From traveling sales Dutchman to global player

The iconic VW minivan sums up the Pon mindset. Flashback to 1947. Europe is rebuilding. Ben Pon, the importer for Volkswagen in the Netherlands, visits the Volkswagen plant in Germany, which at that time operates under British authority.

Ben Pon is keen to talk to them, trusting in the qualities of Volkswagen. He wants to be the Volkswagen importer for the Netherlands. His call has unexpected, dramatic consequences. Ben pulls up his notepad and draws the outlines of a transportation vehicle which he senses to fill a gap in the market. 

The vehicle, based on the Volkswagen beetle, weighs exactly as much as its maximum payload: 750 kilograms. Ben’s idea resonates and the vehicle is taken into mass production. The Volkswagen Transporter soon becomes a best-seller, with many more variations to follow. 

Pioneering is in Pon’s DNA. More than 100 years later, the Pon family concern has a rich history to look back on. An overview of landmark events in Pon’s history. 

1895: Foundation of the Pon Trading company

Mijndert Pon sets up residence in the ‘Langestraat’ at Amersfoort and opens a store selling soap, tobacco and sewing machines.

1900: Pon becomes importer for Opel bicycles

Mijndert Pon secures the exclusive dealership rights for Opel bicycles in the Netherlands, provided he buys at least 24 bicycles per year.

1920: Cars & tires

Pon starts to trade Ford and Opel automobiles. He also supplies Continental tires, a German brand. What’s a bicycle or a car without good tires?

1928: Official importer for Opel passenger cars

Mijndert contracts exclusive dealer rights to Opel. In January of 1928 he sells 16 cars: just two months later, this number has increased to almost 100 automobiles.

1931: Foundation of Pon’s Auto-mobielhandel by Ben and Wijnand Pon

Ben and Wijnand have inherited their father’s talent for business. They’re also eyeing other countries.

1936: Importing American cars and trucks

The Pon brothers cross the Atlantic Ocean to close dealer contracts with various American auto makers such as Federal and Crossmobile.

1947: 1st Volkswagen importer in the Netherlands

Ben Pon senior negotiates a contract for Pon’s Automobielhandel as the brand’s first official importer. During the discussions he draws the outline for the design of the Volkswagen Transporter.

1949: Dutch importer for Porsche

The Pon brothers and Ferdinand Porsche had been talking to each other before the war. The patience of the two brothers pays off, and they secure a second importership: Porsche. More auto brands would follow: Audi (1974), SEAT (1986) and Škoda (1992).

1988: Importers for IMS and SAF

Pon adopts a strategy change and starts importing axles and suspension systems for trailers and trucks.

1996: Pon North America

Pon sees growth opportunities in the United States in mobility and transport. It acquires several companies which are active, for example, in the supply of valves for the US navy and passenger liners.

2003: Giants join the fray

Pon raises its profile yet again with the takeover of Geveke, a listed company and highly reputable dealer for the American Caterpillar. Pon has now expanded its reach into the realm of earthmoving machinery, ships engines, and generator systems.

2011: Coming home: take-over of Koninklijke Gazelle, Derby Cycle and Cervélo

Pon picks up where the family once started: the bicycle trade.

2011: Expanding into Asia

With the takeover of Singapore based SWTS Pon now has a foothold in Asia. Today, Pon has a strong presence in the Australasian region with technical precision work in onshore and offshore industries.

2012: Importer of luxury cars

Pon procures the importership for Bentley, Bugatti en Lamborghini.

2012: Takeover of Bakker Sliedrecht

Bakker Sliedrecht, a leading supplier of electrical installations for in the maritime and industrial sectors and infrastructure market becomes a fully owned Pon company.

2014: Prominent supplier of mobility

The acquisition of Greenwheels perfectly fits the growth strategy of the company as prominent supplier of mobility. Pon can now offer all kinds of mobility.

2015: Pon builds bicycle group 

Pon’s most recent takeovers of Santa Cruz and BBB Cycling clinches its position as an international group of bicycle makers offering the complete range of bike styles and models, parts and accessories.