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This is CBS all over again, but at least they had a good run [1985-2012].
Just like CBS buying Fender, when the investment group came in I think what made post-CBS Fender so special has started to slowly die.
Post Norlin Gibson also had a few good years but while people love the guitars, people hated the Gibson company and their policies, pricing and QC.
But Fender got even better once they went private and bought out CBS. Everything from the MIMs to the Custom Shops just got better and better. And they CARED about their customers and what they thought. It was a whole turn around from the philosophy of CBS which was always looking to cut corners or find a cheaper way of making the instrument thus also cheapening the product.
But now they are just chasing profits. Pressure from their investors to make short term profits. Now the investors want to take their ball and leave the game and are putting even more pressure on Fender to make enough profits so they can leave the game w/some $$ in their pocket.
Because the under $1000 and under $500 price point is the sweet spot, you can see how Fender is flooding the market with the lower priced gear [Gibson is finally doing this too w/melody maker series]. I think some of these lower end guitars hurt the sales of their AVRI line. There is just too many guitars coming out of Fender at this price point now.
And quality of some of these guitars is suspect. Sharp fret ends, bad nuts, bad paint job. As much as I love the Road Worn series there was so much QC from one instrument to the next. I have a good one [as I wrote about in a tele thread=blonde 50s tele] but I've returned many bad ones. One RW strat the pickups shorted out. One another RW there was a lot of fret out.
I've read the article above before and I think somewhere in there someone says the last 10 - 15 years is going to be remembered as the 2nd golden age of Fender and what we'll be getting in the future will be CBS quality.
Bad move on bringing in the outside investors, bad move on buying all those companies, bad move in letting the inventory w/Guitar Center get out of hand. Fender has stretched themselves too thin financially all in the name of greater profits. In many ways the Rickenbacker co. has the right idea. Sometimes making a reasonable profit and staying small and making great quality instruments is the way to go.
Should have stuck to what Fender does best, make Guitars/Basses and Amps. Bad move on chasing greater increasing profits.
On this forum I've seen greater posts on the bad QC of Fender so it has begun.