This year marks 35 years since Göran Fahlén founded our company in his hometown Nyland. The company, by then named Fahléns Mekaniska Verkstad, Famek, conducted several parallel activities in welding, sheet metal, electronics and hydraulics manufacturing components for various companies in northern Sweden.
Entering 2020, we have customers all over the world and today we are fully focused on our proud invention: STRINGO.
But let's take it from the beginning.
The first prototype for what would become Stringo was developed back in the mid 80’ies. At Famek we had noticed how difficult it was to move the vehicles at the nearby car showroom. Göran Fahlén liked the idea of building a machine that could move vehicles.
“The first prototype wasn’t very advanced, it had only one wheel and could only be turned the same direction as the vehicle”, says Göran Fahlén, laughing at the memory.
However, the invention garnered attention and Göran Fahlén received that year’s inventors’ award, the SKAPA Award. He continued the development of the product. Now the machine could turn vehicles by grabbing both front wheels and with that the maneuverability improved drastically; vehicles could be turned 360 degrees while their rear wheels stayed in the same place. The product was named Stringo, from the Latin Stringere, which means press, pushor squeeze.
Despite the interest for the product, both nationally and internationally, it was difficult to sell the first Stringo. It came to a point where Göran Fahlén considered closing down the production.
“I received a phone call from a man who had read about us in a newspaper in Germany. He had a company in Sweden, but with business in Germany. After visiting us, he asked whether he could try to sell Stringo in Germany”, says Göran Fahlén.
This was in 1991, and Göran decided to continue investing in Stringo for another year. We already held the Swedish patent for the machine and were now granted the European patent.
One day Göran received another call from the businessman, who told him that he had sold one Stringo to Audi’s car factory and two to BMW.
“I was overjoyed! We understood now that we could find our major customers in the automotive industry. We should concentrate on the car manufacturers and not the car dealerships in the first place. We started focusing on participating in fairs for car manufacturers and marketing ourselves in that segment.”
And the rest is history. Audi and BMW became important reference customers for us in 1992. Today we have the world’s biggest car manufacturers, many in the premium segment, in our customer stock.
As the customers’ requirements are changing, new Stringo models have been developed as we ensure full customization for our vehicles and keeping up with progress within the automotive industry.
“Being customer focused offering full customization is the key to our success. No one can compete with us in that area”, says Göran Fahlén, who is no longer active within in the everyday business, but remains in the owner family.
Nina Thelin, daughter of Göran, has been CEO since 2015, and the company is growing steadily. Our investment in subsidiaries has continued and intensified in recent years. In addition to the subsidiary in the USA which we have had for many years, we have opened new subsidiaries in China and Japan.
“It has become more and more important for us to show our customers who we are, what we stand for, and what separates us from our competitors. We need to be present locally. Our distributors and service partners are extremely important, but nevertheless it is crucial that we meet our end users around the world. I believe in the face-to-face meetings, so yes, I spend quite a lot of my time traveling” says Nina Thelin.
She predicts that Stringo will have established itself to a greater extent in Asia and South America in five to ten years.
“We want to be close to the industry and we see a lot of technical progress in these areas. The automotive industry is changing rapidly, and our ambition is to lead Stringo in tune with the market”, says Nina.
As we are proud of telling you our story, we have created a brand new Stringo History site on our website. Here you can keep up with our story and we look forward to adding new milestones.