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A high profile New Zealand outdoor power equipment and lifestyle products brand has cracked the United States market in a period of unprecedented global growth.
Masport has increased its New Zealand and Australia-based Sales, Engineering & Administrative staff numbers by almost 50% to more than 90 in the last five years to cope with growing overseas demand for high-end lawnmowers.
Entering the US market has been no mean feat for the century-old business but it should be a lucrative one - the US comprises 60 per cent of the world's outdoor power equipment market.
Masport sold over a thousand walk-behind lawnmowers, in its first season trading in the US and 150,000 lawnmowers in 42 countries throughout the world in the last financial year.
General manager Steve Hughes is expecting sales to jump by a further 30,000 mowers in the next four years thanks to demand generated partly by being recognised as a quality and reliable New Zealand brand.
He visited the US recently to assess the company's entry in a market where three manufacturers alone each produce more than a million mowers a year.
"We've found a niche in America by designing and engineering a range of high-end lawnmowers specifically for their market conditions. We're also doing tremendously well in Australia where we've trebled sales in the last five years," he says.
"Being designed and engineered in New Zealand is one factor allowing us to enjoy continued growth. Our two distributors in the US tell us being a Kiwi brand sets us apart," says Hughes.
Masport's agility in meeting the specific demands of unique markets in the US, Europe and Australasia has also given the company a leading edge.
"Americans cut their grass longer, Australasians shorter and the Europeans are somewhere in the middle. Each market also has a completely different set of safety standards. This means we've had to create three entirely different product ranges and over 200 different models of machines, to sell into world market" Steve said.
Masport predominantly services high-end US customers wanting "beautifully landscaped lawns", says Hughes.
"We spent years planning how we would enter the US because we like to take a long-term approach and the lawnmower market is extremely competitive globally, especially because of the growing emergence of the low wage economy countries influence. Masport competes on quality."
The company's range of cylinder mowers and tillers is also being sold in the US on a smaller scale.
Masport's commitment to research and development and growing engineering division forms a backbone of the company, says Hughes.
Masport's Mt Wellington headquarters employs 70 staff with more than 20 staff working in Australia.
The company, started as a family-owned business in 1900s Auckland, is a household named in New Zealand.
After establishing a solid base in the farming industry the company produced its first hand mowers in 1930 and New Zealand's first petrol powered lawnmower in 1938.
Since then the Masport brand has become a symbol for quality, reliable outdoor power equipment and lifestyle products for generations of New Zealanders, says Hughes.
"In recent years we have repositioned the company to better service New Zealanders and now the world."
For more information about Masport visit www.masport.co.nz