For most of us average gearheads, a roof rack is just a set of bars secured to the roof of an automobile whose primary purpose is to carry bulky items such as luggage, bicycles, and other personal stuff.
But beyond the utilitarian purpose that roof racks represent is a billion dollar business that powers an industry. In Southeast Asia, The United States and Europe, the roof/luggage rack industry is a competitive and growing market with brands such as Malone, Yakima, Kuat, Thule and Rhino Rack fighting for a profitable slice of the market.
With people going out of town every weekend to de-stress and enjoy the outdoors, the need for a clever storage device is essential. In the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the most dominant roof/luggage brand is Rhino Racks of Australia. Distributed in the Philippines by The Outdoors Club based in Greenhills, San Juan, Rhino Rack is an Australian company which designs and manufactures durable and easy-to-use roof racks, luggage boxes, bike and kayak carriers plus other load securing accessories. “We also have customized products to address every loading requirement such as roof mounted tent systems and luggage trays with built in LED lamps for night time driving,” says Richard Cropley, President of Rhino Racks Australia, during a round table interview at the company HQ in Rydalmere, NSW Australia.
Cropley’s company is now a global brand, and he waxes sentimental every time he recalls the time when he had to sell his house to fund the company. “It was hard work, and we really had to burn the midnight oil to keep on designing and manufacturing products that are functional, fun to use while looking good at the same time,” adds Cropley. He also adds that Rhino Racks is constantly finding ways to improve their product line-up.
“At the moment our luggage trays are making good progress in terms of sales and we are innovating the design by making them more sturdy and adding on LED lamps to make them more functional at night. We have also expanded our tent awning system by having a roof mounted tent wherein two people can sleep inside to protect them from the elements,” says Cropley.
Rhino Racks will celebrate their 25th year in the roof rack business next year, and Cropley is planning a huge camping style weekend for its patrons and dealer principals from all over the World. “We will be using the entire Rhino Racks product line-up for this and our guest will get to experience the outdoors lifestyle of the brand,” he says.
Cropley also commended the efforts of local Rhino Racks distributor Erwin Versoza, who is currently the number one distributor in Southeast Asia and number six in terms of growth in the global arena. “It is through our partners like Mr. Versoza that we credit our stratospheric growth all these years,” explains the man who made the Aussies explore the swamps and the outback of Australia.
The Outdoors Club in Greenhills is also the distributor of Mont Blanc and Maxliner products in the country.
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