Motorola is shutting down their Texas factory


Motorola a Lenovo Company

It’s only been operational for barely a year now, but it seems Motorola is finally ready to call it quits on their assembling factory in Fort Worth, Texas. Really it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Once churning out 100,00 Moto Xs a week and home to a workforce of about 2,500 workers, that number has since dwindled down to about 700.

The Texas factory was originally built to help get customized Motorola Moto X handsets into the hands of customers faster than if shipped from overseas. Unfortunately, dwindling sales of custom Moto Xs simply couldn’t offset the costs that went into paying for US wages. Motorola President Rick Osterloh went on the record saying that the North American market was proved exceptionally tough to break into and with new parent company Lenovo taking the helm, we’re sure there was little Motorola could do.

So, what does this mean for Motomaker? Well, it’s possible the entire thing will come crashing down, but that doesn’t mean prospective Motorola Moto X+1 buyers should worry. If the Moto G and Moto E taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need someone else to glue down a battery cover when you can simply order your favorite color and do it yourself.

For those feeling nostalgic, you can take one last look in Motorola’s factory via Google Maps Street View, back when it was still operating at capacity. Our condolences to those losing their jobs as a result of this decision, and we wish them the best of luck.

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[The Wall Street Journal]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Duh

  2. And this is part of what I worried about with the original Moto X. It was released later than it should have been, was a first generation product, and Motorola needed to shed some perceptions that that had earned. When it comes to smartphones, you need to overachieve on the first and second generation product, so that by the time people have upgrades available, they can buy in to your 3rd generation product based on the new identity you’ve created.

    I would buy a 2015 Moto X successor, based on what they’ve done with the 2013 Moto X and if that were to continue with their 2014 version. But if they have a knee-jerk reaction and bail on their original ideas, then you can forget it.

  3. This was definitely expected. Production will probably be moved off shores to a country where employees will work for cheap and they can maximise profits.

    1. After the Lenovo deal went through, it had me wondering if most of the Motorola offices were end up getting merged into theirs.

      1. Pretty much.

  4. I knew this would happen.. The phone was too average in specs to be made in America for that price. It needed to be mind blowing and ahead of the rest so people would pay more for it. Hopefully someone else will try American workers but do it right next time.

    I work in manufacturing so this story makes me sad :(

    1. People look too much at the specs and ignore the actual product. For example, the Moto X beat out the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One M7 in many benchmarks, even when forcing the same resolution. Why is this? Thermal throttling, the downside to putting a quad-core into a small device with passive cooling.

      Aside from the 720p display and the dual-core CPU, specs were in line with those two flagships, but performance was overall comparable and battery life was superior on the Moto X. The Moto X was very much a direct competitor to those flagships. Where Motorola went wrong was in launching 4 months after them, right before the LG G2, Note 3, and Nexus 5. You don’t launch a generational product a few months before the next generation hits.

      That, combined with a poor advertising campaign, MotoMaker AT&T exclusivity, poor carrier availability for anything other than the 16GB model, and poor pricing all lead to poor sales. Yes, this phone could have sold for $199 on contract last April. It absolutely could NOT sell for $199 on contract in September, with devices like the S4 and One M7 selling for $49-$99 on contract.

      The phone should have been launched in April, at not more than $199 on contract for 32GB and $149 for 16GB (people forget that the One M7 was 32GB for the standard model).

      1. People look too much into specs…. Stopped reading right there. That is the reason this device didn’t sell period.

        1. Every Android phone I have owned up to the Moto X has been laggy in different areas and slowed down after 8 months or so. Not the Moto X, feels as snappy today as the day I bought it. I personally think the main reason that the phone did not do better was because of their image prior to the Moto X. So many people where afraid to try because of their experience on older Motorola Android devices. I really felt like the second Moto X would really compete with others but then Moto sold to Lenovo. So I think Moto will start to decline again.

          But anybody who thinks the Moto X is slow, especially because of its mid range specs is biased and has not used the device for a good durration. Oh and my battery life dances around most of my friends “high spec” phones.

        2. You just showed your ignorance.

          Let me ask you this. Which car is faster – the one with the 650hp engine, but sitting on cinder blocks with no wheels? Or, the 150hp 4-cylinder with all the parts?

          The enemy of a CPU (and GPU) is heat. The Nexus 4 was notorious for its thermal throttling and could only meet expected benchmark numbers when thrown in the freezer. The One M7 and Galaxy S4 also had thermal throttling issues. The Moto X did a great job of staying at or near peak speed most of the time. On paper, the S4 and One M7 were more powerful. In real world performance, the Moto X edged out both.

          So when you say, “I stopped reading right there,” what you essentially said was, “I have no idea what I’m talking about.” If perceived performance due to paper specs were the ONLY reason that you avoided the Moto X, you shot yourself in the foot. I also avoided the Moto X, but for reasons more specific to my needs in a phone.

          1. I love people that throw out big words and so called “real world” performance quotes. In the end specs are important. It only becomes not important when the price is cheap. Then it becomes “great user experience”… in the end cheap is cheap. High end spec’d phones are just as affordable and still better than anything low end.

          2. Here’s the problem. You’re looking at one spec – quad core versus dual core. You’re missing the spec that matters – thermal throttling.

            That quad-core isn’t so exciting when heat causes it to down-throttle to 600mhz, while the dual-core stays up near 1.7ghz. That’s why benchmarks are great at revealing this. Even with the built-in cheating, the Galaxy S4 fell behind the Moto X. I own an S4. I see it on a regular basis. If I’m gaming and I have the screen brightness cranked, it gets hot. And as it gets hotter, the game’s framerate begins to tank. This doesn’t happen on the Moto X.

            The S4 And One M7 come with two more cores. But in practical use, those cores go much slower. That’s why we see devices like the Moto X and iPhone 5s outperform them in the real world.

            Specs are a fantasy when reality doesn’t back it up.

          3. Honestly specs don’t matter than much more in this day and age of smart phones. Its how all the parts function together. The Moto X was unparalleled when it came to the quality of all it’s parts creating a beautiful experience for the user.

          4. Funny because my Moto X feels much smoother and faster than my similarly powered Nexus 7 2013 with a quad-core and 1200p screen. There are definite optimizations in the libraries and drivers in the Moto X, so software optimization isn’t without merit.

            They were both advertised with “S4 Pro” chips, but they’re both basically S600s, one with a dual-core, one with a quad. Both use the 2nd gen Adreno 320 and Krait 300 CPUs. N7 uses DDR3, while the Moto X uses DDR2. Neither will saturate the memory bandwidth available.

            There are sports cars that do more with less, like the Lotus Elise/Exige. If you looked only at the power figures, you’d think you could take it, but its low-weight would prove you quite wrong indeed. The Moto X is kinda like that.

      2. I’ll give you that, and I kinda agree I was more or less expressing how I think a majority felt about it. I remember some not nice things here said about it’s specs when it was announced. I thought it was pretty cool and thought about getting it since it was made in Texas ( my state ) and the customization options and overall it seemed like a decent phone but I never took the plunge.

  5. Always buy American if you can.

    1. Except GM cars. And critical car parts. And a Mach 1 nuclear power plant.

      1. True. I guess I should rephrase. Buy American if they make a product that is equal in quality if your able.

      2. My last car was a Ford due to GM’s shenanigans.

      3. I had an Oldsmobile, owned by GM. Easiest car to work on. LoL!! I had replaced the engine and the total cost was just $1000. I got the car for free, that’s why I paid. =.P

        Then an accident happened. =.[

      4. idk about that. My 2014 Impala has been pretty awesome so far. It’s distinctly NOT “Old GM”.

  6. Seriously, who didn’t see this coming?

    1. As soon as Google bailed out of a sinking ship and sold Motorolla i knew it would all sink pretty fast.. lol.

  7. When will Congress stop punishing American based manufacturing plants. They are taxed way too much but offer so many jobs for the American people. Of course oversees manufacturing plants will always be cheaper, but there shouldn’t be that big of a discrepancy

    1. I can’t believe it’s cheaper to build something overseas, AND ship it thousands of miles across the ocean, pass all the security checks etc.

      1. I ask that same question all the time, and what’s more backwards is when parts are made here, then shipped to china to be assembled then shipped back here as a product. This is very common and very stupid. At the end of the day it all comes down to profits at the expense of the workers.

        Can’t get away with slave labor here in the states anymore since skilled labor has the audacity to ask for * gasp * a living wage and safe working conditions

        1. Yet the consumer asks for * gasp * cheaper and better products, and doesn’t support more expensive products made here in the states.

          Guess what? If a company wants to * gasp * stay in business, they HAVE to outsource their labor to other countries.

          Maybe if we didn’t have such a stupid system of unions and over-regulation we could actually * gasp * compete.

          1. Oh you’re one of those people. I’m not gonna say unions are great I sure as hell don’t belong to one but tell me economic guru, let’s say in your scenario we get rid of unions and don’t regulate any of our factories. And pay our workers $1 an hour to compete with the Chinese. How the HELL is that beneficial for the American worker? What are you? A desk jockey? We can’t all flip burgers and work at wal-mart you know. Henry ford believed in paying your workers enough to afford the products they assembled. How in the hell do we compete with SLAVE labor in horrid working conditions like foxxcon without doing the same to our workers here? Please tell me how that works for the economy

            Edit: yeah samsung and apple would fold over night if they didn’t do all the assembly in their home countries cuz they don’t have billions in profits to spare on such expenses… OH WAIT.

          2. Yes, I’m sure those 700 workers appreciate the fact that excessive regulation, a big part of the negative business climate in this country over the last 6 years, has facilitated moving their jobs overseas. “Oh wait” indeed.

          3. .

          4. I don’t understand why unions and regulations have to go hand in hand…

          5. I always love the “stop regulation” crowd. Regulations are laws. They are there to prevent certain abuses. You know what kind of regulations we place on people? Don’t steal. Don’t commit murder. Should we deregulate that as well?

            Most of our regulations are pretty damn simple too. You want to sell electronics in the USA? It can’t burn the house down. It can’t interfere with a person’s pacemaker. You want to sell food? It has to be sanitary. It can’t kill the person eating it.

            And if you think we don’t need these regulations, then move to a country that doesn’t have them. No one is stopping you.

          6. I couldn’t have said it better. We already tried business with no regulation and a lot of people died for next to nothing in terms of pay and they brought their kids to work in the mines and factories as well ( no laws on that either! ) to help them put food on the table

            Hmm sounds like what’s going on in china right now, yeah there’s age laws but people still sneak in underage. Yeah let’s go back to that! Sounds awesome

          7. Looks like everyone is moving…and at the expense of American jobs.

          8. What are you talking about? Unions are great, just ask the filthy rich union bosses.

          9. If wages kept up, we wouldn’t *need* “Cheaper” products. ;) If companies passed savings along when things became cheaper to produce (Like electronics) we might not have looked somewhere else. Greed starts at the top my friend.

      2. I think it’s more related to the land payments. You’re going to need factories to build those parts. The resources are a bit easier to get without the use of factories.

        So you’re paying for the assembly with offshoring in other countries. If you make the parts in the US, you’re paying for the labor, and land. Land in the USA is expensive. LoL!!

    2. It’s not just the wages, although that is just one part. Every election year certain politicians run on “stick it to the [corporate] man! Make him pay his share!”. As a result, in the last 6 years the US has dropped out of the top ten economically free countries, and we now have the dubious distinction of having the highest corporate taxes on the planet. Companies cannot merge with foreign companies fast enough; they may save some on wages, but the difference between, say, the 35% the US charges vs 20% in Ireland or less elsewhere can be billions. Lenovo/motorola could afford to pay US workers. They’d even avoid import tariffs. It’s the anti business stance and ultra high taxes we’ve recently created that the Chinese agent going to pay to put up with. Companies need profit to pay people. Can’t do it when the government takes it all.

      1. So Lenovo is fleeing the Land of the Free to pay lower taxes in a communist country? What is the world coming to?

        1. Well, while they do have offices in North Carolina, Lenovo’s headquarters is in Beijing… but yes. China has lower taxes on corporations by far than the US. They have no need of American taxes or wages cutting into their budgets when they now own the right to stamp “Motorola” on something they can do much simpler in China.
          Motorola, like so many other previously American companies, is now just another trademark that [Lenovo or whoever] can use to market a familiar brand.
          I agree though, it IS ironic.

  8. Maybe they would of gotten more market penetration if they HADNT LIMITED THE MAIN FEATURE TO ONE CARRIER!!! Jeeze it was a 6 month exclusive to only one carrier. The middling specs meant they should have pushed moto-maker on everyone. This is motorola’s mistake alone.

    1. This.

      1. That

  9. Wow This really hurts…. one of the reasons I was considering a Motorola Phone was because Google (American) and Motorola (American) would bring more jobs….when it was sold to lenovo…I knew this would happen….damn.

    1. They need to cut some places to stay alive. Im sure they sold mote Gs than Xs which was the only one assembly there.

  10. LMAO !

  11. I try and buy American made products even with their expenses. I commend google for trying but I condemn them for letting moto roam free. And I condemn moto for letting verizon kill them by locking down their best phone.

    1. Yeah, Google was actually doing a great thing with Moto, then they killed it (sold it) because of politics. I still plan on getting a Moto X as my next phone because I believe the technology is superior.

      I have some hope since Lenovo didn’t kill Thinkpads but this announcement makes me sad.

  12. I predict Motorola will become an afterthought by the end of the year. It’s brand is damaged beyond repair now that its plant is closed. Lenovo will do nothing to help them now.

  13. This makes me sad.


  14. How is this news? Everyone knew this was going to happen after Google sold Motorola to the Chinese government… errrr Lenovo.
    Seriously though. I was so excited at the idea of American built and possibly American made phones. Oh well, more American jobs shipped overseas to China. BTW, Has the sale been approved yet? I’d love for the regulators to deny approval of the sale. Just when you think Google is going to innovate and create in America they go and screw the American worker over.
    Can you tell I’m bitter? ;)

    1. Google isn’t the only company that is screwing the American worked over. At least they gave it a shot, unlike other manufacturers. It would have worked if more people would have bought the phone. I do believe that Moto didn’t push the fact that it was made in America hard enough, and the fact that the advertising campaign sucked. Nothing was wrong with the actual product.

  15. I bet with this being on national headline news, Motorola will see a decent rise in Moto X sales. Due to Moto’s poor advertising, not many people knew it was built in the US.

  16. Is this going to put an end to the Moto Maker website?

    1. Probably not, it will probably change to support the X+1. No one knows where they plan to build custom moto maker x+1s, whether it be offshore or one of Lenovos American plants. My guess is offshore though sadly.

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