Tucker Rocky Acquires the FirstGear Brand
Tucker Rocky Distributing has acquired the FirstGear brand of apparel and accessories from Fairchild Sports, and began handling all inquiries regarding FirstGear sales and distribution as of August 19. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In late 2003, Texas-based Tucker Rocky and then-FirstGear owner Intersport Fashions West, Inc. (IFW), signed a two-year contract that stretched Tucker Rocky’s exclusive distribution rights to FirstGear into 2005 – or, a 12th year of distribution.
Regarding the recent deal, officials at Tucker Rocky say they “will invest heavily to build upon FirstGear’s long-standing reputation.”
“All of the elements that have made FirstGear the number one brand in its category – quality materials and construction, attractive new designs with innovative features, strong dealer support, effective consumer advertising, and reliable customer service – will remain central to Tucker Rocky’s accelerating growth strategy for the brand,” company officials said in a prepared statement.
Bill Carter, Tucker Rocky vice president of strategic development, told Powersports Business the purchase was a spur-of-the-moment idea.
“We got talking to Fairchild about their plans for the brand, and the idea came up of us just acquiring the brand outright,” Carter explained.
He said the deal was important to Tucker Rocky “because it secures the brand to us, giving us full control of the brand, direction, where it’s made, and so-on and so-forth.”
“It’s a very important brand, and we wouldn’t want it to go away or have some strategic changes made in its distribution,” he said. He declined to share Tucker Rocky’s annual FirstGear sales.
The FirstGear brand offers Tucker Rocky synergies in its apparel line-up. Carter said it will continue to be positioned as a premium technical product alongside sport-oriented MotoGP gear and cruiser-style River Road apparel.
As for the operational aspect, Carter said there are no plans to drastically change how FirstGear product gets to market.
“Since we do a number of proprietary brands already, we have apparel specialist people here at Tucker Rocky who know that business,” he said. “Depending on what happens next year, we may either look at in-house people or some outside design help. But, in the immediate future, we have no plans to add a whole new group of people.
“What is very important to us is that we maintain all of the customer service, quality and warranty support that FirstGear has become known for. We’re certainly going to work on that, and if that requires adding new resources, we’ll do what we need to do.”
Fairchild Sports previously operated in the U.S. as IFW. IFW was founded in 1979 by John Wyckoff and was later sold to Denis LaBonge and Rick Miller.
In 1999, IFW was acquired by Eurobike AG, an international apparel company based in Dusseldorf, Germany. But Eurobike’s financials led to its being purchased by The Fairchild Corporation (NYSE: FA) of Dulles, Va., in late 2003 when Fairchild was looking for investment opportunities outside the sagging aerospace distribution industry.
Fairchild Sports is comprised of Fairchild Sports in Tustin, Calif., the former IFW; and Hein Gericke and PoloExpress in Europe. The company designs and sells motorcycle protective apparel, helmets and a large selection of technical accessories for motorcyclists under owned brands and for private label third parties.
The Fairchild Corporation reported a $1.6 million, or $0.06 per share, net loss for its third quarter ended June 30, 2005, as compared to net earnings of $7.1 million, or $0.28 per share, for the third quarter ended June 30, 2004. The company’s loss from continuing operations was $2.3 million for the three-month period, compared to earnings from continuing operations of $9.9 million for the same period 2004.
The Fairchild Corporation’s revenues for the quarter were $115.44 million, up by $1.0 million or 0.9% compared to $114.42 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2004. However, the improvement was due to a 7.6% increase in revenues in the company’s aerospace segment.
While Fairchild Sports is the Fairchild Corporation’s largest segment, the Fairchild Corporation’s sports & leisure segment revenue – of which Fairchild Sports is a part – was flat for the quarter – $91.5 million from $91.9 million in the same period of the previous year.
Fairchild officials, in an 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said they are “taking action to better understand how to enhance revenues in the future. This includes retaining an outside consulting firm who specializes in the retail sales sector, considering new advertising avenues, and taking efforts to improve the management team in Germany.”
Company officials said one recent move was the introduction of “G-Line”, a new apparel brand for women. “With women accounting for a rising 10% of motorcycle sales in the United States, Fairchild Sports recently announced a new line of women’s jackets, pants and accessories that will soon be available at select retailers worldwide.”
– Guido Ebert
TR Adds Two Lines
In other news from Tucker Rocky Distributing, the company announced an alliance to market a wireless Bluetooth headset for motorcyclists and signed with Scott USA to distribute Acerbis brand product.
Tucker Rocky’s deal with Cardo Systems, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of wireless Bluetooth devices for the consumer market, allows it to market and distribute the scala-rider wireless Bluetooth headset for motorcyclists. The scala-rider kit works with all Bluetooth mobile phones, and optionally also with non-Bluetooth phones. The product became available to dealers September 1.
Tucker Rocky’s distribution agreement with Scott USA allows it to carry Acerbis’ complete line of replacement plastic for all popular off-road applications as well as a full line of headlights and handguards. The distributor plans to have Acerbis product available this month.
TP Receives EPA certification
TP Engineering, Anaheim, Calif., received EPA certification which qualifies the company as an OE engine manufacturer in all 50 states. TP says all of its engines are designed, engineered and manufactured in-house.
TP’s 2005 motor line-up includes 114-inch, 121-inch and 124-inch products, all which feature the company’s new proprietary Scramjet air cleaner.
Dealers or custom bike builders interested in learning more about TP Engineering are asked to call 866/873-6446. To see the latest from TP Engineering, visit www.tpengineering.com.
Joe Rocket Reveals 2006 Product Line
Joe Rocket expanded its product line for 2006 with more products for women, a larger glove line-up, and new textile gear.
The company also now offers officially licensed product from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha.
For more information, contact Joe Rocket, 5100 Ure St., Oldcastle, Ontario, Canada NOR 1LO; 519/737-7288.
Phantom Enters Cycle Market
Phantom Tracking is the latest company to reveal a GPS-based motorcycle security system. The system offers owners real-time tracking, recovery, crash detection, and the convenience of 24-hour monitoring nationwide.
Once activated, the Phantom system’s proprietary technology monitors the motorcycle and, when triggered, transmits real time data in seconds to a live call center. Phantom officials say the system has been in field-testing over the past two years.
“The Phantom can effectively track stolen motorcycles inside vans, trucks, garages, tunnels, parking structures and large urban environments with an unprecedented accuracy of 5 feet,” said John Tomljenovic, vice president of Phantom Tracking.
Guardian Global Technologies Corporation, the parent company of Phantom Tracking, is a technology company based in Southern California. For further information, contact Tomljenovic at 800/592-0847.
XtremeGard Also Protects
Another new theft-deterrent device is XtremeGard from Ohio-based Galt Enterprises Inc.
Galt provides dealers across the United States with insured Service Contracts, Credit/Life and Disability insurance, Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance, Anti-Theft and Tire and Wheel coverage. and a web-based F&I selling program.
The recently released XtremeGard “UTD” universal theft deterrent, is a remote-controlled, passive arming system for all 12 volt power sport vehicles.
The XtremeGard UTD design incorporates an M-ISO relay footprint connector to provide a direct “Plug In” installation. the unit disables the nmotorcycle starter, fuel, or ignition system without cutting or splicing into any wire.
To learn more, call 800/248-4258 or visit www. galtenterprises.com
Thor MX Launches All-New Web site
Thor MX, El Cajon, Calif., has launched a newly designed Web site, www.thormx.com.
This new site showcases the brand new ’06 product line of racewear and accessories, including the Core colorways Abba Zabba, Hematoma and Deville, among others. The flash-based site features bolder graphics, a creative interface and an updated navigation system. There’s also a dealer locator, allowing consumers to punch in a zip code dealers within a 10 to 100 mile radius.
The site also features Thor rider bios and photos, a multimedia section, a contest page, and a link for a free catalog.
Gibbs Joins Annitori
Gary Gibbs, former Product Director of Moose Racing/Parts Unlimited, has accepted a new position as Senior Marketing Director for Annitori Distributing of Wauconda, Ill. Annitori is the exclusive North American distributor of Micron Exhausts, CRD Off Road Exhausts and HyperPro suspension systems.
Gibbs will be based at Annitori Distributing’s new Southern California distribution center located in Oceanside, Calif.
“Gary brings to Annitori a vast experience in the motorcycle distribution arena,” says Doug Cameron, Annitori Project Director “and his expertise in the off-road sector as well as on-road performance market will only enhance our expansion efforts in both.”
Annitori’s dealerrs in the Western United States dcan expect one- to two-day delivery via the new distribution center in Oceanside.
Polaris Choose PowerSports Network
Polaris Industries has selected PowerSports Network (PSN) as its preferred Web site vendor for Polaris Dealer Web sites across the United States. The PSN Dealer Web site Program offers Polaris dealers a number of turnkey solutions that provide a complete and customized dealer Web site environment quickly and easily.
“The relationship between Polaris and PSN gives Polaris dealers access to a complete Web site solution for their dealership,” said Nick Avgoulas, vice president/principal of PowerSports Network. “Each dealer’s Web site will be customized to meet their specific needs and will include a Polaris/Victory branded framework that runs in parallel with their site without additional expense or maintenance.”
Headquartered in Sussex, Wis., PSN currently services more than 1200 dealers in all 50 states and Canada.
White Brothers Celebrates 30
White Brothers celebrated its 30th anniversary in August, and Mark Rodgers, the company’s global marketing manager, says dealers should look for promotions touting the fact.
“We are doing a lot of promotion about that with our customers right now,” Rodgers told Powersports Business. “There is a ton of new products, improvements to our facilities, great new people, more aggressive marketing, an e-strategy, plus expanded existing and new partnerships.”