“The new enduro model, whose development the company has allocated one million euros will be the star of Gas Gas in 2012.”
The world leader in trials bikes, based in Girona (Spain), ended the year 2010/2011 on 31 July with a pre-tax profit of 1.1 million euros, after losing 700,000 euros in the previous year. Net sales were 39.5 million euros, almost 19%. The company sold nearly nine thousand motorcycles, up twenty percent.
The company is 73% owned by Vector Capital, a venture capital of Caixa Penedès. Its director general, José Fernando Cuevas said that the main impetus of change has been the international expansion. Previously, the company distributed 50% of its sales between Spain and abroad. In the last year, exports have accounted for 85% of the turnover. France has become the largest market for Gas Gas, ahead of Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK, said Cuevas, who notes that the future is in the United States, Brazil, Japan or South Africa, where their presence is still very modest.
Another key to the recovery of Gas Gas is the focus on enduro bikes, which are used to drive through the mountains or the countryside and are a hybrid between those of motocross and trial. Its market is larger and growing. Worldwide trials sales are about 10,000 units per year. Gas Gas has a share of 45%, after recovering ground lost to Beta and Sherco. “Trials is in our DNA,” said Cuevas, who says it is a stable market.
In contrast, the enduro market is 160,000 units sold each year, and the share of Gas Gas is only 2.5%, with the Austrian KTM as a leader. “The enduro is the future of the company,” says the head of Vector. The new enduro model, whose development the company has allocated one million euros will be the star of Gas Gas in 2012. “It was hard to turn around the company,” said Cuevas, who praised the “outstanding work” of Ramon Puente, CEO and owner of 10% of the company.
But there are still some grey clouds. The Yamaha closure plans have forced Gas Gas to seek alternative suppliers, due that the company shared some with the Japanese group. Cuevas fears that other local providers will end up closing. The executive of Vector believes that “not unreasonable” to go towards integration with other Catalan companies from the sector and is open to exploring avenues of collaboration.