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FSA brings wheelbuilding to Washington

Published February 24, 2012

MUKILTEO, WA (BRAIN) Feb 24, 09:18 MT—FSA technicians will start hand-building a small number of Vision wheels at the company’s Seattle-area North American headquarters this spring with the eventual goal of assembling all the brand’s aftermarket wheelsets in-house.

FSA, which owns Vision, will start the project this spring with Vision’s new top-of-the-line Metron 81 carbon fiber wheels. Depending on how that goes, FSA would expand assembly to include all Vision and FSA wheels for the North American aftermarket, said Fletch Newland, FSA’s marketing manager. About 40 percent of Vision’s wheels are sold in the aftermarket.

“We have not had an assembly set up for our wheels previously so we’ll start off still sourcing some,” Newland said. FSA currently imports wheels assembled from the TH Industries’ factory in Taichung. TH, parent company of FSA, runs a dedicated carbon fiber rim production facility and also builds all hubs in-house. Spokes are sourced from a third party.

Shifting assembly to North America will reduce import duties, helping to keep prices competitive and potentially increase margins, Newland said. Duties on wheelsets are 10 percent from Taiwan. Hubs are duty free, rims are 1.8 percent and spokes are 10 percent, but more spokes can be packed into a container than complete wheels.

At the start, wheelbuilding will be handled by FSA’s existing team of three techs. FSA Europe already assembles wheels for that market from its headquarters in Busnago, Italy outside Milan.

Nicole Formosa

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