VANCOUVER, WA (BRAIN)—SR Suntour has formed a new U.S. subsidiary to drive aftermarket growth, tapping longtime U.S. manager Darrell Voss to head up the operation and former FSA president Doug Stuart to oversee sales and marketing in North America.
SR Suntour North America will be run from Vancouver, Washington, as a division of the Chang Hua, Taiwan-based suspension and component manufacturer.
Voss, who has led SR Suntour’s U.S. activities for the past 11 years will direct the new venture and will also play an integral part in product development. Stuart, who led FSA in the U.S. from 1999 to 2006, will head up aftermarket sales and marketing.
After leaving FSA, Stuart established Corsair Bikes, which he recently sold to a buyer that has not yet been announced.
The company has also brought on support staff for the Vancouver office and has hired an OEM salesperson who will be introduced before starting April 1, Stuart said.
Stuart said he and Voss have known each other for many years and began talking last summer about forming a U.S. branch of the storied company, which has roots dating back nearly a century.
“I put together some proposals. Darrell had been putting together some proposals to the ownership in Taiwan. With the work he did and the work I did, we put together a plan for the new business with myself being involved in it,” Stuart said. Stuart said he was attracted to SR Suntour for the opportunity to work with Voss, whom he described as having good acumen on both the business and technical side, as well to work for a vertically integrated company that controls its own manufacturing.
It also gives him the chance to mine the knowledge and experience he gained at FSA, another component manufacturer with its own factory.
“It was a nice step as far as being involved with a company that has the potential to do similar and potentially bigger and better [things] than FSA,” he said.
Stuart will focus on achieving a better balance between SR Suntour’s aftermarket and OEM business. Currently, OEM sales account for about 90 percent of revenue for SR Suntour, the industry’s largest suspension manufacturer.
“I think if we could get the aftermarket business up to 25 to 30 percent in the midterm, I think that’s pretty good,” he said.
To do that, Stuart will start by establishing a demo program to get consumers interested in buying SR Suntour’s suspension and component products. He also plans to hold service clinics with dealers to help create better relationships with retailers.
“It’s a big country and we’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re going to start at it and go step by step,” he said.
SR Suntour’s history dates back to 1912 when freewheel maker Maeda Industries was established. Over the decades a number of mergers occurred between Maeda Industries, Mori Industries, Sakae Ringyo (SR) and Suntour. In 1987 chairman Daisuke Kobayashi and the management team of SR moved the company to Taiwan and in 1995 the SR Suntour company of today was formalized.
SR Suntour operates three factories located in Chung Hua, Taiwan, Shen Zhen, China and Kunshan, China. These factories are vertically integrated for aluminum and magnesium casting and forging, drawing, CNC machining, spring manufacturing, and final painting, finishing and assembly. SR Suntour also operates a sales and service office and warehouse based in Germany.
Photo: Doug Stuart