Over the weekend, Martin and Michiel wrote in with big news – Chervon has acquired the Skil brand from Bosch.
Chervon, a based-in China company with strong USA presence, is the designer and manufacturer for many of the tools we’ve written about over the years.
Ego, a line of very good battery-powered outdoor power tools, and Hammerhead, a new line of interesting cordless tools and accessories, are both Chervon brands.
Chervon made a lot of the tools for Craftsman’s 12V Max Nextec lineup, and still makes some of Craftsman’s C3 cordless power tools. They also made Craftsman’s digital router.
Their relationship with different brands has not been made public, but I’m told they’re behind some professional tool brands’ tool as well.
And now, Chervon has acquired Skil, pending the approval of anti-trust authorities.
Apparently, this all happened nearly a week ago! From Chervon:
On Aug 23, 2016, Chervon (HK) Ltd. signed the agreement with the Bosch Power Tools division to acquire the SKIL businesses in North America and Europe. The deal also includes the phased transfer of brand ownership within the rest of the global market.
Hmm, I wonder if this was in the plans for quite some time. Maybe this is why Bosch launched a new Skilsaw brand identity? Only somewhat recently did Skilsaw release their pro-grade work drive table saw.
Will the acquisition include Skil and Skilsaw, or just Skil? I suppose this will be clear up in time. Will it also include product lines such as Skil’s holiday-timed hand tools?
What about the Skil tools that are red versions of Bosch green and blue tools in Europe? Tools like the Skil QuickSelect are Bosch-branded elsewhere.
This will be an interesting story to follow.
What I would like to see is Chervon use the Skil brand to make a strong push into the benchtop and handheld power tool market. The benchtop tool market in particular could stand to see innovation and quality.
Chevron must be working hard on trying to improve their business.
And also check this out
Looks like Milwaukee has a new impact driver?
Those stats don’t look to cool though.
Yep, I saw it over the weekend – https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-m18-fuel-surge-oil-impact-driver/
Actually, I think it looks very promising.
I’m more than a little surprised how quickly these new quiet impacts have caught on across brands. Given this pace I assume we’ll see a Dewalt one in the next year and Bosch by 2025.
Not at all surprising. The noise of impacts is both an annoyance to the DIY’er and a potential legal (OSHA) liability for the professionals. I know that I’m going to get one from DeWalt as soon as they come out. And if Bosch does one in 12v, ooooooohhhhh baby!!
One of the reasons for buy Skil is that we all know that Bosch was behind.
Same service, decent warranty and cheaper than Bosch.
From where I am (Uruguay), Skil is a pretty good brand.
10 years ago, maybe 15, i knew what i was buying. Today is very confusing…
Maybe they’ll change the colors back to the black/gray scheme. Always did like Skil.
I’d assume they’d want the Skilsaw brand to go with it, it’s just about the only pro level credibility associated with Skil as a whole.
It’ll get awfully messy, unless Chervon is behind Bosch’s compact table saw and worm drive saws.
Skil is not a strong brand these days, ignoring their pro-grade Skilsaw offerings for a moment, and I think that Chervon has the potential to change things up.
If Chervon is willing the breath new life into Skil, the brand might be very different in a few short years.
This is actually a very smart move on Chervon’s part, and probably a good move on Bosch’s too.
Chervon has had good success in their Ego outdoor power tools, but the cordless power tool market is much more competitive. The cordless battery-powered OPE market was ripe for the conquest. But to go up against establish power tool brands, it’d be an upwards battle for a new brand, even if backed by a seasoned cordless power tool maker such as Chervon.
It might take a lot of effort to revitalize the Skil brand, but at least it’s a name people know.
I think you’re right about it being easier and more prudent to acquire a brand rather than trying to grow one organically. While the Skil brand is nowhere what it was in its heyday – and it has been hurt by some junky hand tools sold under the Skil name at Home Depot, Walmart etc. – maybe Chevron can revitalize it.
At one time Skil was a full-line power tool brand – and I recall buying many of their D-Handle Right angle drills and reciprocating saws because they were the first ones to go to a double-insulated housing design (ahead of Milwaukee and Porter-Cable). Their pistol grip drills were also the first to have trigger speed control. So let’s hope that Chevron will once again pick up the gauntlet and use Skil as a base for innovation for commercial-grade tools.
Fred, good insight as always. This reminds me a bit of Black & Decker back before they though everything revolved around entry level/cheapola mass markets like Wallyworld.
They actually had several lines of portable power tools Some for the local hardware, some for wholesale jobbers, and their ‘Industrial’ line. The latter was actually pretty good. My uncle had a contract to supply several consolidated school districts with power tools and this is what he supplied. On a par with some ofthe old Atlas Copco Milwaukee stuff and certainly as good as Makita’s corded stuff.
The trouble was, it was flat grey and black. Not too exciting but even they recognised the burgeoning DIY market that wanted upscale tools like pros would use. And this is when the pretty yellow and shiny black DeWalt cordless tools started appearing. DeWalt was little more than rebadged Black & Decker industrial stuff in the early 90s. All that brand made was saws before B&D changed its persona to what it is today. And who can argue with the results?
I think Skil wound up in a similar boat except Bosch of course kept their marquee as the top dog and made Skil the bargain brand for most tools. I am just old enough to remember when Skil was still a very respected professional brand. Very decent stuff but about all that’s left for quality is the worm drive saws. And not much else. I really hope stuff like the 360 and IXO 3.6 drills don’t disappear. About the handiest things around for removing fastener hardware from appliances and similar. Come on Chevron. Do the name proud.
I think Chevron is looking to do to Skill what TTI did to Milwaukee even though Milwaukee wasn’t as positioned as much of a budget brand as Bosch did with SKill. I think Bosch is keeping Skill saw that’s why we saw the spin off as Bosch did see value in that brand still and its products. The rest off the Skill lineup was getting stale. It’s one of the bigger plays in the tool industry though the past few years.
I wonder if Chevron will convince some Milwaukee managers to switch companies they are not that far from each other. Chervon is in western Michigan.
80% of KETER been sold to private equity firm BC Patners in july for 1.4 billion dollars.
BC Partners are the folks who own PetSmart
The chevron buy includes skil and skilsaw
I can’t see how Bosch would still own Skilsaw but Chevron would own Skil. Talk about confusing the hell out of customers if both exist and both are putting out similar power tools. I would hope that Chevron bought Skilsaw as well and will just go forward using that logo and design and just phase out Skil.
That’s what I’d like to see happen. Sure Skil has put out some incredibly subpar tools for most of recent memory, but there’s a whole generation that still calls every circ saw a Skilsaw for a reason.
Help me out boys. Are we talking “Chevron” or “Chervon”?
Chervon. Look at the logo above.
Don’t worry, I called them Chevron once or twice too.
Not only that – but my spell checker keeps wanting to change it.
Chervon also makes Kobalt power tools. This could be a play to get Chervon into more stores than Sears and Lowe’s. What we need to know is what assets were acquired, does this include the rights to continue manufacturing the current line or does Bosch retain that? This is only really a big deal when it comes to the circular saw, specifically the worm drive.
Notice the new Chinese name is Chervon. Very close to Chevron, which is recognized by most Americans. I bet they’re betting no one will notice. Skill I’d off my things to buy list.
That’s very unfair and baseless. What new Chinese name? I doubt that they’re going to rename Skil. Besides, Chervon does not sell anything to the public under their own branding.
“You can be an OEM supplier but you’d never control your destiny,”
Horst Julius Pudwill – Co-founder Techtronic Industries
“If you only manufacture for somebody, you have no control. That’s why he did these smart acquisitions. It’s difficult to create a brand. How many self-made brands are there? There aren’t many new brands.”
Stephan H. Pudwill – Group Executive Director, Techtronic Industries
Chervon are probably thinking along the same lines
Source – http://www.forbes.com/sites/shuchingjeanchen/2016/01/07/father-son-in-power-tools/#50fd609230ac
It’s an interesting read.
This is pretty sad. I really think whoever is in control at Bosch is deliberately making bad decisions that make the company worse off. Skil had a pretty decent reputation as Bosch’s value brand and they spent a long time building it.
I can’t believe that Bosch would abandon that entire market segment so easily. I’ll guess that the US market and other s will either get the same “green” Bosch lineup other markets have had for quite awhile, or something else has to be going on.
Bosch is a huge conglomerate versus the other brands discussed, however their focus has never been competing in the entry-level tool space… nor in 25 years of ownership have they been genuinely focused on putting out professional-level tools under the Skil* name to compete against their own.
So I think this is a good move for Bosch and a good move for Skil. Chervon is buying it to compete, and more of Bosch’s power tool energy will be hopefully put into their own-branded tools, which have been lagging behind the rest of the brands in selection and time-to-market.
I agree with your take on this. And what i hope to see is Chervon weed out the low end Skil stuff and focus on what made them great-saws! Add in a top shelf jigsaw and reciprocating saw and ditch most of the lower end Skil stuff. If they cannot do this then at least upgrade the Skil line to better quality. Too long that brand has been associated with junky dimestore stuff.
I suspect Chervon already makes the lower end Bosch stuff and it makes you wonder how comfortable all these players are with the way things are going? In America at least, I think Bosch liked it to have their marquee seen as being a major step up from Skil, circular saws notwithstanding. And even then I suspect their saws were little more than rebranded models of Skil.
Does anyone remember about ten or fiffteen years ago when Bosch introduced two worm drives to America? One was a rear handle like Skil and the other had a top handle and yes, it was worm drive too. They were obviously Skil models with blue trim. So there has been some cross pollination for a long time. If Chervon does make a lot of the cross branded stuff, how will this affect Bosch? Who owns the tradmarks, patents, and designs? The little Skil 360 Stuart linked to is called Select in Europe and wears green trim. Yet you can find the same exact model in other markets wearing the pro line blue colour. Obviously one manufacturer is making them…in three colours. Same for the super handy little 3.6v IXO screwdriver models. Skil orange in America, green or blue depending upon market elsewhere. So yeah, depending upon how all this goes we could wind up losing some things we actually like and getting stuck with the stuff nobody really wants.
As Satch says below here, chervon and Bosch have been working together for several years already.
As Bosch bought Siemens out of the home appliances division last year, this is just another strategic move for a huge conglomerate.
As the world is changing and our way of buying tools as well, Bosch will revitalize it’s way of reaching the end user. This concerns both green and blue brands.
Some have started already in Germany, and the rest of northern Europe in 2017.
I googled the name of the project, but couldn’t find anything.
It mighr be just a internal project name ive heard from a friend who works for their blue brand.
If Chervon already made the Skil stuff for Bosch (not sure about that though) then it would make sense – they want the name to put on stuff they’ve already been making, but now as owners of the brand.
I’m guessing that Chervon makes a lot of other store-brand stuff, besides Kobalt, maybe even the “Hyper Tough” red-and-black tools in walmart that look suspiciously like Skil tools, and they just want an “in” into the US market.
I don’t see them making anything better than what they already do if that’s the case though, they will probably just get a lot of contracts back and we’ll see Skil brand tools in a lot more places again, perhaps even displacing the house brands since Skil will be a higher-tier, more recognizable name.
I’d actually be worried about the saws – I don’t think Chervon made the Skilsaws, either the higher end worm drive hand/table saws or the other stuff, or maybe they make it ALL?
Not good. It’s another case of a good brand selling the name to China. Happened to Koss acoustic stuff, Sunbeam electronics, IBM. They’re all cheap crap now.
Skil is just the latest. Buy a name that had a good rep going back to our dad’s day. Squeeze every last penny out of it until everyone realizes it’s turned into shyte.
IMO, Skil is already “cheap crap”.
Sounds like more cheap Chinese crap.
Chervon may produce a number of lower cost tools, but they also purchased Flex Electrowerkzeuge several years ago. Flex is a high end German power tool brand that mostly produces tools for professional and industrial use, including a number of specialized tools. The Flex brand used to be owner by Porter Cable back when Porter Cable tools were mostly USA made and sold for industrial use. Flex also manufactured tools and components for Festool and may still do so, and sells tools to the same markets as Fein and Suhner. While chervon has added some lower cost tools to the Flex lineup, most of the Flex tools are still the higher end tools that were manufactured in Germany and still are.
If Chervon purchased Skil, they may have done so for the higher end Skilsaw designs, so they could add them to the Flex lineup. on the current Flex germany website the two circular saws that are currently listed are a metal saw, and a wet stone saw, and I don’t think either are actually made by Flex.
Flex did sell a woodworking circular saw at one point, but I suspect that may have been manufactured by Mafell. The Skilsaw worm drive saws and technology could easily be used to fill out the Flex lineup with an industrial quality saw.
Flex already manufactures reciprocating saw, in several designs, that are made for industrial use. Flex also has manufactured some of the same saws for other brands including Fein, Metabo, maybe Bosch, and The proffesional line of ridgid, not the orange line sold at big orange.
I wonder if we’ll ever see Bosch green tools in the US now that they’ve sold off Skil.
Bosch still has the Dremel brand.