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First, the number one question: how do you pronounce Thule? It is "TOO LEE" in the USA, other parts of the world it might be pronounced "TOO LA".
Thule is made in the USA with solar power. Over 70% of Thule products are made in USA of U.S. and imported parts. By manufacturing locally, Thule is able to have better control over the quality process.
When you're transporting your gear, take comfort that Thule's North American factories were the last to inspect it. Also important, locally made car racks reduce the environmental impact! Additionally, The Thule Group in North America directly employees over 1,000 American workers. Indirectly, many more jobs are created that support Thule's operations in the US. Thule sources a variety of goods and services from other local business which indirectly keeps even more Americans working.
One philosophy of Thule's smart solutions is that Thule must make it as easy to fit our racks to your vehicle as it will be to load or unload your gear once it’s on. From the instructions to installation to use, the Thule fit process takes the measurements of your vehicle and provides you with a fit kit that gives your solution the perfect fit to your vehicle. So you can quickly and easily set up and get your gear where you want it to be.
Thule fit engineers develop specific solutions for the specific areas where our products can be mounted to your car and they create innovative solutions for how your valuable gear will be secured. Even down to the straps and ratchet ropes, everything is calculated specifically for each individual vehicle to ensure the safest, most secure fit possible.
Thule has developed a unique relationship with the world’s top vehicle manufacturers. This connection gives them the ability to receive specific feedback on how to design products that are more compatible and easier to install on today’s vehicles. It also allows Thule to suggest particular fixed-point distances and standard features that allow for even more precise fit of Thule products.
One of the cornerstones of Thule’s product strategy is safety. While a product’s ultimate wear-ability and quality are essential, safety is our number one consideration. Which is why we have three Quality Test Centers in three different countries that put our products through an extensive and rigorous testing process that surpass industry standards.
Setting and Exceeding Standards
Thule helps lead the way in deciding what the safety and quality standards of industry products should be, sitting on the committee for ISO standards. We also implement many additional self-imposed tests that provide an even greater amount of assurance to our customers.
Before a product can wear the coveted Thule logo or go into production, it must go through our torture testing. It is exposed to everything from icy cold to desert heat and long-term UV radiation. Then the fun starts. Thule products are subjected to tensile tests, shock tests, vibration tests, wind tunnels, endurance tests, aerodynamic tests and crash tests. In fact, the whole world is our test track. We take our prototypes and test products into the real world, and try the functions that will make your equipment safer, easier and more fun to carry. When we are finally happy, we know that you’ll be too.
Part of ensuring the safety of your Thule carrier is having the proper fit. So in addition to extensive testing for quality standards, Thule has an entire team dedicated to determining the exact fit for every vehicle.
At Thule, they don’t just make products, they make products better. Thule has shared passions with their customers and understands the active lifestyle. Which is why their eye is always on innovation and how they can create new technologies and design solutions that solve particular problems. From making a product easier to use, to taking the hassle out of transporting gear, to reducing stress, their goal is to always be creating a better product and better experience for our customers.
Thule knows the products are going to be out in the elements getting heavily used, and in many cases live on the vehicle all the time. Which is why Thule is careful when selecting the materials that are used in their designs. Everything is taken into consideration to construct products that will last and all Thule rack products are built to last, with lifetime warranties.
You can always identify a Thule product by its perfect fit, simple mounting and ease of loading. But our design goes beyond safety and function. Our products follow a consistent design language. Instead of following extreme trends and short-lived fashions, we stick to refined and stylish shapes that harmonize with the design of your car — setting the standard for the industry. Our design process embraces the importance of a clean aesthetic to provide a product that enhances the lines of your vehicle and design of your gear; a final look that’s not only functional, but also beautiful.
Because everything Thule does is based around making life easier, they make sure all aspects of production work together. Beginning with design, every step of the process receives the same high degree of attention by dedicated experts. Thule innovations and designs go through research and development, and fitting and testing to make sure they are delivering the safest, most durable product that makes your life easier and complements the look of your vehicle.
Creating smart solutions means spending a lot of time in research and development. Thule product managers continuously investigate potential new designs and how to improve current ones through consumer research. This includes focus groups, warranty and claims studies, surveys and interviews with active lifestyle enthusiasts. Direct feedback from consumers helps Thule develop and refine our designs and technologies to directly benefit the consumer.
Thule constantly maintains a 3-year product plan into the future that determines which categories and products to address. With more than 500 current patents, Thule is at the forefront of exclusive developments that set the standard in the industry.
WARRANTY AND CLAIMS STUDIES
Thule products are designed to last, which is why they closely monitor warranties and claims. Thule warranty claims specialists review user issues as well as any kind of claims that involve property loss or damage to determine which issues currently need attention and which have been resolved. They also monitor the feedback in order to provide insight on how to make instructions and designs more user friendly.
Once a design has been properly researched and is approved for development, a list of deliverables is created and the product manager and engineer then work together to provide an actual concept and prototype. A lot of time is spent analyzing the design and specified materials to make sure that form follows function – and the design works optimally. An FEA (Finite Element Analysis) is conducted through computer simulation to determine where weak links might be. Only after it has passed that test does it then go the Quality Test Center where it goes through aggressive testing procedures to determine how the components and design will fare in real circumstances – even more extreme than typical use.