PORTLAND, OR—Though U.S. sales of Brompton folding bikes have grown at a rate of 45 percent annually over the past five years, the UK brand believes there’s still a lot of room for growth.
“I’d like to double sales in the next 18 months, which will require more or less doubling our dealer network,” said Emerson Roberts, marketing manager for Brompton.
To that end, the brand recently established a U.S. subsidiary led by industry veteran Ed Rae. Brompton hasn’t had an American distributor for several years. The company has been selling direct to U.S. dealers as it does in the UK.
Rae has been in the industry for more than 30 years. He held stints at Trek, Giant and Schwinn, but for the last couple of years worked outside the industry. Rae is based out of his home office in Portland, Oregon.
Roberts said the subsidiary will handle training and service support to U.S. dealers, offering same time zone advice, which it couldn’t do from London.
“We also know that it has a confidence-boosting effect, and expect the subsidiary to extend our network of dealers to districts that are neglected,” Roberts said. “We have had so many conversations with American dealers who loved our brand and products yet could not bring themselves to stock them because they felt cast adrift without in-country support.”
Rae said dealers have responded positively to the move, and that Brompton is thriving in North American cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver and Portland.
Though growth plans are ambitious, Roberts believes they’re attainable since the U.S. market has recently emerged as a hotspot for all kinds of utility bikes.