How A Brazilian Gun Company Became An Overnight Market Leader In The U.S. forbes.com proclaims. You might say the article is a puff piece, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Except to say that yes, it is extremely positive about the Brazilian company’s fortunes. Well, forthcoming fortunes. Like this . . .
Forjas Taurus had won a lot of American consumers after establishing a facility in Miami, but by 2013 it had once again fallen out of touch with what American gun owners want. Also, perhaps to catch up to a surging marketplace, Forjas Taurus had rushed products to the market and ended up with manufacturing issues that were affecting the quality of its guns.
This changed earlier this year when Forjas Taurus and Taurus Holdings, Inc. were bought by Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC), also headquartered in Brazil. CBC’s ammunition brands include Magtech, Sellier & Bellot (S&B), and MEN. CBC’s stepped in to fix the problems, but they didn’t just get heavy handed about steering its U.S. division back to prosperity; they came in with a stick and cleaned out management and then brought in an experienced American gun-guy, Anthony Acitelli, to be president and CEO. Acitelli has over 20 years of experience in the U.S. firearms industry. He was previously a senior vice president of sales at Colt. He also led the sales and marketing teams and eventually ran the Accessories Division at ATK’s Sporting Group (now known as Vista Outdoor, which has over 30 consumer brands).
I’ve never met Acitelli. I certainly hope he’s the right man for the job at Taurus. Here’s his take:
“One of the first things we did was to hire—and we are still hiring—an engineering team from the American market. We need gun guys. We need engineers who know how to innovate for this robust American market.
“As we do that, we also had to get our quality up and to reposition our products,” said Acitelli. “Basically, our pistols weren’t selling. I looked at the numbers and realized we could either do a huge ad buy as we got our quality-control back in order, and thereby announce we were back, or we could instead spend that money by reducing the prices on our pistols and thereby let the gun-shop owners and firearms enthusiasts around the country tell our story. We chose the later path.
Before asking TTAG readers to tell their story of the Taurus of today, I’d like to state for the record that I had every faith in former CEO Mark Kresser’s abilities to turn Taurus around. Kresser focused on two main areas: quality control and customer service. Both of which improved measurably under his leadership. If Taurus is on the right track, Mark Kresser deserves some credit. If it isn’t . . .
Is it? Is Taurus delivering on quality and customer service? What’s been your experience with their guns and customer service? Good, bad or indifferent? And what could they do better to earn your business in the future? As for Forbes’ glowing assessment, the market doesn’t seem to agree. As Forbes points out Forjas Taurus’ stock price is down 72.19% this year (as of November 19). Buy or sell?