SEATTLE, WA (BRAIN)—Raleigh played up its long and storied brand heritage at its inaugural dealer event yesterday. More than 60 dealers attended the company’s product launch and symposium at the Suncadia resort in the Cascades, east of its Seattle headquarters.
“Raleigh heritage is unlike any other company you deal with. This company has from generation to generation earned its heritage,” said Steve Meineke, Raleigh’s president. “You can’t buy that. It’s earned, it’s storied.”
Meineke said consumers already know and recognize the Raleigh brand. But, he said, the company is investing in product and in-store marketing to create a more compelling story on the retail floor.
Chris Speyer, Raleigh’s vice president of product and marketing, said that Raleigh tried to be like everybody else for some time, but imitating other suppliers didn’t work. “We wanted to be everybody else, but everybody else doesn’t have 128 years of history,” he said. “We need to follow own history and our own path to be noticed.”
For 2011, Raleigh draws on its racing heritage with its steel road series, headlined by the International, which features a lugged Reynolds 853 frame and fork. The bike blends retro frame design with modern technology in the carbon fiber components and full Dura-Ace group. It also added an entry-level model, the Grand Prix, to the steel series.
But Speyer said embracing its heritage doesn’t mean every bike has to be steel or 3-speeds. Speyer said the brand will continue to focus on 700c categories and invest in contemporary designs.
Raleigh is filling in its road line with the new Revenio series, Latin for “the comeback” or “the return.” The aluminum road series is designed for “all day” performance, and fills a hole in its road bike line in the $1,000 to $1,500 range. Raleigh also is introducing a women’s version, the Capri, with women’s geometry, components and fresh color accents.
The entire line carries the strong value message Raleigh is known for. “We know you rely on us for great margins, and we’re not losing sight of that fact,” said Speyer.
Speyer said, for example, the Revenio 3.0 and Capri 3.0 have retail prices of $1,100 and carry a full 40 margin. He said its competitors’ versions would likely come in around $1,200 to $1,300 with a 38 margin.
“What’s pretty typical is retailers can ask a higher retail on those bikes to be competitive and they can extend their margin. And because it has great spec and is a little under our competitors’ price, the consumer and dealer are both recognizing benefit,” said Speyer.