You’ve probably seen Thule bike racks or cargo carriers on people’s cars or even have one yourself. The company sells numerous products and accessories for active travelers. But do you know how to pronounce the company’s name? We’ll explain how and give you some background on the brand.
A brief history
Erik Thulin and his family founded Thule in 1942 in Hillerstorp, Sweden. The company’s first product was a pike fishing trap Thulin sold to Scandinavian fishermen. The company grew successfully, expanding its practical products.
The company began to specialize in products for cars in the 1960s, including its roof rack. In the 1970s, it expanded sales into new markets, first in Central Europe and later in the United States. The Thulin family sold Thule in 1979 to a company called the Eldon Group. The private equity firm Candover acquired Thule in 2004, and it began to grow even faster. Nordic Capital then acquired it in 2007, and the following year, the company experienced downturns due to global financial concerns and declining sales. The Thule Group spent 2009 and 2010 restructuring.
The brand continued to expand through organic growth and the acquisition of other companies. That includes the German roof box manufacturer Jetbag in 1991, the Italian snow chain manufacturer König in 2004, the RV Accessories company Omnistor in 2005, the towing systems company Brink in 2006, and the technology accessory company Case Logic in 2007. Some of the companies were absorbed, and others have since been divested.
Though it isn’t spelled phonetically in English, “Thule” isn’t difficult to pronounce. The correct way to say it is “too-lee,” Rack Outfitters reports.
Thule’s parent company
The Thule Group currently has about 2,400 total employees around the world. The company’s headquarters is located in Malmö, Sweden. There are about 1,000 employees based in the U.S. who are located in Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, and Illinois. The company says it is the global market leader in roof racks, roof boxes, bike racks, camera bags, and multisport and bicycle trailers.
The Thule Group’s products today are sold under the Thule brand and the Case Logic brand. “We have a number of top-selling products and categories based on the region we sell them in,” Chris Ritchie, a PR and communications manager for Thule, told Umgås. “Thule products are offered in 140 countries, so there are regions where our bike carriers are the best-selling where cycling is a major recreational activity, and other regions where our child bike seats are the most popular where consumers [are] frequent[ly] commuting with their children.”
Thule is a global brand that sells products primarily to help people transport outdoor equipment on their vehicles. That includes multiple styles of bike racks and roof racks for various vehicles, including vans and trucks. Thule also sells cargo boxes and baskets. It offers winter and water sports racks and boxes for sports such as ski, snowboarding, kayaking, canoeing, surfboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing. It sells rooftop tents and accessories, along with van accessories like awnings, storage containers, and ladders. With so many products created for so many vehicle models, Thule provides a helpful Fit My Car feature to recommend the best products for your vehicle and needs.
The brand also makes products that don’t attach to vehicles. That includes multisport and bike trailers and child bike seats. It also sells strollers and child carrier backpacks. There are luggage and duffel bags, hydration packs, laptop or camera backpacks, and packs for travel, hiking, or skiing for carrying belongings. And through Case Logic, the Thule Group sells laptop bags, tablet and laptop sleeves, tablet cases, camera bags, and accessory cases.