Ohlins has been the generally accepted leader in motorcycle suspensions for a very long time. A key part of Ohlins’ strategy was to develop a network of dealers and expert service centers to support and advise customers. This support system was significantly responsible for Ohlins’ growth and prestige. It was this system that provided end users with access to Ohlin’s product range as well as a superior level of expert advice.
But the renowned Swedish suspension component manufacturer has made some changes to its sales strategy. The company decided that it could increase its support to its customers by making some sales direct to consumers.
Ohlins is reacting to what they have seen as a shift in consumer buying practices. They say that consumers are moving more and more to buying online. German outlet Speedweek.com quoted Ohlins as saying:
“While we continue to believe in this strategy and will always support our network, we see a shift in consumer buying habits towards online purchases.”
In this regard, Ohlins has started to make changes to allow consumers to purchase Ohlins components directly. Currently, the Ohlins Distribution and Test Center (ODTC) is offering Ohlins components direct to consumers on their website.
However, there is no direct online outlet for Ohlins USA components. American buyers can order components from the ODTC, but be aware that importation and shipping costs could more than offset any savings by buying from Ohlin’s ODTC.
Nonetheless, Americans should not despair long term. According to Ohlins USA’s Motorcycle Manager Mike Hensley, Ohlins USA will also offer components direct to the consumer. While Ohlins couldn’t provide an exact date, they hope to have the revised website up by the Fall of 2019.
It will be interesting to see if this more direct to consumer strategy works for Ohlins going forward. To many, one of the key elements of Ohlins suspension was the expertise provided by Ohlins experts. With consumers purchasing components directly, will Olins be able to retain the legacy of leading-edge performance and set-up? We’ll see as time goes by.
Note: This article has been edited to clarify that Ohlins, not Tenneco made the decision to offer components direct to the consumer and that Ohlins USA has yet to begin this practice.