Dunlop ownership and quality

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by BMG, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. BMG

    BMG Rookie

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    I have heard during the past year or two from several tennis people that Dunlop Tennis was purchased by a "churn em' and burn em'" entreprenuer in the UK. This is the same guy that buys brand name sporting good companies...lays off many employees (R&D, product development, design, etc,) and then simply cheaply produces a product for mass market consumption with little left for quality control or the production of high quality products and bases his projected sales on the reputation of the brand. I am posting this not as any knock on Dunlop (because I do not know the answer to the rumor) but simply as a question regarding this company's position in the market. Any "insider" info regarding this question?
     
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  2. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    quality of dunlop frames is no different than wilson or head.

    i've hit with the m-fil 200/300 and the aerogel 200/300 and hey are pretty good frames for the price.
     
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  3. nCode747

    nCode747 Semi-Pro

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    ive hit with aerogel 100 its good quality
     
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  4. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    I have not hit with one, but "fit & finish" looks very good. I've looked at them in the pro shop.
     
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  5. logansc

    logansc Professional

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    I have hit with 5 or six different Dunlop model racquets and I've found them all to be high quality frames and very playable. (MF 200+, MF 300, HM 400, AG 100, AG 200 and AG 300.)
     
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  6. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Actually, the quality of Dunlop frames is very different from that of Wilson or Head - it's miles BETTER!

    I've always thought Dunlop had the highest quality frames, especially their fit and finish, of any racquet manufacturer for many decades and that remains the same today. They just look so much better made and look more expensive even though they are some of the least expensive racquets on the market. You can tell that they put more of their money into the frames rather than into marketing. Even their racquet covers are of the highest quality. Does anyone have a yellow/black HM200G cover? That thing is made of thick material and is such good quality that they could sell those covers for like $25, not the flimy cheap covers that you get with most other racquets. I was shocked when I bought a new HM200G a few years ago for only $70 and it came with a cover that looked to be worth almost half that much!

    A few years ago, they gave away a Citizen watch that was worth like $100 if you bought any Dunlop racquet, so you could have bought a $100 Dunlop racquet and got a free $100 watch! I don't know how they made any money.
     
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  7. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    yes Citizen watches are nice, i have had mine for over 5yrs and its stll workin and lookin like its brand new
     
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  8. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    In 2004 Sports Direct acquired the Dunlop licensing rights for the most part (some exemptions from a few countries including the US btw). The do business with Sports Authority and Wal-Mart. My guess is that they won't do away with the higher end product line as long as sales are strong (remember Dunlop is big in Golf and other racquet sports also) but may start making in roads in getting low cost Dunlop branded products onto store shelf ala Wilson and Head.
     
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  9. BMG

    BMG Rookie

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    Thanks for the feedback. It seems as though the company is trying to make inroads into the mass market entry level but will try to continue it's production of higher end frames also. I have been intrigued by the AG 200 as it seems to get good reviews in general. Their prices have always been lower than Prince/Head/Wilson and I hope that they stay with their tour level frames. Good to hear that some of you have been really satisfied with the build quality since the purchase by Sports Direct.
     
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  10. mdjenders

    mdjenders Professional

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    I know some were really worried/angry that the aerogels weren't designed in Britain like the older Dunlops, but they are really a nice range of frames. The paint jobs are very classy looking, and quality is pretty comparable or better than other brands (other than the occasional buttcap issue). I cant wait until my 100 arrives.
     
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  11. PROTENNIS63

    PROTENNIS63 Hall of Fame

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    I have always felt that Dunlop have great quality.
     
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  12. smirker

    smirker Hall of Fame

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    I live in the UK and can confirm that Sports Direct did buy up the Dunlop name and now only sell cheap Dunlop frames. Before this happened they sold off all the m-fil's and 300g's they had left at silly prices which was nice but you can no longer get a good racket in there. Shame as I use the m-fil 300 and don't know what I'll do when they wear out.

    You can still get the Aerogels over here (not the 100 though) so that must be a different part of the company. They don't seem to be any cheaper though. Most rackets are $300 over here. Quality is in general good although the paint on my m-fils does chip very easily.
     
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  13. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    http://www.sports-direct-international.com/main.asp?pid=19
    In the United States, the Dunlop brand is owned and controlled by DNA (Housemarks) Limited, a joint venture vehicle currently owned by the Dunlop Group Holdings Limited (Sports Direct International) and SRI USA, Inc. The Directors regard the United States as a potential source of significant sales, as Dunlop remains an under-developed brand in the US sports retail market.
     
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  14. Courtcheck

    Courtcheck New User

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    I think the major cuts are in promotion and advertising,

    A major sporting goods manufacturer not having a functional website to support their product line is laughable!
     
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  15. mhstennis100

    mhstennis100 Semi-Pro

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    Own 3 agel 200s, very good quality. I've had no trouble with them in the year that I've owned them.
     
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  16. LES

    LES Semi-Pro

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    I own 2 Mfil 200's and I think the quality is ok, nothing great. I personally think Head or Wilson is better.

    I would use Head but haven't gotten around to demoing the microgel series. Used to use Head LM Prestige and it was a little too flexy so i'm looking for something similar but stiffer.

    Anyways got these puppies for $60 brand new on sale. Hated them at first but slapped some lead on them and theyre not bad. Paint chipped very easily though. Grip & strings suck that came with the racquet sucked.

    They were demo racquets with the yellow bumper. Somehow I got tiny piece of lead stuck inside the frame and I had to remove the bumper strip to get it out. Putting on a new bumper strip was a b*tch! Butt cap is loose and squeaky all the time. I think the asymmetrical paint scheme on my Mfil is ugly as heck, but I do like the blue & white color.

    The racquet actually plays great once you mod it to death.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
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  17. jonolau

    jonolau Legend

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    The last range of Dunlop racquets that were designed by Dunlop UK as a group was the M-Fil range.

    The current range of Aerogel racquets were actually designed and developed by SRI Sports Japan. SRI is Sumitomo Rubber Industries which invested in Dunlop Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of the UK company, Dunlop Rubber.
     
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  18. 1012007

    1012007 Hall of Fame

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    Jono have you got my email??
     
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  19. jonolau

    jonolau Legend

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    Sorry, just saw it, will reply soon.
     
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  20. 1012007

    1012007 Hall of Fame

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    Hi thanks a lot, i just replied!!
     
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  21. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    bump

    I still haven't figured out who owns what and who makes what in the confusing world of Dunlop.

    So far it seems to me that the Dunlop-branded sporting goods, more specifically the high-end tennis rackets and balls are researched and manufactured by the Japanese company Sumitomo, even though they are marketed by the brand name owner Sports Direct plc... which somehow doesn't own the brand name in Asia, where Sumitomo owns it, together with all other Dunlop products, including the famous Dunlop car tyres... which in turn are owned by Goodyear in North America... which in turn doesn't own Dunlop-sports of North America, which is a joint venture between Sumitomo and SportsDirect
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
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  22. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I will try to help you. Dunlop Tyres way back in 1996 sold off the Dunlop Sport division (along with Slazenger) to the Management Team of Dunlop Sports (Tennis, Squash, Golf and such) and backed by CINVen (a private equity firm). In 2004 Dunlop Sport (DunlopSlazenger Group) was sold to Sports Direct International. The racquets were designed until the Sports Direct purchase in England by our very own poster on TW Paul and his team from Vantage Tennis. Accordingly Sports Direct Internatioanl has outscorced design to a outside company.

    Sports Direct owns the world wide rights to Dunlop except in Australia, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan. In the USA Dunlop Sport is owned buy Sports Direct and SRI USA in a joint venture.

    In Australia and New Zealand Dunlop Sport is currently owned by Pacific Brands. In 1899 Dunlop Tyre sold off it's Austalian Division. Since then, Dunlop Australia has not been connected with the British company, except for a 25% share in Dunlop Australia owned by the British company from 1927 to 1984. As a result, the rights to the Dunlop brands in Australia and New Zealand have been under different ownership from those in the rest of the world. You can look up who owns Dunlop tyre in Australia.

    While in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan Dunlop Sport is owned by SRI Sports Limited a subsidiary of Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Sumitomo Rubber in 1909 made an investment in Dunlop Japan, the newly formed Japanese subsidiary of the British company Dunlop Rubber. In 1963 the Sumitomo Group acquired control of Dunlop Japan and renamed it Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. That is why Dunlop Tennis Japan always had their own line of different racquets including the Racquets that were designed in England (and Made in England before outsourcing).

    So I hope I have explained so you now understand. You had sell offs of different divisions at different time to different entities. But for the most part Dunlop Sport is owned by Sports Direct International except in a few markets. Sports Direct is the ones that are engaged in the Design of racquets and Balls except in Japan where SRI Sports has their own design for products that are for the Japanese market.

    I have found the Dunlop Products under Sports Direct International ownership to be of very high quality and equal quality to the two previous owners of Dunlop Sports.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
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  23. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    I have this image of an OEM factory where out of the exact same conveyer-belt, a bunch of white gloved Chinese factory workers are flipping out Dunlops, Babolats, Wilsons, Princes and Heads and putting them in their separate boxes :mrgreen:
     
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  24. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    To where? The Japansese company or somewhere else?

    That's the £64k question.
     
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  25. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    That's the 64k question?? What does it matter?
     
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  26. jerriy

    jerriy Hall of Fame

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    I don't know about you ollinger, but I'm the kind of guy who likes to know where stuff I'm interested in actually (literally) comes from.
     
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  27. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    It is my understanding that all of the Molds that are currently in production were originally designed and developed in England by Paul and the R&D Team before the Sports Direct purchase of Dunlop. It is also my understanding that it is the Dunlop in England that oversees the OEM in China for the Production and development of the racquets that are available internationally like the Aerogel 4D line. It is not Sumitomo.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
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  28. DavidGarcia

    DavidGarcia Hall of Fame

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    One question here about the design of the Dunlop models.

    The M-fil models have the "designed in Britain" sticker on it but the Aerogel models dont.

    Does that mean that the M-fil sticks were the last ones designed in England by Dunlop?
     
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