ARGON 18: in the spin of the global elite

  • Summary
  • Company: Argon 18
  • Region : Montréal
  • Program: The Quebec Economic Development Program (QEPD)
  • Financial assistance enabled: the implementation of targeted marketing in the US market.
Gervais Rioux, founding president of Argon 18
Gervais Rioux, founding president of Argon 18

The US market

While Argon 18 has a presence in over 60 countries through its distribution networks, it is now stepping up its marketing efforts in the United States. Mainly through support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), Argon 18 has recently implemented its marketing strategy in the markets of the East Coast, the West (especially California, where it sponsors the professional team JELLY BELLY) and the South (Florida). The marketing activities are focussed mainly on hiring new resources that specialize in sales, meeting with potential clients, being involved in trade shows and developing new promotional materials.

[translation] “CED’s support is very important for us because, other than its financial support, this has reassured us in implementing our development strategy with our retailers”, states Christian Lafrance, Director of Sales for North America. [translation] “It’s important to take as much time as needed to fully understand the distribution network in the United States and choose the right retailers to distribute our products”, he continues.

Gervais Rioux: from racer to business man

Brothers and co-owners of Argon 18, Martin and Gervais Rioux, following the press conference where the partnership with BORA - Argon 18 team was announced.

Argon 18 officially came into being in 1989 under the initiative of Gervais Rioux, du Bas du Fleuve, one of the most successful road racers of his generation in North America. He has over 150 victories to his name, earned in both America and Europe, including three Canadian championships. A member of prestigious teams like Ten Speed Drive and Evian-Miko, Gervais Rioux also represented Canada for 10 years in the largest international competitions, including the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

The year 1999 marked a major step in the company’s development. Argon 18 took part in the international Interbike Show for the very first time and gradually started distributing its bikes all over North America and then Europe. Asia and Oceania quickly followed.

In 2001, under the direction of Gervais Rioux, who devoted himself from that point forward to designing bikes, Argon 18 chose a new material with unlimited potential: carbon fiber. After putting the first prototypes through their paces, the first frame made entirely of carbon, called Hellium, was implemented in 2001. In the fall of 2006, Argon 18 took three world triathlon championships. Then, in September 2008, its renowned triathlon bike, the E 114, received a prestigious Eurobike Award in recognition of the quality of its design and its innovative contribution.

BORA-Argon 18 at the Tour de France

Argon 18 is also the high-level BORA-Argon 18 team. It entered, for the fifth consecutive year, the Paris-Roubaix race this past May, where it came in seventh, its best performance ever, ahead of several prestigious teams. Argon 18, the team’s co-sponsor, is providing optimized frames to the German team for achieving the highest performance levels for that major classic: the Tour de France!

[translation] “The Tour de France is an incredible commercial showcase for the BORA-Argon 18 team, our company and our bikes. With a total audience of over three billion people, this competition will provide us with unprecedented visibility”, concluded Christian Lafrance.

For more information about Argon 18, its products and its sales outlets, visit the company’s website.

Yes, Argon 18 is forming partnerships with the global elite, but it is also targeting primarily cycling enthusiasts, especially that increasingly large client base made up of Baby Boomers who are health conscious and want a product geared to their needs and their distinctiveness. If you wish to acquire a 100% carbon Argon 18 bike, be aware that it will cost between $2,000 and $12,000, depending on your goals and your desire for performance!

[translation] “It may take up to two years for a U.S. shop to agree to carry our products. We have to be patient, persistent and, especially, choose the right retailers in our development strategy. Argon 18 currently has 8 sales agents and about 30 shops distributing its products in the United States. Our vision is not to become the largest bike manufacturer, quantity wise, but to become the number 1 brand in the world in our niche”, says Christian Lafrance, Director of Sales for North America.

Argon 18 employs 35 people and has $3.2 million in sales in Canada. Within 5 years, the company is aiming for $1.5 million in sales in the United States.

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