Garmin is actually a collection of several company divisions that create a variety of different products that work with the Global Positioning System, or GPS. They make products for marine use, aviation, fitness, outdoor use, and for many other consumer purposes. The company prides itself on the quality of their devices, and they feel their products should be built to last.
The History and Breakdown of Garmin
Garmin Ltd. is a Swiss company that is the parent of a number of subsidiaries. Min Kao and Gary Burrell founded the company in 1989 in Kansas in the United States. When they first created the company, they named it ProNav. They renamed it to Garmin later, as it took parts of both of their first names. The subsidiary Garmin International, Inc. is the U.S. headquarters, and is in Olathe, Kansas. Garmin Corporation Asia is another subsidiary, and it is in Taiwan. This also happens to be the location of the largest production facility for the company. Garmin incorporated in Switzerland in 2010.
The first product they created was a GPS unit. The price of the unit at the time it emerged in the late ?0s was $2,500. The first customer was the United States Army.
The company grew quickly and their sales had reached a staggering $105 million by 1995. The profit at that time was $23 million. They continued to grow quickly, and were brining in sales of $233 million by 1999, and an estimated $1.77 billion by the mid 2000s.
By 2000, they had sold more than three million GPS units, and they were making 50 different types of devices at that time. They were already selling in 100 countries around the world, and they continued to file more patents for various GPS technology. 2000 was also the year that they became a public company.
While the main offices of Garmin are in the United States, Taiwan, and the UK, they are not the only countries where the company operates. They also have operations running in Belgium, Canada, Norway, and Spain. Over the years, the company has made a number of acquisitions, as well. Some of the companies they've bought include UPS Aviation Technologies, Inc., which was actually a subsidiary of the United Parcel Service. They also bought Dynastream Innovations, EME Tec Sat SAS, Digital Cyclone, and Nautamatic Marine Systems. These companies were making similar technologies and were working in similar fields, so it made sense for Garmin to purchase them.
Areas of Specialty
Garmin specializes in a number of different areas for their GPS products. One of the most profitable for the company is their line of marine devices. They have always been very popular, and the first unit they offered, the GPS 100, was a panel-mounted device that was so popular when it debuted in 1990 that there was a backlog of 5,000 orders.
The handheld GPS devices proved popular for the military, and that was where Garmin initially sold the devices. However, Garmin knew that this could be popular with regular consumers as well, and they began offering these devices to hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Another one of the popular options from Garmin was the automotive GPS units. They were very popular in the mid-2000s, and their popularity continues. The models today tend to incorporate more than merely GPS options such as emergency locators and automatic rerouting.
Garmin offers fish finders, mobile apps, aviation devices, and even personal trainer devices for the fitness crowd. Because they offer so many different types of devices, they are able to keep marketing to new customers. While some customers may have their own GPS on their smart phones, this is not always enough, and it does not always offer the features and support they need. Thus, Garmin is still able to make sales because of their quality, along with the essential features they put into their devices.
Still Going Strong
One of the reasons Garmin is still able to sell a large number of products and continue to make money is because they continually create quality products with great customer support. They also try to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Of course, having a strong brand name they've been building up for decades helps. When people think about GPS navigation, they tend to think of the name Garmin. One of the only real competitors they have in the business it TomTom.