The STIHL story, part 3: The “do-it-yourself” strategy: production, sales and dealers from a single source (1970-1995)

When Andreas Stihl developed his first chainsaw in 1926, his aim and vision was to “ease people’s work with and in nature”. STIHL has been the world’s best-selling chainsaw brand since 1971.
Since the company was founded by Andreas Stihl, it has developed from a one-man operation into an internationally active manufacturer of chainsaws and outdoor power tools. In four blog posts we give an insight into the eventful chapters of the company story. Part 3 covers the period from 1970 to 1995.

In-house production and sales

In the late nineteen-sixties, Andreas Stihl increasingly withdraws from the company for reasons of health. His son, Hans Peter Stihl, becomes a personally liable partner in 1971. He and his sister, Eva, have already been pursuing a clear strategy for some years: They want to take control of sales operations.

True to the motto, “own manufacturing and sales”, the company founds production and sales companies in Germany and abroad. The sibling’s entrepreneurial vision and the persistently pursued sales strategy pay off. STIHL has been the world’s bestselling chain-saw brand since 1971.

Along with rising demand, new production sites are established in Brazil, Switzerland and the United States. A magnesium die-casting plant is also built. The new plants not only supply their own domestic markets, they also compete with each other. This means that on the one hand, production becomes more cost effective; on the other hand, STIHL achieves a high degree of vertical integration and can manufacture key components itself. The worldwide production network makes STIHL into a global player, but without losing its family-owned structure.

Setting up a production and sales company in Brazil is one of the first steps in establishing world-wide production and sales network.

Setting up a production and sales company in Brazil is one of the first steps in establishing world-wide production and sales network.

Quality standards also rise: STIHL engineers systematically optimize the tools’ performance and work on enhancing product safety and operating comfort, while reducing emissions.

The authorized dealer channel

The contact points for costumers are to be authorized dealerships, which can provide expert advice, as well as reporting back to the founding company on any problems that might arise with new developments. Today, more than 40,000 of them sell STIHL products in over 160 countries.

Personal advice from an authorized STIHL dealer

Personal advice from an authorized STIHL dealer

Sawing, grinding and cutting – product diversity and organic growth

The STIHL product range has been steadily growing since the mid-sixties. In addition to chainsaws, numerous other hand-held outdoor power tools are developed: cut-off machines, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers and earth augers, as well as blowers and sprayers – today powered by petrol, electricity or rechargeable batteries.

The first trimmers for private customers are added in the mid-seventies.

The first trimmers for private customers are added in the mid-seventies.

In addition to performance and weight, an increasing role is played by operating comfort, operating safety and environmental protection.

STIHL develops the world's first catalytic converter for two-stroke engines in 1988.

STIHL develops the world’s first catalytic converter for two-stroke engines in 1988.

The range is completed with lubricants and personal protective clothing. And with the acquisition in 1992 of VIKING, a manufacturer of gardening power tools, STIHL covers the gardening segment in addition to forestry and construction.

Entry of the third generation

In 1992, Dr. Nikolas Stihl, the son of Hans Peter Stihl, joins the STIHL Group. From 1993 to 2011, he is the Chief Executive of VIKING GmbH in Langkampfen, Austria. In 2012, he becomes Chairman of the Advisory and of the Supervisory Board. Hans Peter Stihl becomes the Honorary Chairman, Eva Mayr-Stihl continues as the Deputy Chairwoman of the Advisory Board.

Dr. Nikolas Stihl and Hans Peter Stihl

Dr. Nikolas Stihl and Hans Peter Stihl

When did you become part of the STIHL story?

We are celebrating 90 years of STIHL. To celebrate our company’s anniversary, show us what connects you to our company. Upload a photo of yourself to our campaign page: history.stihl.com

STIHL_90_years_image

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