Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Press Releases

Yakima Acquires Hubco Automotive Ltd

Yakima, leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle cargo management equipment, acquires Hubco Automotive Ltd, leading developer of automotive carrying systems, boosting domestic and International product offering.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

BEAVERTON, Ore. (December 14, 2010) — Yakima (, a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle cargo management solutions, today announced its acquisition of Hubco Automotive Ltd., Australasia’s leading brand of rooftop car racks, based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Formerly owned by phil&teds, Hubco designs and manufacturers Whispbarâ„¢ ( the world’s quietest vehicle rack and Prorack (P-Bar, T-Bar and X-Bar). All Whispbar and Prorack products use the Smartfootâ„¢ system that installs and transfers simply to virtually any vehicle, making it easy and inexpensive to fit most vehicles. Hubco will continue to operate independently with its existing management team remaining in place. The transaction is effective immediately and the terms of the deal are private.

With this acquisition, Yakima becomes the owner of the fastest growing brand in Australia and New Zealand. Yakima will sell the premium Whispbar and Prorack products in the USA and internationally.

“This acquisition enables Yakima to grow domestically and internationally by providing consumers around the globe with a significantly larger choice of brands and products,” said Jerry Heinlen, CEO at Yakima.

Hubco is an excellent fit with Yakima in all respects. Its well-designed products, global footprint, and excellent people match up nicely with our current product portfolio, premium brand positioning, culture, and long-range strategic goals,” Heinlen continued.

“In North America, Yakima will expand its premium and price point offerings with Whispbar and Prorack,” said Ron Ten Berge, Yakima’s vice president of sales and marketing. “As a result, we look forward to providing our customers with new products and tools to help them grow their sales and profits, as we add new consumers to the Yakima family. Outside North America, both Yakima and Hubco have recently expanded distribution in select markets. Now, we will combine the strengths of Yakima and Hubco to increase cargo management equipment offerings for both retailers and consumers around the world,”
Ten Berge continued.

Both Whispbar and Prorack brands utilize the world’s first universal tower and Smartfoot technology, enabling easy, cost-effective vehicle-to-vehicle rack transfers for consumers, while vastly reducing retailer inventory requirements.

In addition to being the world’s quietest vehicle rack, Whispbar is also the most fuel- efficient vehicle rack on the market today. Developed through ten years of research, including extensive wind tunnel testing at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Whispbar rack systems use patented Whispbar technology to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. Whispbar product offerings also include gear mounts for carrying a wide range of boat, bike, cargo and snow gear equipment. Whispbar won the 2009 product design award in Germany in the transportation category from the International Forum Design. ( iF Award.)

The Prorack brand offering, consisting of both recreational and trade products have robust dependability, fit most vehicles, and accommodate 165 lbs. (75 kg) of gear, with locks standard. “Prorack is all about value and options, important to consumers in today’s economy that are still keeping an eye on their purchases,” noted Ten Berge.

Prorack products share the same accessories and gear mounts as the Whispbar brand, but also include a selection of rack products designed for commercial tradesmen. This heavy duty line is popular with telecommunications companies, power authorities and many other fleet operators, particularly those with ladders in constant use. Accessories include: step and extension ladder rails; tent frame holders; quick release straps; aerial and spot light holders; beacon plate brackets and conduit clamps.

“This partnership with Yakima gives us the bandwidth we need to expand the reach of Whispbar,” said the spokesperson from Hubco. “We share a similar approach to business. Our products connect people with the great outdoors and enable them to experience a sense of freedom. This philosophy, combined with the strong fit of our collective product lines, serves as a platform for growing both brands globally and, ultimately, providing enhanced choices for the consumer.”

About Hubco: Founded in 1975 by a former Air New Zealand and Rolls Royce aircraft engineer Hubco began as a sports equipment manufacturer. The move to roof racks came in 1980 with the first system developed for the Mitsubishi Colt. After thirty-plus years in the industry, the company has grown from a family business to a ‘state of the art’ manufacturer supplying original equipment manufacturers and retail markets in Australasia, the United States and Europe.

About Yakima: Yakima is a world leader in the design and manufacture of cargo management equipment solutions for outdoor enthusiasts. Yakima’s products include: vehicle racks for bikes, boats, ski equipment and gear, a line of cargo boxes and bags for a variety of needs, as well as high performance multi-sport trailers. Yakima Products is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon. For more information, visit