LAS VEGAS—MAT Holdings Inc. is on the fast track for growth in the U.S. market, expanding its offerings under the Gabriel brand and adding Bendix braking products to its stable.
The company, which in 2012 finalized its purchase of Ride Control L.L.C.—the manufacturer of Gabriel-brand ride control products—reached an agreement in August 2014 with Honeywell International Inc. giving it exclusive rights to the Bendix brand and its automotive braking products in the U.S. market. At the 2014 Automotive Aftermarket Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas, the company unveiled 70 new part numbers to its offerings.
“Obviously Bendix is one of the icon brands in the braking industry,” said Duncan Greathead, vice president of sales and marketing for MAT. “So, you know, we want to grow that brand again and restore it to its former glory.”
Mr. Greathead said the company has expanded the range of Bendix products with “immediate effect” and “at the same time we've put a national sales force into place across the country that are geographically placed.”
That sales force, which is 15 members strong, will be responsible for selling both Bendix-brand brake products and Gabriel-brand ride control products in the light duty channel.
The company also expanded its Gabriel brand, introducing more than 200 SKUs into the market covering more than 10 million vehicles in operation, according to Christine Fisher, manager, marketing and communications for Gabriel.
Covered segments include mainstream passenger vehicles (2010-2013 Honda Civics), light trucks (2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra models), sports cars (mid-2000s Pontiac Solstice, Mazda RX-8 and Nissan 350Z models), niche vehicles (late-model Scion xB, Scion xD and Subaru Tribeca models) and luxury vehicles (mid-2000s Acura RL and Jaguar X-Type).
“That's an aggressive expansion both for Gabriel and for Bendix, and we're going to aggressively pursue new business opportunities in the market,” Mr. Greathead told Tire Business. “We believe we have two of the best brands in the marketplace and two of the oldest and best known brands in the marketplace.”
In addition, MAT's Gabriel brand has updated its website. Its search function for parts now highlights items that are new, superseded or discontinued, the company said, and it includes extra details about weight, dust tube material and package contents.
Lastly, Gabriel recently announced the Gabriel Answerman Advantage loyalty program, set to launch in early 2015. The program will be geared towards technicians and service shops in the U.S. and will include point-of-sale materials, promotions, rewards and business tools.
Through the program, installers will be able to earn points on each sale of Gabriel shocks and redeem points for rewards, the company said. The program also will offer technical support for service professionals via a toll-free Answerman line.
Participating shops will receive a locator listing on Gabriel's website at www.gabriel.com. The company said it would provide more information on the program early this year.
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