For decades Sear's Craftsman was a staple in the garages and shops of America. Found in the hands of DIY guys and professionals alike, Craftsman became the standard by which all other brands were gauged. In the eyes of many, anything better was a professional tool and anything less was inferior.
For nearly 90 years Craftsman's combination of American made quality and legendary warranty ensured it's perpetual popularity, but a couple of years ago that began to change. In an attempt to return the struggling retailer to profitability, Sears began conducting Craftsman focus groups and in doing so, concluded that the American consumer was more concerned with lifetime warranty than American manufacturing. By the end of 2013 nearly all the Craftsman mechanic tool line was being sourced from China.
I'm not here to debate economics and world trade theories, but I was completely disgusted by the move. At that point, Craftsman became irrelevant to me. Instead of being an affordable American made option, they were (at least in my mind) just another Chinese tool. It looks like there may be some light at the end of the tunnel though.
Return Of Craftsman Industrial?
Sears has had an Industrial line off and on for years. Sometimes called Industrial, sometimes called Professional, it offered upgraded tools compared to the standard Craftsman offering. While I wasn't there, they apparently had a booth a SEMA and this flyer floating around online makes it pretty clear it's in the works:
There's little info available beyond “Coming In 2016”, but it is a compelling idea. There's no doubt Craftsman is aiming more for the industrial market than the consumer market, but the return of the Industrial line would be a great option for the Craftsman faithful not satisfied with Chinese tools and willing to pay extra for American quality.
Past incarnations of the industrial line weren't always widely available in retail stores, but maybe this time will be different…….maybe.
Stay tuned to TIA for more info and be sure to check out the full release on the Craftsman website