My last entry was in 2013, back when Exotic Air launched and the Scion FR-S project was completed. I took time off to refocus in 2014, but in early Feb 2015 an opportunity presented itself when an old friend reached out for help to launch his wheel brand: RSV Forged.
What does RSV stand for? This was my very first question to him. Unfortunately, the lack of thought was quickly apparent and over the next 8 months, RSV ended up being: "Rick, Same Victor". These people do not exist, instead when asked for our email address, this was our response.
RSV was very different from many of the other popular and well known US wheel brands. Unlike others who relied heavily on oversea manufacturing or local machine shops to produce CAD drawings and production, RSV was foremost a CNC Machine shop that took on the challenge to design, engineer, and manufacture 3-pc forged wheels all in-house.
With so many wheel brands coming and going year after year. Why enter this industry to being with? I believe the passion and dedication of designing and creating trends in the wheel industry were the drive behind the core guys at RSV. It is easy to start a wheel brand, but pushing the design limits and collaborating with the industry's top leaders takes a different perspective: Integrity.
When I started, RSV lacked all aspects of a marketing game plan. No dealers, not even a functional website. So energy and resources were quickly poured into building the foundation of the marketing campaign. We took a trip and visited dealers throughout California and presented our brand and showcased our products. One shop that became a close friend was Mitch at Famous Autosport in Chatsworth, CA. Mitch was similar to RSV, small and up-and-coming.. no corporation here. Mitch is well known in the exotic world, but especially connected with Lamborghini USA. We understood each other's business plans and saw a similar coloration early on.
By Spring, our distribution covered: Japan, Australia, Belgium, UK, and Taiwan. A brand new website was strategically launched and gain momentum attracting builders that ranged from Muscle, Euro, to Exotic cars. Instagram was a vital online tool for us to show viewers of different manufacturing process and stages. This was vital in reaching an extremely wide range of demographic, education level, profession, and interest.
During my 8 months contract, RSV Forged quickly become the new forged wheel company that emphasized heavily on design first. We had our in-house engineers using the latest Solidworks applications for all design and testing stages. A good client, who also is has an eye for trends often submitted his own hand drawings for inspiration which were implemented into different Series.
By the end of summer, plans were made to debut at the largest automotive convention; SEMA in Las Vegas. Booths were design and printed, demo wheels finish and both demo cars were trailored into the desert. As a first time SEMA exhibitor, we were lucky to be offered an indoor floorplan next to BMW USA. After years of working SEMA with Goodguys and building the Scion FR-S for ENEOS Nippon Oil in 2012, SEMA show was relatively simple. Communicated clearly with Freeman, who are the union workers, plan the different stages of development, and have a large team to load and unload the trucks. Simple.
My goal was to successful launch RSV Forged into the wheel industry. Today, RSV is not just known for their US quality and craftsmanship, but has certainly made an impact and gained mutual respect with other wheels brands: Fifteen52, Rotiform, VIP Modular, plus more.