MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN) — The industry has a new company in town — Accell Group North America. And its new structure is taking aim at the industry’s top three brands — Trek, Specialized and Giant.
At a small dealer meeting Tuesday morning, Steve Meineke announced the new group’s formation. It includes Raleigh America, Raleigh Canada, Seattle Bike Supply, Currie Technologies and Lapierre North America. All are backed by one of Europe’s most successful companies — Accell Group AG.
The announcement also includes a new role for Meineke, who had been Raleigh’s CEO. He will now lead the North American group as its CEO. Chris Speyer, formerly Raleigh’s executive vice president of product and marketing, becomes the group’s chief operating officer and Sharon Robinson has been named chief financial officer, leaving her role at Raleigh.
"Accell North America will be a powerhouse of independent brands" — Jeroen Snijders Blok, Accell Group NV’s chief operating officer
“Accell North America is a collection of stand alone companies that will operate in a collaborative and integrated manner, sharing efficiencies and synergies of the global parent company—the Accell Group NV,” Meineke told a select group of 10 Raleigh dealers attending a breakfast at the IBD Summit.
The newly formed group will offer dealers an aggressive benefits package and, through Accell’s Taiwan trading company, will leverage its buying power to help better maintain retail margins. As the North American group integrates its operations, it can demand better freight rates. SBS will also expand its SKUs as the company works to integrate its IT operations including a B2B portal.
Essentially, the group of companies will take aim at what Meineke called a “too mono-branded centric” business strategy for dealers—a veiled reference to Trek, Specialized and to a lesser extent Giant. All three continue to seek expanded dealer commitments for floor space as well as shelf-space for accessories. That strategy has squeezed smaller competing brands off the floors and accessories off the shelves at many top retailers.
“We will bring choice, innovation, service and success to our IBD partners with a new multi-brand partnership,” he said.
On the bicycle side, the combined group includes Raleigh, Redline, Torker, Diamondback and Currie Technologies’ iZip brand of electric bikes. At the same meeting, Meineke said Lapierre will be the group’s premier line of bikes and will have its own sales and marketing team. Gilles Lapierrie was on hand to meet with dealers to help introduce the brand. Lapierre was founded in 1946 with headquarters in Dijon, France.
Jeroen Snijders Blok, Accell Group NV’s chief operating officer, said the company’s North American unit operates independently from the parent company. “SBS will stay SBS. Raleigh will stay Raleigh. Currie will remain Currie and will become our technology center. It’s the same way we work in Europe and it’s been a very, very successful model. Accell North America will be a powerhouse of independent brands,” he said.