Most people know Ken Block from his blockbuster viral Gymkhana videos and his rally racing career. What those people may not know is that Ken Block is also an accomplished businessman and marketing genius. Ken Block is the popular DC Shoes skateboarding brand co-founder and uses his motorsports adventures to expand the DC shoes audience to gearheads and racing fans.
After selling off DC Shoes, Block started a new brand called Hoonigan, a portmanteau of “goon” and “hooligan.” Hoonigan started as an apparel line, but Block eventually expanded it into an all-encompassing automotive lifestyle brand that includes motorsports teams, apparel, an online performance parts shop, and a YouTube channel with 4.5 million subscribers.
It looks like all of the time and effort that Ken Block put into Hoonigan will pay off in a major way.
Hoonigan merges with Wheel Pros
It was recently announced that Wheel Pros, which is one of the biggest aftermarket wheel companies in the world, has entered into a merger agreement with Ken Block’s brand. Wheel Pros currently owns over 40 wheel brands, including American Racing, Motegi Racing, Rotiform, and DUB Wheels.
Between all Wheel Pros’ brands, they produce wheels for cars, trucks, SUVs, and even “power sports” vehicles like ATVs and UTVs. The conglomerate went on quite the buying spree in the early days of their formation as they were backed by Clearlake Capital Group L.P., a large investment firm.
With the addition of Hoonigan, Wheel Pros has officially expanded to offerings other than aftermarket wheels for the first time in their history. (Correction 9-13-21: Previous to this merger Wheel Pros had acquired ReadyLIFT suspension, Zbroz Racing, and Driven Lighting Group)
What will happen to Hoonigan after the merger with Wheel Pros?
In the press release announcing the merger, it is stated that co-founders Ken Block and Brian Scotto will both remain with the merged Hoonigan company along with Hoonigan President Jennifer van Dijjk. The press release gave no details about any potential changes to Hoonigan’s other business areas, such as their apparel line or their media division.
The Hoonigan YouTube channel has such a large following due in part to the personalities that regularly appear in Hoonigan videos like Hetrech “Hert” Eugene Jr. and John “Nads” Naderi. We would speculate that neither party would want to mess up something that is clearly working.
Another big question mark is Ken Block’s motorsport activities. Ken Block’s involvement in rally racing, Gymkhana, and other motorsports has served as the main stage for promoting the Hoonigan brand to his millions of fans all over the world. It seems prudent that both sides of this merger would want to keep the Hoonigan Racing Division in place to further those goals.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Hoonigan to continue to expand and serve its ever-growing audience,” said Ken Block. “We have had the chance to work closely with the Wheel Pros team over the last few years, and believe they are the perfect partners to scale this brand globally. Brian and I have always had massive goals for Hoonigan, our race team and the Gymkhana films, and while we have already achieved many, this relationship will help make even the most ambitious goals a possibility. We couldn’t be more thrilled about this combination, as we will now be able to accelerate many of our plans to provide Hoonigan fans with more ways to pursue their passion, from engaging in even more new content and live events to customizing their vehicles. We also look forward to leveraging Hoonigan’s marketing ability to help grow all of the Wheel Pros brands.”
Judging by Block’s statement, it appears that Hoonigan will remain as it is for the most part but use their massive following to help some of Wheel Pros’ brands grow their awareness with Hoonigan’s key demographic.
We hope that neither party in this merger tries to fix something that isn’t broken.