Taotao shops for American brands to boost street cred

Publish Date: 
Jan 27, 2014

XINHUA, China - Taotao Group, China's biggest ATV producer, is on a shopping spree for existing American brands to bolster its foothold in the West.

Chairman Terry Cao told Want China Times the company wants to expand its product variety and upgrade technology management by buying American firms in the same industry, but would give no specifics.

The U.S. accounts for 70 percent of Taotao's export volume, and Taotao accounts for 70 percent of China's total ATV exports to the U.S. Last year, the company sold 120,000 ATVs and motorcycles in the U.S., where it has a 30 percent market share. In 2013, the value of the company's exports reached $85 million.

"Our products are still limited to low-emission vehicles under 250cc with prices from $300 to $700, half the price of Honda products," Cao said, though he acknowledged there is little brand loyalty for Taotao.

Taotao has established nine wholly-owned subsidiaries in the U.S., Canada and Russia. "More than 100 staff abroad are directly in charge of sale and after-sales service in local markets," he said.

The company hopes to boost sales volumes and brand awareness by buying established foreign enterprises. According to Cao's plan, the acquired companies would continue local production in developed markets like the U.S. in the initial stage after the acquisition.

"Gradually, we will win the trust of mid-range and high-end customers," he said.

While ATVs  and motorcycles account for half of Taotao’s annual revenue, the company also makes electric bicycles, wooden doors, steel doors, running machines, fitness equipment and garden tools. 

Posted by Holly Wagner