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Wheel Pros Embraces Lifestyle Marketing(June 27, 2012)
CERRITOS, Calif., June 27, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wheel Pros is an unusual player in lifestyle marketing, a space frequently associated with the energy drink wars that paint action sports athletes with their brilliant blue, yellow and green logos.
But the company, which makes and distributes top aftermarket automotive wheel brands worldwide, is a major figure in the action sports realm and key lifestyle marketing programs bring its brands front-and-center at events like this week's X Games in Los Angeles.
"We're the only wheel company that makes action sport a priority," said Marketing Director Rhett Sander. "It's a no-brainer for us -- we support the activities that are important to our customers."
Wheel Pros is one of the largest producers and distributors of aftermarket wheels in the world. Its products are sold in more than 20 countries on four continents and through a U.S. network of more than 25,000 authorized dealers. Its top-selling brands include KMC, Motegi, ATX and American Racing.
"We know it's important to partner with athletes and activities that reflect our brand stories," said Wheel Pros President Jody Groce. "This sets us on an unique path where we tap directly into our customers' passions and offer them a product that aligns with their lifestyles."
Its KMC brand, which focuses its product lines on truck applications including the lifted truck style first popularized in the Southern California desert, has a longstanding relationship with action sport. Sander's early career as a professional surfer meant it was only natural for the brand to build relationships within that community, including big names like Jamie O'Brien and Kelly Slater.
"We're engaged in action sport because we believe it matters -- but there's a business case for it as well," said Sander, offering that the proof is in the sales figures. "As aftermarket companies have suffered in a softened economy since 2008 that hit the automotive industry particularly hard, our sales have continued to grow."
This year, the KMC brand celebrates 30 years of making and distributing quality wheels, and its presence in action sport endures.
"When surfers or motocross riders load up their equipment to hit the water or ride in the desert, they're using trucks to make the drive," said Sander. "We give them the wheels that suit their practical needs and their sense of style."
At this summer's X Games, KMC backs motocross legend Travis Pastrana's bid for a Gold medal in rallycross, as well as motocross riders Ronnie Renner, Mike Metzger and Robbie Maddison -- who have also had long-standing relationships with the KMC brand. Renner will compete in Step Up, Metzger is slated to appear in Best Whip, and Maddison is entered in the Speed and Style discipline.
KMC also supports Bryce Menzies, the 2011 Dirt Sports rider of the year, who makes his X Games debut as teammate to Pastrana in rallycross.
Under Wheel Pros' Motegi Racing brand, which makes wheels for the aftermarket performance automotive market, the company sponsors drivers in X Games rallycross including Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan – who is also a motocross veteran.
Motegi Racing is also a supporter of the emerging Global Rallycross series, the made-in-the-USA version of rallycross. As a companion event to NASCAR and IndyCar races in 2012, the hard-hitting new motorsport draws an enthusiastic younger demographic to take in the unique blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition that includes a massive, 70' jump.
Motegi Racing technical partner Olsbergs MSE will field a record five cars in rallycross at X Games. The nearly 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive Ford Fiestas engineered for the sport will use the Motegi Racing RX01, a wheel developed specifically for rallycross. A street performance version of the product is available to customers through the Wheel Pros distribution network.
In addition to Deegan and Foust, two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, aggressive newcomer Toomas "Topi" Heikkinen and British contender David Binks will also compete on Motegi Racing wheels.
The X Games format brings the best competitors in the world under one roof for an annual, four-day celebration of action sport including skateboarding, BMX, motocross and rally car racing. It is a multimillion-dollar franchise, owned by ESPN that recently announced plans to expand into the global market in 2013. X Games events are televised on the ESPN family of channels with additional cross-platform content available. X Games viewership continues to grow, with more than 5.7 million viewers tuning in annually.
ABOUT WHEEL PROS
KMC Wheels designs, produces and distributes one-piece wheels for the automotive aftermarket and off-road race industry. Founded in 1982, KMC has a 30-year legacy of delivering unsurpassed product quality at competitive prices.
Through technical partnerships with leading professional racing teams, Motegi Racing Competition and High Performance Tuning wheels are designed and engineered for performance.
Motegi Racing and KMC are owned by Wheel Pros, one of the world's largest suppliers of branded custom wheels, performance tires and related accessories for cars, SUVs and light trucks.
PHOTO: Travis Pastrana, a top action sport athlete with Wheel Pros, flies in the Global Rallycross Championship. CREDIT: Wheel Pros.
For more information or to arrange interviews with company leaders, and high-resolution images, contact Jen Horsey at Wheel Pros: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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