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Fender, Taylor Partner in Europe

Taylor Guitars and Fender Musical Instruments announced a strategic relationship on Jan. 15 where they will work together to raise Taylor’s brand awareness in Europe. Fender Europe’s new Taylor Division will serve as the exclusive distributor for Taylor in Europe, Africa and most of the Middle East, and is expected to commence distribution on July 1.

“The world has become more and more flat, with cultural, currency and trade barriers becoming less and less,” said Kurt Listug, co-founder and CEO of Taylor Guitars. “With the advent of the European Union, the adoption of a common currency and the free movement of goods across borders, a huge opportunity has been created to do more commerce at a higher level. Fender has proven the concept of an American guitar and amp company successfully exporting their business model to Europe, and achieving much higher sales and brand awareness as a result.”

According to Listug, he approached Fender with the idea of distributing Taylor in Europe after learning about Fender’s success with its overseas sales model. “Bill [Mendello, Fender CEO] shared his experiences in creating Fender Europe with me a few years ago and invited me to see their European operations first hand. I spent a week visiting their warehouse, sales offices and even their Düsseldorf custom shop showroom. I was blown away by their incredible success in Europe and the huge potential of their sales model for Taylor.”

“We are extremely pleased to be working closely with Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, two admired industry leaders who have built Taylor into a premier guitar brand,” said Bill Mendello, chairman and CEO of Fender Musical Instruments. “By providing our expertise in sales, marketing, warehousing and logistics, we look forward to enhancing their success throughout the European market.”

Taylor had evaluated creating its own European distribution arm instead of partnering with Fender. According to Listug, it was too expensive and required expertise in those markets. “Having the opportunity to work with Fender, leveraging their resources and experience into much higher European sales for Taylor, is the best decision,” he said.;