PHOENIX (Nov. 26, 2001)—Cragar Industries Inc. has signed three licensing agreements designed to expose the Cragar brand to younger auto enthusiasts, including a deal to launch a line of one-piece cast aluminum wheels for front-wheel-drive vehicles and two others aimed at the retail toy/collectibles industry.
Cragar wheel licensee Performance Wheel Outlet Inc. will handle the new line of wheels for front-wheel-drive vehicles, according to Cragar Industries Inc. The new line will introduce the Cragar brand to a younger audience and make available to traditional Cragar customers a product line for their newer vehicles, according to Michael L. Hartzmark, chairman and CEO of Cragar.
Performance Wheel Outlet is a distributor of the various brand wheels, operating from a 60,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in San Bernadino, Calif. The company earlier signed a licensing agreement with Cragar covering the single-piece aluminum Cragar S/S wheel line.
Performance Wheel will contract the manufacture of the new line to outside manufacturers, Mr. Hartzmark said. Performance Wheel Owner Robert McMath founded wheel maker KMC Wheel Co. prior to starting Performance Wheel, according to company information.
Looking into the future for new customers, Cragar has licensed use of its name and product identity to Playing Mantis Inc. and Racing Champions/Ertl, makers and marketers of die-cast toy and collectible model cars. Cragar expects this new presence in toy products will generate tens of millions of retail exposures for the Cragar brand, which will help build brand equity and provide the foundation for future licenses, Mr. Hartzmark said.
Nishikawa, Ind.-based Playing Mantis specializes in nostalgia-related toys, including the Johnny Lightning line of die-cast cars that originally were popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of the firm's products are in the 1:64 scale.
Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based Racing Champions/Ertl produces a wide range of car and farm vehicle models in the 1:18 to 1:64 scale ranges. Among its products are replica NASCAR stock cars and NHRA drag racing models.
Cragar Industries phased out its wheel manufacturing a few years ago and transformed itself into a marketing company, signing distribution agreements with several companies covering various product lines.