I flew for MA until about a year before they were sold. For those watching closely, the seeds of this untimely demise were sown a decade ago.
In the old days of MA, the chief competition in the marketplace came from GMP, Schluter, Hirobo, and a few others. When MA first started, they had more or less two kits, the X-Cell 50 and the 60, and that was all. Stores had parts, and it was relatively easy to secure a kit when you wanted one. Over the next 5-7 years, MA added multiple new kits to the product line, arguably too many. When this happened, the ability to get a given kit when you wanted it fell away, and most dealers at most had a few examples of the product line. The company lacked the liquid cash to be able to do runs of multiple kits and to get them packed and shipped. The customer had to backorder what they wanted. BAD mistake number one. When guys want a model, they do not want to wait months to get it. It's OK for a boutique models like a TDR because guys know the deal there going in, but it is a nonstarter for a mainstream model mfg. The inability to delivery product in volume became that much worse as Align's popularity grew, and the customer could get any kit they wanted on demand from a multitude of dealers. Surely the low cost of the imported parts was a player in Align's growth, but market penetrance and distribution were what really did it for them.
The issues with parts count with MA models were legendary. Especially in the days of the X-Cell SE's and Pro's, the company had an amazing ability to make what could have easily been a one piece assembly instead be comprised of three pieces. This drove up kit cost, repair cost, and build time. Even as the situation improved in later designs, that reputaation persisted at a cost to sales.
Those of us who flew for MA in the old days used to make a joke about when a product would ship. Answer: "two weeks". It was funny to a point, but it ceased to be amusing to guys who waited for 6 months for a new release having been told "two weeks" for months on end. You cannot do this in today's market. When a product is announced, you better be able to ship within a few months or guys WILL NOT wait on you. MA's top two pilots flew a protoype Bandit for a solid year publically while MA told the public constantly changing relases dates that ultimately ended up never happening at all. During this time, no one wanted any current MA 90 sized model because they were waiting on the Bandit. Most eventually just gave up and bought another brand. Flying a prototype publically this way for so long with no hope of getting it to work and then ship was absolutely, postively mindbogglingly stupid. Even up to the time of the Whiplash, there were months and months sometimes between planned release dates and when product actually shipped.
Ongoing sales: in the early days of MA, everyone wanted a kit when they first came out, AND the subsequent demand for kits supported the company on an ongoing basis. Starting with the era of the first Ion's forward (almost a dead relase after the first run of kits because batteries were not yet affordable for the masses @ $800/set), MA never succeeded in generating an ongoing demand for product. At the time of a new kit release, all the MA fans got their model, and everything quickly sold out. When restocking occurred, that product would sit and sit and sit on dealer shelves. I think Ron Lund still has a Fury Extreme that has been there for god knows how long. At the time when Brian was with MA, I recall him telling me that during his tenure, there was only a brief period when the Fury 55 released that the company EVER ran in the black. I would hazard a guess that they have not been in the black since then. You cannot survive doing that but for so long.
The next thing that crippled MA was runs of less than optimum engineering. The Status looked good or paper and to build, but the reality is that you cannot backplate mount a 3.5 hp engine to a piece of carbon and think that things are no going to move around in flight. There were issues with bolts breaking with certain brands of engines, and those who knew what to listen for could hear the driveline bog down under heavy load in flight due to chassis flex. The rotor system would not deliver desired cyclic range to keep up with new flying demands, so they tried using step up bellcranks on a non closed loop control system. That helped the throw problem but assured servo geartrains got beaten to hell in short order. The small diameter tail boom was never quite stiff enough, so the answer was to come out with an Ultra boom that was not only expensive as hell but hard to source. There were some attempts to improve these situations, but you can't put lipstick on a pig. The Whiplash series had well known and documented issues with the primary driveline and the tail rotor drive system. The novel concept of the auto bearing on power plant looked good on paper, and that is where it stopped being good. As Darrick noted, these issues were never totally addressed, even on the EX (which, BTW, was hideously debuted at IRCHA 2013 by sticking that poor model on a tripod in the travel lane at the west end of the field with a few flying with basically no one there to mind the store or answer customer questions about anything). The company was in a bad position of having model with major issues that could not be fixed without what would have effectively been a complete redesign. Over the past 1.5 years or so, they lost the vast majority of their best team pilots over these issues. These things are noticed at the local field and at events, and it does hurt sales.
I own my own business, so I do not for one minute doubt the effects of labor costs, insurance, etc. as compared to the the Asian imports making business tough for MA. The problem is that the majority of the factors I listed above have comparatively little to do with where the company is based. To survive in this industry, no matter where the company is, you absolutely have to have good engineering, you have to be able to ship product, you have to be able to distribute product, and you have to be able to market it. Price point is a consideration of course, but we are in a hobby where guys routinely spend 200-300 on the latest backyard 150 class model that they fly for a few weeks and then make a Facebook video where they kill it with a hammer and then burn it up, so a mainshaft that costs little more than another company's does not itself sink you. The economy is utterly intolerant of mistakes in judgment that MA made for years and years in many of these areas, and it finally just caught up to them.