Well here's some interesting Winchester news


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hksw
August 15, 2006, 09:21 PM
Well, not all that surprising but still interesting.

http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147580

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Werewolf
August 15, 2006, 09:35 PM
Not that great of news.

Browning makes pretty good shotguns but my personal experience with other makes of theirs has not been good. I even talked to the head of Browning QA once complaining about a manual where the parts list didn't match what was in the gun. His response - "oh we changed that part over 7 years ago - guess we need to fix that". As far as I know the problem with the manual still hasn't been resolved.

I was personally rooting for Howa or some other Japanese company to pick up the license.

Browning? Nope - not good news at all.

Car Knocker
August 15, 2006, 09:40 PM
Browning makes pretty good shotguns

Browning doesn't make ANY guns nor does it own a factory to make guns. They just import them, for the most part from Japan.

Chawbaccer
August 15, 2006, 09:58 PM
US Repeating Arms(Winchester) and Browning are both owned by FN Herstel so this realy isn't any different than it was except the closing of the New Haven plant.

Rembrandt
August 15, 2006, 10:04 PM
I'm confused.....is this a corporate two step?

Winchester, Browning, and FN is owned by the same company....Giat (right?)

The licenseing agreement that is due to expire with Olin was with Giat? or their Winchester subdivision (USRAC)?

So now Browning which is owned by Giat will make Winchesters which is also owned by Giat?....or is this just a renewal of Olin's licensing agreement with the Browning sub-division?

mnrivrat
August 15, 2006, 10:31 PM
US Repeating Arms(Winchester) and Browning are both owned by FN Herstel so this realy isn't any different than it was except the closing of the New Haven plant.

I'm confused.....is this a corporate two step?

Seems both of these might be correct. The last time I spoke with a Browning rep he indicated that Herstel (who owns both) has the Winchester Brand up for sale.
He also mentioned that they could not manufacture the models prior built in CT for at least 2 years without breaching labor contracts ,and since he figured another year after that to re-tool manufacturing elswhere that it would be unlikely the 3 models would return to production .

I'm far from an expert on corporate law , so not sure exactly what this means , but would not assume the quick return of manufacturing , or rule it out just yet either.

hpg
August 15, 2006, 10:33 PM
Browning made Remington's SP10 shotguns a few years back. I don't know if they still do or not. Not too suprising, I figured someone would pick up the Winchester name. hpg

ScottsGT
August 15, 2006, 10:54 PM
Well if it is FN, they might move the production to Columbia SC where they are making the M-16's, SAW's and the Browning High Powers. This would allow them to drop the union labor after 2 years of no production.

22-rimfire
August 15, 2006, 11:24 PM
Olin owned the Winchester name. It was licensed out to US Repeating Arms which FN ownes. The agreement either was for the purchase of the name or a lease. Either way, the New Haven plant is history.

Hawkmoon
August 15, 2006, 11:36 PM
I'm confused.....is this a corporate two step?

Winchester, Browning, and FN is owned by the same company....Giat (right?)

The licenseing agreement that is due to expire with Olin was with Giat? or their Winchester subdivision (USRAC)?
Winchester is not a company. It is a trade name, owned by Olin.

Until a couple of months ago, Winchester rifles were manufactured by US Repeating Arms Corporation (USRAC), which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of FN Herstal.

Browing is also owned by FN Herstal. Browning rifles are manufactured in Japan. This new announcement means that Winchester rifles will almost certainly now be manufactured in Japan as well.

It might also interest y'all to know that "Winchester" reloading components are also not manufactured by "Winchester." Following a link in the new issue of Guns & Ammo magazine, I just went to a "Winchester" site to order a copy of the new "Winchester" reloading data book. Guess who sent me a confirmation of my order?

Hodgdon Powder Company.

Face it, people. There's no such thing as "Winchester" any more, and hasn't been for a number of years. Olin is just pimping the name. Been to a Wal-Mart recently? Take a wander through the sporting goods aisles. You'll see a rack of fixed and folding blade knives bearing the Winchester name and trademark. Flip over the blister pack and you'll see tha they are manufactured in China and are distributed exclusively by ... Wal-Mart.

Olin has become nothing more than a corporate whore.

cbsbyte
August 16, 2006, 01:14 AM
FYI, Browning shotguns are made in Belgium and assembled in Portugal. I also believe Giat no longer owns FN Herstal.

As Hawkmoon has said Winchester is only a name, not a real company.

Jim Watson
August 16, 2006, 01:30 AM
Winchester brand powder is made by St Marks Powder Co., once an Olin subsidiary like the rest of Winchester of the day, now owned by General Dynamics.
Hodgdon has the distributorship, not the manufacture. Same with IMR.

Father Knows Best
August 16, 2006, 10:18 AM
Hawkmoon and Jim Watson got it right. Olin Corp. has owned the Winchester brand name for a long time. Olin licenses that name to other companies to make "Winchester" brand products of various types. You can buy Winchester t-shirts (I have several), Winchester brand knives, Winchester brand home furnishings and decorations, Winchester ammo and reloading components, and of course Winchester firearms, and probably lots of other things. They are all manufactured by different companies, under license from Olin.

USRAC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FNH, has been making "Winchester" brand firearms under license for 25 years. Other FNH subs have also made them at various times. It's been possible to buy "Winchester" model 1892's, model 1886's, model 1895's, High Walls, etc., for quite a while now. They all bear the Winchester name, but they've been made in Japan (generally by Miroku), and I believe distributed by Browning (another FNH sub, of course).

It sounds like all this agreement does is shift the actual manufacture of several models (70, 94, ?) from the USRAC New Haven plant to Miroku, which is something I predicted would happen back when the news first broke about the New Haven plant closing. Winchester has been nothing but a brand name for decades now. It's a valuable brand name, though, and it was inevitable that it would be licensed to someone to continue making those models.

The good news is that Miroku is generally recognized as making very high quality firearms -- better than most of what came out of USRAC, anyway.

roscoe
August 16, 2006, 04:43 PM
Hopefully this will bump the prices on used Winchesters back down to reasonable numbers.

denfoote
August 16, 2006, 05:02 PM
Hawkmoon and Jim Watson got it right. Olin Corp. has owned the Winchester brand name for a long time. Olin licenses that name to other companies to make "Winchester" brand products of various types.


So.
Who exactly makes the Winchester ammo that I pump through my Glock every weekend??

Father Knows Best
August 16, 2006, 05:18 PM
Who exactly makes the Winchester ammo that I pump through my Glock every weekend??

I know that Olin Corp., which owns the Winchester brand, makes Winchester brand ammunition. Olin licenses the name to lots of other companies, however, and there may well be other companies that are also producing Winchester brand ammunition under license from Olin. For example, you may know that "Wolf" brand ammunition does not come from a "Wolf" company, or even from one company! The "Wolf" brand name is attached to ammunition manufactured by many different companies in several different countries. Winchester ammunition may be the same. All I know for sure is that Olin Corp. makes at least some of the ammunition bearing the Winchester brand.

If you want to know more about the Winchester brand name and licensing, Olin has an interesting webpage on licensing opportunities for the Winchester brand: http://www.winchester.com/companyinfo/licensee/howto.aspx

For another example of Olin's strategy, check out this article:
Winchester Ammunition stopped making guns in 1981, long before Congress and plaintiffs' lawyers started shooting blanks at the industry. Winchester, afraid there wasn't much future in bullets, decided to leverage its name and image instead. Starting in 1993, the company began putting its name on knives, pepper spray and dog beds -- any product that could benefit from Winchester's logo.

Winchester did not embark on this crusade by itself. The company hired Leveraged Marketing Corporation of America (LMCA), a New York-based firm that helps companies "extend" their brands. Brand extension is the practice of licensing a brand into a related market, as a way for the licensor to collect revenue and gain recognition and for the licensee to gain credibility. For example, Godiva and Starbucks don't actually make their own ice creams -- Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc., does under license. But bullets and coffee beans present two different challenges. "We wanted [Winchester] to become more than a gun and ammunition company, to grow into new industries not affected by antigun legislation in a way that nourished the brand," says Allan Feldman, president of LMCA.

Winchester has a famous name, a well-known trademark -- a galloping horse and rider -- and a loyal clientele. The Winchester moniker already suggests such concepts as hunting and outdoor activity. And the marketing team saw an opportunity to extend the brand into the security and self-defense markets. The company sold ammunition to police departments, so why not sell them related safety gear? The challenge for Winchester and LMCA was to find companies in these markets that wanted to align with an ammunition company.

In its 10-year life, the campaign has certainly paid dividends. Today, Professional Safety Inc., makes Winchester police batons and shoe leather dye; Gerber Legendary Blades sells Winchester knives and tools; Clear Creek Company sells Winchester dog beds and rifle slings. There is a Winchester-brand safe and even Winchester-sponsored self-defense training program for police departments.

Most licensees team up with Winchester for three to five years, and agree to give the company anywhere from 5 to 15 percent in royalties. Winchester can terminate licensing contracts if a licensee does not meet minimum sales and quality requirements.

Vicki Boeker, Winchester's licensing manager, negotiates the deals, and Susan Fishbein, an in-house lawyer at Olin Corp., reviews the contracts. If complicated issues come up, they turn to Wiggin & Dana of New Haven, Conn.

The brand extension program keeps extending. Look for a Winchester men's fragrance to hit stores soon. General Motors Corp. is testing a Winchester options package for the Chevy Suburban. The vehicle is fire-truck red, with a horse and rider on the rear, metal work reminiscent of firearm engraving inside, and a built-in gun case for hunting.

In 2002, Winchester had sales exceeding $280 million. Although Winchester's profit figures are not publicly available, company officials say that for every $2 in ammunition earnings, licensing provides about $1. The future growth of the company turns largely on its branding campaign. "Licensing is probably the most important asset the company has," Boeker says.

In Europe, Winchester has pushed its brand image even further. It launched a designer-jean line in France and a line of sunglasses in Spain. In other parts of Europe there are Winchester furs, watches and women's purses. "In Europe, people see Winchester not as an ammunition brand, but as a Western brand," says Joe McGraw, Winchester's business and product development director.
Source: http://www.wiggin.com/spotlight/news_sample.asp?ID=1417184292003

The Drew
August 16, 2006, 05:35 PM
The reality is that for Olin, the corporate whoring is an awesome deal for them, they get to concentrate on the ammunition business and pumping out good reasonably priced product there while letting other companies build and market other stuff under their trade name.

Seems like a better corporate strategy than actually producing all those crappy products and living and dying by thier success...

Father Knows Best
August 16, 2006, 05:44 PM
Seems like a better corporate strategy than actually producing all those crappy products and living and dying by thier success...

Yup. Licensing is one of the few businesses where your gross margins are 100%. You have no real costs, and very little risk. It's also why you can't rely on brand names as indicators of quality. Licensors are supposed to insist on quality standards for products bearing their brands, but the reality is that they often have no control over quality and don't really care.

Nathanael_Greene
August 16, 2006, 05:46 PM
Winchester Whiskey: Get loaded a whole new way!

Winchester Real Estate: How the West Was Sold

Winchester Casino: Every kind of roulette except Russian!

Winchester Furniture: More than just gun stocks

Winchester Consulting: We're right on target every time!

Winchester Condoms: (...Oh, that's just too easy.)

mnrivrat
August 16, 2006, 06:03 PM
Wouldn't be the first time, but I am confused a bit ! :confused:

US Repeating Arms(Winchester) and Browning are both owned by FN Herstel

That is my understanding also - as far as I knew Olin sold the Winchester brand to USRA , which sold it to the Herstel group . The Herstel group was loosing a couple million a year on the products comming out of the CT plant and therfore shut it down and put the Winchester name back up for sale. Since the Herstel group also owns Browning, this appears to me to be an internal corporate card trick and doesn't necessarily bring back any production of the 3 models built in CT.

So what did I miss ? Since when did Olin get the Winchester firearms name returned to them from Herstel ?

The Drew
August 16, 2006, 06:22 PM
I believe that Olin leases the winchester name for firearms to FN as they do for so many other products that they don't make or market. Olin keeps the name because it is valuable and because it is the name they use to market their ammo with (one of their only real products). It would be ultimately stupid for Olin to sell outright the Winchester name... Since it is so valuable.

mnrivrat
August 16, 2006, 06:38 PM
I believe that Olin leases the winchester name for firearms to FN

That is a bit different than I understood it but sounds correct based on the original posted info.

Since the Herstel group ,who owns Browning (or the manufacturiong rights to Browning?) ,also was manufacturing Winchesters in CT ( I was told by the Browning rep that Herstel also owned Winchester - apparently he was confused as it appears they simply leased the rights to the name for manufacturing products) , it appears that the Herstel group has simply found a way via corp law to shift the manufacture over into the Browning division and get around the labor contracts of the previous Winchester manufacturing division ? (and probably the pension contracts as well) , or something akin to that. A corporate card shuffle of some nature anyway ,the way it seems.

Hawkmoon
August 16, 2006, 08:08 PM
Who exactly makes the Winchester ammo that I pump through my Glock every weekend??
Sellier & Bellot

Hawkmoon
August 16, 2006, 08:19 PM
That is my understanding also - as far as I knew Olin sold the Winchester brand to USRA , which sold it to the Herstel group
Olin never sold the Winchester name to USRAC. They rented the right to put the Winchester name on rifles to USRAC, after Olin itself shut down the New Haven factory and pulled out. USRAC was a company created entirely out of thin air, with venture capital, specifically to take over the old Winchester gun factory and manufacture Winchester rifles.

However, although the city gave them HUGE tax breaks, they still couldn't turn a profit, and about ten years ago (???) USRAC was sold to FN Herstal ... bringing with it the license to use the Winchester name. FNH did not spend much on modernizing the plant, though, and the inefficiencies made it impossible for them to produce quality rifles at affordable prices. One example is the .22LR semi-auto carbine, the Model 63. The last time it was in Winchester's catalog, it had a list price of around $800. Then it disappeared. Taurus bought the rights to the design (but not the Winchester name) and now sells an improved version of the same rifle for around $300.

Olin has never relinquished ownership of the name since they acquired it. They just pimp it out.

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