The Thule brand was established in Sweden in 1942. Thule is a premium brand used globally for a wide assortment of products with a focus on solving the problem of how to bring equipment with you when using a car (roof racks, bike and water sport carriers, roof boxes). There are also other product areas such as accessories for recreational vehicles, trailers for active life (horses, boats, etc), snow chains and luggage.
In 1942, Thule was founded by the Thulin family, when Erik Thulin, a true lover of the outdoors, put the Thule name on a Pike Trap that he designed and began selling to the fisherman of Scandinavia. It wasn’t long before he added other practical things to his company’s portfolio. Business boomed, gaining profitably year after year.
By the 1960s, the company began to concentrate its business on car-related products, and before long the first roof rack was born. New product categories were added in the ‚70s and new markets were opened worldwide (e.g. US, Japan).
The Thulin family sold Thule to the publicly listed company Eldon in 1979. It continued to grow both organically and through acquisitions (trailers and rooftop box manufacturing), and Thule has been in growth mode ever since. New markets have been opened, product categories have been launched and several companies have joined.
In 2004, the Thule Group acquired Italian snow chain manufacturer König. An ensuing close collaboration resulted in a series of Thule branded snow chains for passenger cars. A year later, in 2005, RV Accessories company Omnistor was added to the Thule Group portfolio and integrated with Thule.
By acquiring towing systems company Brink in 2006, Thule Group added yet another product range to its portfolio. This integration has resulted in a series of towbars and bike carrier solutions.
Since 2007, Case Logic has been part of Thule Group. As a consequence of the collaboration between Thule and business area Carry Solutions, a range of Thule branded luggage, bags and cases was launched in 2010.
Metallfabriken Thule founded
Belt buckles become a major product for Thule
First car product: headlamp grilles
First product for car roofs: ski carrier
Luxus – the first lockable ski carrier in Europe
First roof box is named TB-11 (accessory 11)
1980 - 81
Expansion into U.S. market
Launch of second roof box, Thule Combibox 250 – the world's first blow-moulded roof box
German roof box manufacturer Jetbag acquired – first step towards becoming the world's biggest manufacturer of roof boxes
Launch of first towbar-mounted bike carrier
Thule purchases American roof box manufacturer Karrite and becomes world's largest producer of roof boxes
Launch of Hull-a-Port kayak carrier, which becomes Thule's most sold product in the U.S.
Purchase of Sportworks (bike carriers) and König (snow chains)
2005 - 06
Thule buys Sportworks (bike carriers), Star Trailer (horse trailers), Omnistor awnings and accessories), Brink and Valley (towbars), Sportrack (racks) and Case Logic (bags and storage)
First concept store opens in Berlin
Launch of K-Summit, the World's easiest to fit snow chain
2009 – New global website launched
New consumer-oriented strategy, new global store concept
Line of Thule Crossover bags introduced
Thule Australia move into their new office/warehouse in Artarmon, complete with a very large showroom/training room which showcase all of the Thule products