With an long and illustrious history that goes back over 110 years, the various hostettler companies have come together to form the hostettler group. Comprising 13 innovative and dynamic businesses operating within the bicycle, motorcycle and motor trades, hostettler keeps the wheels turning.
Christian Hostettler founds a motorcycle and bicycle workshop in Wolhusen, Lucerne. The bicycle is to be found everywhere as a vehicle for individual mobility, suitable for everyday use. The motorcycle, on the other hand, is seen as something new and unaffordable for the working population.
The motorcycle begins to make a name for itself, both in the countryside and in the towns. Motorcycles are a sensation, and those who own them are the centre of attention. Well-known European motorcycle brands at this time include NSU, Adler and Capriolo.
For the first time, postmen are equipped with motorcycles with sidecars. The sidecar is used as a transport unit. The motorcycles are very loud, and the motorised ‘posties’ can be heard for miles around.
Swiss people also begin to involve themselves in the development of the motorcycle. The Moto-Rève, the “elegant, reliable, and light motorcycle with freewheel clutch and two gears” is manufactured in Geneva.
The onlookers can’t believe their eyes. With the outbreak of the First World War, the number of motorcycles in Switzerland skyrockets to over 5500. In the picture, you can see the proud members of the Bern Motorcycle Club with their machines.
At the end of the First World War, the amount of traffic in the countryside, on the rails, and in the air is constantly on the rise: The first European airline comes into operation between Paris and Brussels, additional airlines quickly follow suit.
The age of the horse-drawn omnibus comes to an end in Berlin. From now on, motorised buses are utilised. These changes, including the rise of the motorcycle as a manoeuvrable and fashionable vehicle, serve to transform urban mobility in post-war Europe.
The first NSU 125Rs with 125cc engines begin to appear in Switzerland. Almost unnoticed, the age of small motors erupts in Europe, offering far-reaching chances for the Hostettler family from Central Switzerland.
46,421 motorcycles are already to be seen on Swiss roads, the number having increased ten-fold within ten years. While the up-and-coming automobile comes to be seen as the vehicle of the upper class, the motorcycle becomes the means of transport of the upper working class. Unskilled labourers and fathers with large families continue to travel by bicycle.
Fritz Hostettler opens a second motorcycle shop and relocates to Sursee. Today, his descendants acknowledge that Fritz Hostettler was one of the first people to recognise the potential of the town of Sursee and the surrounding area, and was a man who knew how to seize an opportunity.
The first purchase of a house consolidates the Sursee location: Fritz Hostettler takes over the building at number 20 Bahnhofstrasse. A constant rise in business operations can be seen in the customer accounts books. Hostettler repairs and sells bicycles and motorcycles.
Motorcycles and sidecars play a key role on many battlefields in the Second World War. The Wehrmacht uses BMW or Zündapp motorcycles, which play an influential role in armed combats in Europe, North Africa and Russia, as quick-moving combat and scouting units known as ‘Kradschützentruppe’ [motorcycle-mounted protection squads].
The four Hostettler sons work hard to bring about the marked progress in the hostettler group which continues to this day. From left: Mother Martha Hostettler with Rudolf (Ruedi) on her lap. Standing, sons Fritz and Otto, father Fritz Hostettler, and Alfred. Alfred alone will leave the company and go on to follow a successful career in banking.
After the Second World War, a motorcycle mechanic apprentice earns 50 francs per month. The best-paid motorcycle mechanic at the hostettler company receives 480 francs as his monthly salary and, with this, counts among the best-paid professionals of his time.
The film star Marcello Mastroianni sends his greetings: Young Fritz Hostettler on a classy BSA motorcycle. Motorcycle riding reaches cult status, and more and more films show heroes riding across the big screen on their machines. A new legend is born: strong men ride motorcycles.
The confidence of the new generation of Hostettlers: Otto, who would later assume responsibility for the epochal showroom in Sursee due to his keen sense for sales and marketing, with his new Volkswagen Beetle. As Europe recovers from the Second World War the streets witness the growth in popularity of cars like the VW Beetle and Opel Rekord, as well as the availability of many exciting new motorcycles.
Fritz Hostettler works for a few months at BSA in Birmingham, England, and in doing so he gets to know the English mentality surrounding motorcycles. The three letters ‘BSA’ stand for ‘Birmingham Small Arms Company’. BSA is a weapons manufacturer which was forced to diversify after the end of the Second World War, and which achieved international fame with its manufacture of notoriously loud and heavy BSA motorcycles.
The legendary Yamaha YA-1. Today a cult motorcycle, then a ground breaking new creation by music company Yamaha, until then world-famous for the manufacture of musical instruments such as pianos and harmoniums. Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. was founded in 1955 in order to direct the focus onto motorcycles, independently from Yamaha Music.
NSU – Audi’s predecessor – enjoys a lucky break with the NSU Lambretta. The scooter quickly becomes the favourite motorcycle of women. The protected legroom enables motorcycle riders to wear skirts. The scooter becomes a media star.
Father and son Fritz Hostettler found the collective partnership Fritz Hostettler & Co. Velos & Motos [Bikes & Motorbikes]. A sales company with an emphasis on the sale of replacement parts and accessories begins to grow out of the retail trading company.
291,326 motorcycles are now registered in Switzerland. The economic upswing after the Second World War reaches Switzerland, enabling many more people to afford their own motorcycle – contributing towards the growth of Fritz Hostettler & Co.
In 1966, Alfred, Fritz, Otto and Ruedi Hostettler (from left to right) found hostettler ag and, in doing so, lay the foundations for the future structure of the company. In the same year, the businessmen at Sursee take over the Swiss import of British motorcycle brand BSA. Excerpt from the Commercial Register: “A joint-stock company which has the import and sales of vehicles of all types, including their replacement parts (...) as its aim.”
The first industrial construction for hostettler ag is built in the area known today as Sursee Industrial Estate. Featuring a number of special architectural and structural elements, the innovative design of the new hostettler ag building complements the company's dynamic growth and underlines its commitment towards the efficient marketing and distribution of an increasing product portfolio.
A milestone in the history of the firm: hostettler ag takes over the general import of the Japanese brand Yamaha for Switzerland. The ability of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer to produce smaller, more fuel-efficient motorcycles as well more powerful large-capacity models convinces the wholesaler from Sursee. A long-standing cooperation is born.
Ruedi Hostettler, the biggest car aficionado among the Hostettler siblings, starts up hostettler autotechnik ag. With the development of the car accessories business, Otto Hostettler has already carried out considerable amounts of groundwork to ensure that the Bahnhofstrasse premises in Sursee were now almost ready to burst at the seams. hostettler autotechnik ag: the birth of a new, customer-oriented business idea. A replacement parts supplier appears in Sursee, capable of supplying the garage industry across Switzerland with replacement parts in a matter of hours.
For the first time, Yamaha fights its way to the top to earn the title of best-selling motorcycle brand in Switzerland. A big reason to celebrate for the Hostettler entrepreneurs, as the Swiss authorities had, for a long time, been sceptical towards the import of Japanese motorcycles.
250cc and 350cc class Yamaha motorcycles consistently win important victories at international motorcycle races. The Yamaha brand becomes socially acceptable in Europe. German trade magazines describe Yamaha’s motorcycles as “technically superior competition – and quick”.
The Hostettler brothers, Fritz, Otto and Ruedi, found HOCO Immobilien [Real Estate] AG. This company was aimed at pooling the Hostettler brothers’ property portfolio.
The iXS brand comes into being: with their own brand of motorcycle clothing, hostettler ag steps up into competition with the big contenders in the circle of motorcycle clothing suppliers. The brand name iXS is created. According to legend, this came about after an unsuccessful internal round of brainstorming. After hours of discussion, Company Director Fritz Hostettler apparently suggested in exasperation: “Just put an ‘X’ in the name...” And this was how the iXS brand was born.
The young generation of Hostettlers diversifies the growing group of companies. The Swiss Commercial Trade Register, SHAB, reports the founding of the company intercycle ag. A new wholesale company is created from the bicycle shop. The background to this founding is the growing debate around environmental issues, which began to reach a high point in the 1970s for the first time.
The successful artist Jean Tinguely from Freiburg – alongside Bernhard Luginbühl considered to be one of the most influential sculpture designers of the 1980s – assimilates a racing side-car from the Hostettler racing team into a true Tinguely piece. Not quite ‘art in architecture’, but rather ‘art in sidecar’.
Peter Hostettler is on his way to the Polar Circle on the legendary Yamaha XT Ténéré. His solo journey with the enduro tour bike becomes an unforgettable adventure, both on and off the roads travelled. The XT Ténéré lives up to its name.
The scooter boom brings hostettler another increase in sales. The Japanese manufacturers at Yamaha copied the Italian scooter manufacturers and further developed their products. The scooter catches on as an urban cult motorcycle.
Central Swiss media and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung announce a new sales record for the Hostettler companies: an annual turnover of 65 million francs. National media also focus their attention on the company based in Central Switzerland. The financial element proves the ambitious development of the group.
The media reports on the diversification of hostettler ag, and motorcycling is subjected to intense scrutiny. Noise limitations and power restrictions are new challenges which preoccupy boss Fritz Hostettler. He expresses himself pointedly against the new EC regulations (the European Community, the forerunner of the EU): “We strongly disapprove of these absurd measurement methods!” Parallel to this, the bicycle business continues to drive ahead. With his brothers Otto and Ruedi, Fritz continuously enlarges the motor business operations.
hostettler motoren ag is founded. It offers a wide range of brands for machines and vehicles for gardening, forestry and landscaping.
Christian Hostettler is out and about in South Tunisia on his Yamaha Ténéré 600. The journey to Chott el Djerid in the direction of Ksar Ghilane with two of his fellow students becomes a formative experience.
Intercycle takes over French bicycle brand MBK and Taiwanese brand Wheeler, which has already made a name for itself in the BMX scene. A partnership, whose effects are still experienced today, arises from the cooperation with Wheeler.
Italian suspension fork manufacturer Marzocchi, a motorcycle racing specialist, produces the first Marzocchi suspension forks for mountain bikes. The Europeans initially react more energetically towards the American manufacturer Rockshox, the company which invented the mountain bike suspension fork in 1990.
Hostettler opens its first stronghold in Europe, hostettler gmbh, in Müllheim, Germany. With this, the European hub is established, greatly simplifying the act of carrying out business in Europe. With the scissors, initiator Otto Hostettler.
Mountain biking champion Mike Kluge rides for Wheeler after becoming one of the first overall world cup winners of the up-and-coming mountain bike racing series in 1990. ‘Mike the Bike’, winner of the Grundig Challenge MTB World Cup becomes one of the biggest ambassadors for the brand. Peter Hostettler takes over management of intercycle ag. With ‘Race Face’ Peter Hostettler, the company begins selling bike cult brands such as Ritchey, Diamond Back, Yeti, and Camelbak. At the Interbike Bicycle Fair in Anaheim, Los Angeles, Peter Hostettler spies two Texans walking around with a rucksack sprouting plastic tubes. The product was Camelbak: the rest is history. The National Committee for Cycling finally recognises mountain biking as an independent sporting discipline. The hostettler company intercycle ag supports this new sport with the Wheeler Grand Prix, a national racing series for mountain bikes. Peter Hostettler develops world champion tires in cooperation with IRC and with later downhill world champion Missy ‘the missile’ Giove.
Young Thomas Frischknecht from Switzerland wins the Mountain Biking World Cup, ahead of American legends John Tomac and Ned Overend. With this, the American dominance of mountain biking is finally ended. The unstoppable rise of the Swiss mountain bikers begins – with ‘Frischi’ spearheading the turnaround.
The first electric bicycles, the Yamaha PAS series, are imported. In doing so, the hostettler group becomes the first importer of electric bicycles in Switzerland. The concept doesn’t quite catch on, but the Yamaha PAS triggers a boost in innovation in Switzerland.
Albert Iten becomes European Champion in cross-country biking on his Wheeler. The triumph of ‘Albi’, the racing cyclist from Unterägeri, shows the way forward. Mountain biking becomes a sport to be taken seriously.
autotechnik ag, under the hostettler group, becomes a nerve centre for car workshops and garages across the country. The quick-service delivery trucks are loaded early in the morning in order to supply garage owners and workshops, as well as the Yamaha Centers, across Switzerland.
intercycle ag imports cult bicycle brand Yeti from the USA and profits from the hype surrounding the personalisation of mountain bikes. In the 1990s, the floodgates open across Europe. The new bicycle model, the mountain bike, becomes a driver of innovation across the entire bicycle industry.
Cycling greats Urs Freuler, Beat Breu, Dieter Runkel, Thomas Frischknecht and Christoph Sauser are regular guests at the hostettler trading group in Sursee. The constant presence of these names serves as proof of the increasing significance of the bicycle division within the complete structure of the group.
With the brand BiXS, hostettler brings its own bike brand onto the Swiss market. The BiXS brand is marketed as a product for the general public. BiXS becomes the official equipment supplier of the national Swiss skiing team.
Hostettler takes over responsibility for the sales and marketing of the up-and-coming Korean tire brand, Nexen. The Nexen Tires tire supplier develops wonderfully, and today is an OEM brand for vehicle manufacturer Porsche.
The hostettler group acquires approximately 25,000m2 of strategic land reserves from the Sursee community. The future building land is situated close to the ‘Sursee’ Autobahn exit, a move which ensures efficient logistics, and securing the future development of the group.
hostettler autotechnik ag buys land for a new company location in Marly, in the canton of Fribourg, with the site earmarked for the development of an Autotechnik branch and a Yamaha Center. Another Autotechnik branch is planned for Gossau, in the canton of St. Gallen.
intercycle ag is appointed as the exclusive importer and distributor for GoPro products in Switzerland. The revolutionary technology behind this compact stabilised camera opens up a whole new market and catapults both the film and leisure industries into a new visual dimension.
Prominent visitors make headlines at the legendary Yamaha Day: the stars of the national Swiss skiing team, such as Didier Cuche, Carlo Janka, Nadja Kamer, Martina Schild, Nadia Styger and Silvan Zurbriggen, are all on site. The tough nuts are also there: wrestling champions such as Jörg Abderhalden, as well as wrestling headliners such as Christian Dick, Nöldi Forrer, Martin Koch and Christian Stucki.
Dr. Christian Hostettler, son of Otto Hostettler, takes over presidency of the board of directors of the hostettler group. It is his task to align the fast-growing business group with the rapidly expanding digital distribution and online shopping sectors.
Legendary MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo is on board, taking part at the Yamaha Day 2011. The original wording text for the Yamaha Day event is: “Do you fancy a cruise on your motorbike? Are you keen to make direct contact with MotoGP stars such as MotoGP world champion 2010 Jorge Lorenzo from Yamaha, or Moto2 whizzes Tom Lüthi and Randy Krummenacher? Then you need to be in Sursee on Saturday 28 May. This is where the general importer hostettler ag is hosting their traditional ‘Yamaha Day’, the biggest motorcycle party in Central Switzerland, with lots of action, shows, and VIPs.” Founding of hoco holding ag. The share structure of the family business was compiled under standardised management, and organised for the future. Once more, Hostettler buys lands for an Autotechnik location, as well as for a Yamaha Center in close vicinity to Sion, in the canton of Valais.
The legendary Yamaha Day remains a highlight on the hostettler group’s company premises until 2015. With up to 10,000 visitors, driving demonstrations, test rides, and celebrity guests from the world of sport and from general society. In the picture: motorcycle racer Dominique Aegerter, successful in the Moto2 racing category. Speedy Dominique is one of the brand ambassadors for motorcycle clothing brand iXS, which is part to the hostettler group’s portfolio of brands.
Tokyo Drift Show: on the occasion of Yamaha Day 2014, experienced riders demonstrated their fantastic driving skills on Yamaha-brand motorcycles and with the legendary Lexus drift car under the title ‘the Dark Side of Japan’.
Valentino Rossi: superstar. No one has contributed more to the creation of the legendary status of motorcycle racing than the loveable Valentino Rossi. His drifts, his choice of racing line, his daring overtaking manoeuvres and his unbelievable radiance turn the Yamaha brand into the measure of all things in motorsports this side of the 340km/h limit.
In April, the hostettler group takes over the German online wholesaler BMO Bike-Mailorder, based in Berlin.
For the first time in its history, an external manager takes over the operative management of the hostettler group. Pascal Lütolf, economics PhD graduate from the University of St. Gallen, becomes Group CEO, with responsibility for the 13 companies that make up the hostettler group.
Three generations of Hostettler, in their racing outfits and always on the racetrack, as per the theme ‘petrol in their blood’: hostettler group co-owner Peter Hostettler and his son Patrick Hostettler with his own young daughter, Delilah.
Motorcycle dealer Hess and general importer hostettler launch a future-oriented centre of excellence for motorcycles. The 4000m² store in Gümligental, near Bern, is based on a cooperation between trans-regionally recognised motorcycle dealership Hess Motorrad AG, and hostettler ag, the Swiss Yamaha importer.
MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales achieves his third win of the season in Le Mans, France, after victories in Qatar and Argentina. This is a very important victory for Yamaha, marking the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer’s 500th triumph in Grand Prix racing.