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Sinclair to Import German Stevens Brand

Published September 3, 2009

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN)—The No. 2 brand in Germany is about to enter the U.S. market for the first time through a new relationship with Sinclair Imports.

U.S. retailers may not be familiar with Stevens, but the brand has developed a strong following in cyclocross, where it caught the attention of Lance Donnell, president of Sinclair Imports.

“Sinclair had been very successful selling cyclocross bikes the last two seasons so we were very aware of the Stevens brand, likely the fastest growing cyclocross brand in the world,” Donnell said. “I saw them in action winning the World Championship in the Netherlands with Niels Albert and also the U23 World Championship.”

The Stevens bikes fill a hole left by Ridley, which Sinclair had distributed in the U.S. market until Quality Bicycle Products picked it up for next year.

Sinclair will handle all sales activities and dealer orders for Stevens in the United States. Initially, Sinclair is bringing in only its Carbon Team ’cross frames but Volker Dohrmann, product manager for Stevens, said Stevens will offer Sinclair the full catalog of its city, trekking, mountain and road bikes.

“We know the U.S. market is flat and we are conservative; we don’t have high expectations. But we are very excited to work with Sinclair,” Dohrmann said.

Although Donnell approached Stevens, launching in the United States fit into a strategic plan to expand its business in international markets. The German market currently accounts for about 80 percent of Stevens’ sales, with the remainder of sales to other European countries. Dohrmann expects its exports to foreign markets to increase by 20 to 30 percent this year. “Right now, we’re putting a lot of attention into exports,” he said.

Stevens currently sells about 85,000 units worldwide annually. It has offices in Taiwan and China, where it oversees sourcing of frames made there. Two subcontractors in Germany assemble three-quarters of its bikes, giving it flexibility with spec and control over quality.

Two brothers, Verner and Wolfgang von Hacht, started Stevens in 1990 as a house brand for their retail shop in Hamburg, Germany. Four years later the Stevens brand became independent from the retail store. Stevens now has 45 people working on design, development, marketing and sales at its headquarters in Hamburg.

—Megan Tompkins

PHOTO: Volker Dohrmann, product manager for Stevens, with its Carbon Team ‘cross bike on display at Eurobike.

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