As from 2019, the STIHL Group will market the entire product line of garden tool manufacturer VIKING exclusively under the STIHL brand name.
The company says the change enables it to concentrate all sales and marketing activities on one brand.
The Viking factory in Langkampfen, Austria
STIHL executive board chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora said in a statement "We will take advantage of the existing unit sales and turnover potential of the present VIKING product line under the better known STIHL global brand - internationally."
Unlike global player STIHL, VIKING currently concentrates on the European market. This one brand strategy will see significant market growth for VIKING products, capitalising on the strong STIHL name.
Robin Lennie, Managing Director of STIHL GB, said: "With the merger, we bolster the areas of expertise of the STIHL brand and as a consequence, we expect significant growth, new markets and larger market shares. This means new customers and higher sales for us and our servicing dealers.
“Furthermore, developments in the cordless market have enormous potential and now we are able to offer our dealers and customers a universal cordless system across all products under a single brand. In this context, the much better known STIHL brand has greater customer appeal."
Robin Lennie contacted all UK dealers yesterday, saying, “A single brand will make sales easier for you - especially in the rapidly growing cordless sector where we expect to gain new customers and larger market shares. Development expertise will be consolidated, which will benefit the customer with innovative new products and features.
"Ever since it has been a member of the STIHL Group, the quality of VIKING products has continually improved. Today, STIHL and VIKING are both positioned as premium brands with product ranges that complement each other and the decision to integrate VIKING into the much better known STIHL brand is a logical strategic step. Furthermore and very important to you, I would like to offer you my personal reassurance that following the brand change from VIKING to STIHL, parts availability, guarantees and service will continue on the same basis as today.”
The STIHL brand strengthened
The company statement continued that as both premium brands have product portfolios that complement each other, the overall product line remains unchanged and will continue to grow to meet customer needs.
"By merging both product lines under a single brand name, we create greater transparency and easier orientation for servicing dealers and customers. Furthermore, we extend the assortment competence of the STIHL brand", stressed Norbert Pick, executive board member responsible for marketing and sales. "The company's know-how, development expertise and innovative strength will be improved, which will ultimately benefit customers - in the form of new products and features", said Pick.
The STIHL Group guarantees that even after the brand change, parts availability, guarantees and service will continue as normal. Executive board chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora explained: "Our customers can continue to rely on the time-proven services of the dealers for the VIKING tools they have bought."
VIKING has been part of the STIHL Group for 25 years. The product portfolio of the brand includes lawn mowers, robotic mowers, ride-on mowers, aerators, garden shredders and motorised cultivators and tillers.
VIKING GmbH, based in Langkampfen, Austria, is already an important manufacturing plant for STIHL cordless products, employing 450 staff.
"With this change in brand name we are charting the way forward for further growth in the STIHL Group. The Langkampfen plant will also profit from this. Not only will all jobs be retained, but employment will actually be consolidated", explained VIKING General Manager Dr. Peter Pretzsch and STIHL Executive Board Chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora.