55 years of low prices
It is 1963. The Beatles have just released their first album and John F Kennedy is the president of the United States. Biltema's founder, Sten-Åke Lindholm, asked himself why spare parts for cars and car accessories were so expensive.
He saw that automobile suppliers often had a relatively low profit margin on the cars they sold and immediately understood that the idea was to attract customers. The low profit margin on cars was then quickly compensated by workshops and dealers having much higher margins on spare parts, accessories and service.
As a reaction to this, Biltema was started in a small basement on Vistvägen in Linköping. After a year or so the mail-order business was expanded with a store, also in the same basement. The policy of buying products directly from manufacturers meant that Biltema started searching for production locations at an early stage. At the end of the 1970s Biltema started to build up strategic purchasing contacts throughout the world, and we now have purchasing offices in many countries in Europe and Asia.
Biltema started sales in Norway as early as 1983, and in Finland in 1986. Since then, Biltema has grown stronger and stronger throughout the Nordic region, and we currently have nearly 140 stores in four Nordic countries.
Sten-Åke's own keen interest in technology resulted in many producers listening to the demands and viewpoints put forward by Biltema over the years. They have to a large extent influenced and improved the quality and products beyond the standards at the time the product was first made. Many of these improvements have also come to the market in very well-known brands.
We are aiming for 100
It is said that nobody can predict the future. But at Biltema we know at least one thing about the future: in the next 5 years, up to 50 new Biltema stores will be opened in four Nordic countries. Our next goal will be set for the 100 year anniversary in 2063, which may just be a little something extra.