Italian firms aim to move into U.S. aftermarket – March 13, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS — An Italian wheel manufacturer that supplies Harley-Davidson is planning on selling to the U.S. aftermarket this year.
Magnetto Wheels, which makes steel and aluminum wheels, was one of two Italian companies that made their Dealer Expo debut this year.
More Italian companies have asked to come to the huge aftermarket show, but limited space has prevented that, said Nighisti Egziabher, a marketing officer for the Italian Trade Commission.
Besides Magnetto, Frap, a manufacturer from Torino, Italy, also made its Indy debut.
Frap has sold steering suspensions and other parts to the U.S. ATV racing community for the past six years. The company, which has 74 employees, is now seeking to sell on the U.S. aftermarket. The company already sells its products throughout Europe.
Company officials said they were talking with U.S. distributors at the show and looking for sales reps to sell to U.S. OEMs.
The other new Italian company to Indy, Magnetto Wheels, also had discussions with U.S. distributors at the show. Magnetto officials said they would pick a distributor and be available on the U.S. aftermarket in the next three months.
Magnetto has sold wheels to Harley-Davidson for 15 years.
All of the company’s manufacturing is done in three plants near Milan, Italy.
Magnetto, founded in 1948, also has facilities throughout the world, has 7,000 employees and makes wheels for cars and industrial vehicles as well as motorcycles, according to a company press release. psb

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