Citing the shakey world economy, automaker Volkswagen of America has ended its sponsorship of the Trek/VW Factory Mountain Bike Team, ending a 13-year partnership that included the likes of Jeremiah Bishop, Travis Brown, Roland Green, Chris Eatough, Wade Bootes, Lea Davison, Alison Sydor and Ruthie Matthes.
“This has been a great alliance since its inception in 1995,” said Trek’s Director of Marketing Dean Gore. “Volkswagen has been a great partner not only to Trek, but also to the sport of mountain biking and cycling in general. Staying with one program for over 13 years is relatively unheard of in the fast-paced world of auto marketing. And even though they have decided not to continue with Trek in 2009, we still feel indebted to VW for their loyalty and support over the years.”
What started with the 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Trek — a limited-edition Jetta outfitted with a roof rack and special-edition Trek mountain bike — and a four-man professional mountain bike team, grew into a men’s and women’s professional and amateur team that racked up a total of 10 World Championships in cross country, dual slalom, all-mountain, and 24-hour solo events.
According to Gore, even though they’ll no longer be powered by Volkswagen, Trek will continue to operate the Ride the Best Demo Tour and the Fit for Women Tour. Trek will also continue to race at the professional level.
“The end of Trek/VW stirs up many emotions,” added Michael Browne, Trek’s Global MTB Brand Manager. “Trek is committed to racing. As sad as we are to see the VW team end, we’re really excited to usher in a new era with the new Trek World Cup Racing program, operated by 23 Degrees Sports Management. The World Cup program is global in scope and is the first World Cup team in years to combine highly competitive XC and DH racing into the same program.”
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany.