TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN)—When Shimano announced its distribution shakeup in July, a number of Taiwanese component suppliers began calculating the odds of picking up additional aftermarket sales in the U.S. market.
After all, Shimano is trimming its U.S. distribution network from 18 to six and as of Jan. 1, 2014, dealers must order Shimano pedals direct from the company.
VP Components is one of those companies that wants to take advantage of Shimano’s shakeup in distribution and is fast refining its line of SPD-compatible pedals. Erik Saunders, VP’s brand manager in the U.S., said dealers should take a look at its 2014 seven-model line of VX mountain bike pedals.
Saunders said the company plans to aggressively police gray market sales, adhere to stringent MAP policies and offer dealers a 50 percent margin on its pedals. “This is purely an IBD alternative. We want to protect the shops and show them that these are purpose-built products,” he said.
As visitors moved in and out of VP’s private booth in the Tempus Hotel, Saunders said Shimano’s decision allows the Taiwanese manufacturer to offer a wide range of retail pricing for its line ranging from approximately $50 for its entry level VP-C01 through its high-end VX-5000 models retailing for about $130.
Saunders described the VX-5000 as a pedal that can compete with Shimano’s XTR twin pedal line—Trail and Race. “We want to take on the XTR line,” he said. But, he added, competing with Shimano in the pedal category is a challenge. Shimano’s market share for pedals could be as high as 80 percent, Saunders estimated.
VP sells its pedals through a variety of distributors and dealers can also order them dealer direct from VP’s office in Goleta, Calif., where Saunders said the company plans to beef up its staff.