It seems like every year there’s some sort of buzz about Speedway. Is there something in the water?
A popular American brand with a cult-like following, Speedway is most famous for its quirky slogan, “Real Men Wear Blue,” and its unusual blue and yellow packaging. But is the racing-inspired manufacturer really as cool as it claims to be?
The company was founded in 1914 and is currently valued at around $4 billion. However, in 2019, it filed for bankruptcy and is now worth less than $2 billion.
With its quirky brand image and loyal following, it’s no wonder that Speedway has been able to stay relevant for more than seven decades. However, as the car market becomes increasingly flooded with manufacturers, will its charm and uniqueness stand out in a sea of sameness?
A Brand With A Tricky History
With its roots in Pontiac, Michigan, and its early involvement in racing, the story of Speedway could be called truly American. The company was not deterred by the Great Depression and became one of the most prominent automobile manufacturers in the country.
In an effort to stay relevant during the Second World War, the company diversified its operations and began manufacturing ammunition and supplies, as well as aircraft components. After the war ended, motorcycling became all the rage and once again, Speedway thrived.
In the ensuing decades, as cars became less important to the average person, Speedway transitioned away from vehicle manufacturing and toward a more leisure-related focus. The company started producing fiber optics in the 1970s and continued to innovate throughout the 2000s, releasing an Eco-Drive flash drive in 2009 and a WiFi-enabled smartwatch in 2019.
A Product With Endless Potential
While many car brands are struggling, Speedway is actually thriving. The company recently released its 2019 Annual Report and said that it had $14.9 million in net income (up from $8.9 million in 2018) and $18.1 million in revenue (up from $13.8 million).
And it wasn’t just revenue that increased in 2019; so did sales. Thanks to higher demand for its products and bigger marketing budgets, Speedway saw its number of customers increase by 4% globally while its average order value grew by 11%.
One of the reasons why Speedway is still considered relevant today has to do with its diverse range of products. The company doesn’t just produce automobiles; it also offers an outdoor barbecue grilling series, the Foreman, and boat and yacht components for sale.
Will 2020 Be The Last Year For ‘Real Men Wear Blue’?
After years of speculation, it seems like the end is near for the quirky blue and yellow apparel and accessories brand. As the company reported in its 2019 annual report, sales decreased by 1% while operating income decreased by 11%. Furthermore, the value of the company’s inventory increased by 19% and its bonds were downgraded to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB+’.
This is the end of an era for Speedway, and it might not be the happy kind. It will be interesting to see what happens to the quirky brand in the next few years.
Why Are People Emotionally Invested In This Brand?
As we’ve established, Speedway is a well-known and well-l-earned brand. With its roots in a time when the American automobile industry was at its peak, its iconic clothing and accessories are a testament to that. But why are people so attached to the brand?
Like many other car brands, Speedway began its life as a cost-effective option for men who wanted to be different from the ordinary. In the early days, only a select few brands, including Rolls-Royce, Duesenberg, and Pierce-Arrow, were able to afford custom paint jobs and elaborate interior trimmings. So, to stand out, men had to settle for cheaper options: they could buy a cheaper car, or they could buy a brand that would stand out.
Rolls-Royce, for example, charged $25,000 for a coach paint job in 1914; by comparison, a Ford Motor Company Model T cost around the same at the time, but could be found for as low as $700.
This was the beginning of a trend. As cars became more affordable, people started associating luxury with functionality, and that’s truly what makes Speedway unique. Its products were never actually intended to be luxurious; they were about being different, and being unique
A Brand That Is Worth Learning About
If you’re looking for a unique and luxury-oriented car brand to invest in, consider Speedway. It may not be around for much longer, but at least for now, it’s still a relevant and luxury-oriented brand you should know about.