Taking design to the edge

A BUSINESS that started building go-karts for kids in 1989 has undergone enormous growth – to the point where it claims to be the world’s biggest producer of small to medium beach buggy kits.

Malaga-based The Edge Products supplies parts and do-it-yourself kits to make off-road buggies, or beach buggies.

The Edge Products managing director Tony Sanger said the company had grown steadily each year, with most of the parts and build-it-yourself machines exported.

“We distribute them to the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

Mr Sanger said the company turned over $1.5 million dollars last year and was growing at 16 to 20 per cent annually.

And while The Edge Products manufactures parts and kits for people to build their own machines, it also produces ready-to-drive vehicles.

Saudi Arabia and, more recently, Dubai have proved popular markets.

Mr Sanger said he was currently in licensing negotiations with a Dubai customer, a deal that could significantly expand The Edge Products’ operations in the region.

“We have sold about 30 XRVs to this customer. They do tours and hire out the buggy. They take a group of 12 out on the sand dunes,” he said.

“We are looking at getting royalties and they will be manufacturing, distributing and promoting them in the Middle East.

“We will be undertaking more research and development and redesign for them when it’s required.”

Mr Sanger said the Internet was the biggest sales driver for his business.

 “We got into that [the Internet] pretty early and it has really taken off.”

Mr Sanger said he developed The Edge Products after foreseeing a slump in his trained field of industrial engineering.

“Doing [industrial engineering] in Perth meant we were reliant on the economy of mine sites and I looked into something more universal,” Mr Sanger said.

And while The Edge Products was established to build go-karts for kids, the types of machines produced grew as his expertise did.  Mr Sanger now finds the bulk of his trade in the ‘big boys toys’ market.

“When I started out it was kids’ go-karts but as the market has grown I’ve gotten into bigger machines,” Mr Sanger said.

“In the small to medium range beach buggy market we are the biggest in the world.”

Mr Sanger said while the business had grown to produce predominantly adult off-road vehicles, he still had found the time to produce kids’ go-karts this Christmas.

“We make vehicles for small kids right though to adult machines. We will make about 15 to 20 go-karts for Christmas.”

Mr Sanger said while businesses were setting up to compete with The Edge products across the globe, he said his operation could stay ahead of the pack by concentrating on good design.

“More copycat businesses are starting up in the world. In the early 1990s we would have been a fairly innovative business selling parts for vehicles but now it is so easy to construct web sites and test the water,” he said.

“We’re staying ahead by having good designs.”

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