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Jan. 20, 2003 – Jardine gears up

January 20, 2003
Filed under Features

New space, new acquisition
Rick May is a big, easy going guy who talks quietly and smiles a lot. But as company president, he might have a tiger by the tail at Jardine Performance Products, the Corona, Calif., maker of exhaust systems for cars and motorcycles and billet accessories for cruisers and sportbikes.
Here’s the situation: Last year, sales increased 39% to more than $15 million (the privately-held company doesn’t disclose actual sales figures). That’s about twice the sales growth rate for the aftermarket industry.
This year, sales increases could be very strong as well, pumped up by a hefty R&D budget that’s about 6% of sales; a 32,000 sq. ft. expansion to its Corona facilities which could increase its fill rate to distributors by 50%; and the addition of Doug Thorley Headers, a leading automotive performance company.
One important result of all those changes — plus several key personnel moves and several new product offerings — is that Jardine is looking at some big sales growth in both automotive and powersports.
“We’re talking a 20% —25% increase in all of our product lines this year,” May told Powersports Business magazine during a recent interview.
Jardine also is moving out from its traditional metric motorcycle base into the Harley-Davidson market. The company is designing a line of exhausts that it hopes to have ready this summer, in time for the big party in Sturgis, S.D. Jardine has product designs and is working on patents and trademarks, but it’s not ready to release any details yet.
“We don’t have a name for the product line yet,” said May, “and we haven’t decided how far to go. But we’re going to focus on exhausts.”
A bit of history
Jardine traces its roots to Oct. 1, 1980, when its parent company, Summit Industries, functioning as a holding company, acquired a California company called Inter-Am that made private label accessories for Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles. Two years later, the company began making ATV racks. May joined the company in 1983.
The next year, Summit purchased Posa Enterprises, a manufacturer of tie-downs, loading ramps and other accessories, and a year later it added GSM Manufacturing, a maker of backrests and saddlebags — products that complimented its existing lineup.
The next December, it made a huge move, purchasing Jardine Headers from Jerry Jardine, one of the top exhaust guys in California. Jardine was the first aftermarket manufacturer to produce exhaust systems for metric cruisers, says May. In 1984, he began making exhausts for Yamaha and Suzuki cruisers. “Jardine was probably selling more than 10,000 exhaust systems annually for those bikes.,” says May.
In June 1987, the company combined its two facilities in one location, a 42,000 sq. ft. plant in Corona that was about 50% larger than the total space in the two small buildings it replaced.
Eight years ago, the company started making billet accessories for metric cruisers. “We were the first ones out with forward controls, foot pegs and back rests,” says May. Since then, the company has added decorative covers, floorboards, light bars and its Ultimate Billet Backrest & Rack combination.
Today, the company is best known for its Jardine Performance brand products. Summit Industries still owns the operations.
There are more than 2,000 Jardine parts numbers in 28 product categories. Dealers will see more Jardine branded products in 2003, notes Kerry Bryant, the company’s head of R&D and sales and marketing.
On the auto side, Jardine offers a unique complete cat-back emission system — one that goes from the catalytic converter back to the exhaust tip — that’s legal in 50 states.
An important reason for Jardine’s success, says May, is that it spends time and money on research and product development. In addition to its research dollars, it has 11 employees — out of a total of 165 employees company-wide — devoted to R&D.
Jardine will be at the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis in Booth #501.

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