FreeRider drives scooter biz into the U.S.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO - After 10 years of successfully selling scooters in Europe, FreeRider has laid the groundwork to greatly expand its presence in the U.S. market.
In January, the company opened headquarters in San Francisco and arranged warehouse space in southern California near the busy port of Long Beach, where its products will enter the United States, said Managing Director Emily Fan.
From Long Beach, Fan said, FreeRider USA will be able to distribute products to the West Coast and eastward through the southern United States.
"There is a lot of competition--and I have a lot of respect for what my competitors have been able to do--but at the same time I think there will be tremendous growth in the consumer market." Fan said. "With that boom, over the next 30 days I see a lot of opportunity for us all."
For about two years, Freerider has had limited distribution of its products through ScooterBug, a Massachusetts company that leases mobility products to zoos, amusement parks and resorts.
FreeRider currently has 15 models of scooters and two power chairs manufactured in Taiwan, but that could change.
"It is significantly cheaper to manufacture in China," Fan said. "However, I don't think their capacity for product quality has been proven yet. Not to say it won't happen in the future. It is definitely something to keep an eye on."