Maclaren was purchased in 1997 and when the recall came out, I researched it a bit, and didn’t give it much thought.

    There’s no self-responsibility anymore and common sense seems to have gone by the way-side. I agree some things are inherently flawed, but most recalls I see are created as a reaction to someone’s thoughtless mistake, and a sue-happy response to blame someone else for it (like McDonalds coffee…did you know that it’s hot?) Why would children be touching the stroller (hinges, none the less) while it is being closed? That seems dangerous to me, in the first place.

    I’ve had nothing but great experiences with Maclaren strollers, as well as many friends and family. I’ve recommended them a ton and would buy another one if needed.

  17. Kelly says:

    I can speak to the fact that some parents may be right on top of things, like myself, and never close (or open) strollers by their kids, but I have an ex that was so stupid kid wise that he would have thought it “cute” to let our son not only open and close his stroller, but probably let our son push HIM around in it too!!!
    Can you say “LUNKHEAD”?

  18. Jessica says:

    You people should read about the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit before you utter your opinion about it. It isn’t as stupid as you think. The lady, who was elderly, was given SCALDING hot coffee, served at much higher temperatures than other restaurants.

    McDonald’s knew their coffee was being served too hot (they had hundreds of complaints about burns, including 3rd degree burns, from their coffee), but continued serving scalding hot coffee.

    She received THIRD degree burns to 6% of her body, including her genital area.

    She tried to settle her claim for $20k, to cover the 8 day HOSPITAL stay (she needed skin grafting, which is one of the most painful medical procedures that exists), but McDonald’s didn’t settle.

    The jury awarded her a lot of money, most of it for punitive damages, but the award was cut, and McDonald’s and this elderly woman eventually settled for an unknown amount.

    So before you go criticizing an elderly lady who tried to settle for her medical costs, educate yourselves on the facts of the case.

  19. Tim says:

    Run from a MacLaren stroller. My little boy lost part of his right index finger. The convenience of the stroller isn’t worth the risk. The very reason the product is convenient and easy to unfold is the ticking time bomb every time your child gets in to sit down. Watch where they grab…it’ll scare the hell out of you when you see how close your children come to losing their fingers every time they sit in the stroller.

    It happened so fast to my little boy we didn’t realize what had happened. The response from Maclaren was to file bankruptcy. Rumor had it that the management was purposely trying to avoid the lawsuits. There are dozens of kids who will have to cope with missing fingers…as a result of a poorly designed product.

    They are spineless in the way they are handling this situation.

    • Kelli says:

      Well Tim, can you explain why your kid had his finger near the hinge? I’ve had a maclaren for the past 5 years with 2 different kids and no finger trauma here. It amazes me how negligent parents can be with their kids.

  20. Liilly R says:

    I loved my MacLaren stroller and so did my baby. When I was putting that stroller up/down my baby was in my arms and nowhere near where his fingers could get into any hinges. Of course, I wasn’t on my phone, and was not distracted in any way. Maybe having a 13 lb baby was why, yikes! When he was older I was always able to hold his hand, and keep my eye on him, and with the other hand and my foot, unfold and fold that stroller w/in seconds. and lock it. I never had a problem, but I certainly understand the concern about the fingers. I was not a big woman, 5’6in 115 lbs. But he was fine, and I would still get a Maclaren stroller. Of course, bankruptcy doesn’t mean they are out of business, does it? And maybe the people at the top didn’t understand about good PR.

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