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Rick Dangerous

Why Was The Jaguar Made In The USA?

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I've always wondered why the Jaguar was made in the USA.  All of Atari's consoles (post Heavy-sixer) were made in asia, so why was the Jaguar (and Jaguar CD even!) randomly made in the USA?  Even the Lynx a contemporary was made in Taiwan.

 

Obviously the marketing line that they spun was that it was a real patriotic thing to do (manufacturing jobs, etc.) but really i'm guessing it was just because IBM had won the contract to make the motherboards domestically so it just made logistical sense to slap on the RF shielding and shell cases here vs shipping the boards over to China, assembling the console, and shipping them back.  Also the production numbers were low so this would have been more feasible than if demand had been large and economies of scale had come into play.  In fact i'm guessing if they were a smashing success, production would have eventually moved back to asia for a second run.

 

Just curious on peoples thoughts on this or if anyone has ever heard/read anything from Atari execs at the time on this decision.  

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Must have been a cost thing.  We all know Atari was cheap and cutting costs, slashing budgets and not paying people left and right during this time frame.  Somehow it must have been the cheapest option to do everything in the usa. 

Edited by sirlynxalot

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That is a great question Rick Dangerous (I have not read anything regarding this nor do I know any of the Atari Corp. execs from the mid 1980's to mid 1990's), but I suspect your thoughts on the subject are probably very accurate. In lower production run numbers such as the Atari Jaguar console, it would have, and still would to this day, make more sense to run the circuit boards and do assembly in North America, for a North American based company trying to sell it's end product to primarily North American consumers.

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From all the Press Releases I've read it probably comes down to the fact that the IBM agreement was for them to Manufacture, source the parts outside of the two custom chips and handle warehousing and shipping for Atari. Once you factor in all those areas it most likely came out cheaper then having it manufactured overseas then shipped to a US warehouse to then be shipped out to retailers. Once the IBM contracted was terminated at the end of 94 and Atari switched to Comptronix 

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I remember Atari making a bit of a big deal about it at the time, implying that it was the only American owned and made game hardware company. 

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3 hours ago, Flojomojo said:

I remember Atari making a bit of a big deal about it at the time, implying that it was the only American owned and made game hardware company. 

Yep, that's what I remembered too. After the 1980s of everything electronic made in Japan or Taiwan, people became more patriotic and companies started marketing "Made in the USA."

 

IBM had a great reputation for manufacturing solid quality products, so it was going to last.

 

Also, by this time, Atari sold their Taiwan manufacturing plant and were using subcontractors (like IBM) to build their products.

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Good info! $500M contract value??? Wow. I wonder how much of that they actually exercised?

 

I agree it wasn't "random," it probably made lots of business sense at the time. Their marketers really seized on it as something to differentiate them from the popular Japanese systems, along with "64-bit."

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You have to wonder if Jack / Sam was so burned over the "unfair" Lynx LCD costs vs. what the other guys were paying that it somehow didn't change their manufacturing mindset, driving them into doing more things domestically instead, even if it meant paying more in the end. With Jack's war-like mentality, it would seem to be good reasoning. They would have had more control with manufacturing being handled locally as well.

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On 12/19/2019 at 9:03 AM, Flojomojo said:

Good info! $500M contract value??? Wow. I wonder how much of that they actually exercised?

 

I agree it wasn't "random," it probably made lots of business sense at the time. Their marketers really seized on it as something to differentiate them from the popular Japanese systems, along with "64-bit."

Who knows, but I have 50% of it sitting in storage LOL

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