Haynes Publishing Group P.L.C. Business Information, Profile, and History
Haynes Publishing Group P.L.C. is the worldwide market leader in the production and sale of automotive and motorcycle repair manuals.
Every Haynes manual is based on a complete vehicle strip-down and rebuild in our workshops, so that the instructions to our customers are inherently practical and easy to follow.
The Group publishes many other DIY titles as well as an extensive array of books about motor sport, vehicles and general transport. Through its subsidiary Sutton Publishing, the Group also publishes a range of military and general history books and biographies.
History of Haynes Publishing Group P.L.C.
Haynes Publishing Group P.L.C. publishes repair manuals for automobiles and other vehicles. Its traditional production process involves complete disassembly, step-by-step instructions, and copious photographs. Best known for its advice on the upkeep of cars, Haynes also offers titles concerning the care of men, women, and babies. The Sutton Publishing subsidiary offers history-related titles. The company sells more than one million books a year in the United Kingdom alone.
John Haynes started his publishing empire at age 16. While still a student he wrote and hand-illustrated a 48-page guide describing the work he did making a sports car out of an Austin Seven. The booklet, Building a 750cc Special, found a receptive mail-order market via an ad in an automotive magazine (Motor Sport). The 250 copies sold out in ten days, noted a detailed history of the company by one of its former editorial directors, Jeff Clew.
Haynes set up a partnership with his younger brother David in 1957, and produced a handful of automotive titles while training as a pilot officer with the Royal Air Force in Germany. After his military service ended (he later rejoined the RAF), Haynes set up his own publishing company in a small office on London's Regent Street. It was officially founded as J.H. Haynes & Co. Ltd. on May 18, 1960. Unfortunately his nearby warehouse and "Sporting Motorists' Bookshop" caught fire, so in 1962, Haynes transferred this operation to his parents' garage in Yeovil, England.
In 1965 Haynes produced his first proper repair manual, featuring step-by-step instructions and photographs. An Austin Healey "Frogeye" Sprite, dismantled while Haynes was stationed in Aden with the RAF, was the subject vehicle. The first run of 3,000 copies sold out within six months, according to Clew. Haynes was soon obliged to lease new space for the growing business.
His brother's business, David M. Haynes & Co. Ltd., was handling the printing. David sold this to J.H. Haynes when he himself reentered the RAF in 1967. (David Haynes would return to Haynes Publishing in 1979.)
The business expanded rapidly throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1972 the company acquired a former Unigate creamery in Sparkford, 120 miles east of London, which became the site of its headquarters.
In 1973, Haynes capitalized upon a unique opportunity to buy what was then Britain's leading automotive publisher, G.T. Foulis & Co. Ltd. The family-owned company also published general interest books. The same year saw the introduction of Haynes's first motorcycle titles, as well as the addition of a warehouse in Leeds to facilitate deliveries to northern England and Scotland. (It would be closed in 1991.)
Haynes Publishing began selling manuals in the United States for European and Japanese imports. The U.K. books were briefly distributed by New York's Drake Publishing in the early 1970s. Haynes then set up a subsidiary, Haynes Publications Inc., in Los Angeles in 1974. In the late 1970s Haynes began producing manuals for American cars, first in Los Angeles and then for a time at the company's Somerset, England base.
Public in 1979
Haynes listed shares on the London Stock Exchange on November 29, 1979. Thirty percent of employees took advantage of an offer to buy discounted shares. A holding company had first been created to link the various businesses in the United Kingdom and United States. Group turnover was about £5 million a year.
Haynes ventured further into mainstream publishing with the 1981 acquisition of Oxford Illustrated Press (OIP) from Blackwells. The tiny company produced 35 titles, including the popular Classic Car series. Two years later, Haynes acquired another 18 automotive titles from Gentry books. In 1985, 64 Frederick Warne transportation-related titles were acquired from Penguin Books. Not all attempts at expansion were successful. The company made a disastrous foray into magazine publishing in 1983 with Automobile Sport.
An advertising and PR agency, Camway Autographics Limited, was formed in January 1984, named after the West Camel farmhouse where early printing operations had been established. Haynes Garages Limited was established in 1985 to handle the group's car buying.
As Haynes grew, it acquired state-of-the-art printing equipment. During the 1970s this was supplied by U.S. manufacturers. The company was able to acquire a five-color Heidelberg press from Germany in 1985 at a cost of £500,000. A second one was added in 1990.
John Haynes's collection of classic vehicles became the nucleus of the Sparkford Motor Museum, later called the Haynes Motor Museum, which officially opened in July 1985 in conjunction with the company's 25th anniversary celebration. Located near the publishing plant, the museum began with 26 autos and three motorcycles. A unique aspect was that all of the vehicles were driveable; the facility even began renting out its 1971 Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible for weddings, noted Clew. The highlight of the collection was a very rare, $1 million Duesenberg Model J once owned by Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler.
In 1987, Haynes acquired another press, the Oxford Publishing Company (OPC), from Cassell PLC. OPC brought 200 titles to the line of railroad books Haynes had been starting to develop.
U.S. sales got a big boost when the Auto Shack (later AutoZone) chain began stocking Haynes titles in 1987. A $1 million warehouse was subsequently acquired in Nashville, Tennessee. According to Jeff Clew, the company ended the decade with a 40 percent market share in the United States.
Patrick Stephens Limited, an imprint established in 1967, was acquired from HarperCollins for £750,000 in 1989-90. Haynes also bought Regency Reprographics (Bath) Limited, which extended its color printing capabilities.
The company cut back its general publishing program and laid off some U.K. workers during the recession of the early 1990s. The group managed to break even in 1990-91 on sales of £19.2 million.
U.S. Printing in 1993
Haynes North America Inc. was formed in 1991 to look after the company's U.S. publishing operations. Haynes Publications Inc. continued to distribute the books. Haynes formed Odcombe Press in Nashville in July 1993. Prior to this, titles for the American market had been printed in England.
By the mid-1990s, the group was posting record profits; two-thirds of sales came from outside the United Kingdom. Haynes developed a series of Spanish language manuals and established distribution subsidiaries in France and Sweden. By 1998 Haynes led the market in Scandinavia and was developing business in Russia. Haynes began producing manuals for the Australian car market in 1997. A major motion picture about the Titanic buoyed international sales of titles related to the doomed ocean liner.
Another notable success was The Bike Book: Everything You Need to Know to Help You Enjoy and Maintain Your Bicycle, which was launched as cycling was peaking in popularity. It eventually sold 500,000 copies worldwide, noted Clew, and spawned a series of titles related to touring. Other new do-it-yourself lines in the late 1990s covered home improvement and camping.
Oxford Publishing Company, the railway specialist, was sold off to Ian Allan Publishing in 1998. Haynes also folded the G.T. Foulis imprint. A diagnostic garage equipment unit was launched in 1999 but sold off after four years.
Navigating Challenges After 2000
Revenues were £28.2 million in 2000, with a pretax profit of £4.1 million. During the year, Haynes acquired U.K.-based history publisher Sutton Publishing Limited from Guiton Group Ltd. for £4 million. Sutton had 2,000 titles in its backlist and annual revenues of about $9 million.
Haynes began printing its U.K. automotive manuals at the U.S. plant, allowing its British presses to concentrate on general publishing. The Sparkford plant had just undergone a £2 million upgrade and had recently begun taking on printing projects for third-party publishers.
The company posted the first loss in its history (£700,000) in the 2001 fiscal year, though revenues were up 18 percent. During the year, Haynes acquired the consumer business of its main U.S. rival, Chilton, from WG Nichols, which continued to produce automotive manuals for the professional market. (A bid to acquire Chilton five years earlier had been blocked by antitrust regulators.) Another U.S. publisher, Clymer Publications Inc., had stopped producing car manuals several years earlier but remained a competitor in the motorcycle market. Haynes bought its main Australian rival, Gregory Automotive Publications, for £2.1 million in 2002.
The General Publishing division began producing manuals for the care and maintenance of human beings. The first, The Man Manual: The Practical Step-By-Step Guide to Men's Health, was published in 2003 in collaboration with the Men's Health Forum. It was followed the next year by The Baby Manual and The Sex Manual. This diversification helped Haynes post record pretax profits of £7.1 million for fiscal 2002-03.
Another reason for the turnaround, reported the Financial Times, was the very successful Max Power series of manuals, whose name was licensed from an auto customization magazine popular among young men. Each Max Power manual featured more than 1,000 color photographs, the better to show off the highly stylized alterations that designers put into the vehicles.
By 2004 the company was selling more than one million books a year in the United Kingdom alone. Haynes achieved a pre-tax profit of £8.3 million on revenue of £39 million for the fiscal year ended May 2004.
Principal Subsidiaries: Editions Haynes S.A.R.L. (France); Haynes Manuals Inc. (Australia); Haynes Manuals, Inc. (U.S.A.); Haynes North America, Inc; Haynes Publishing Nordiska AB (Sweden); J.H. Haynes & Co. Ltd.; J.H. Haynes (Overseas) Ltd.; Odcombe Press LP (U.S.A.); Sutton Publishing Limited.
Principal Divisions: Automotive; General Publishing; Book Manufacturing.
Principal Operating Units: North American and Australia; United Kingdom and Europe.
Principal Competitors: Bentley Publishers; Clymer Publications Inc.
- Key Dates:
- 1960: Haynes Publishing is founded.
- 1965: The first "Haynes Owners Workshop Manual" is published for the Austin Healey "Frogeye" Sprite.
- 1973: The first motorcycle titles are launched; G.T. Foulis & Co. Ltd. is acquired.
- 1974: A U.S. subsidiary is established.
- 1979: Haynes goes public on the London Stock Exchange.
- 1981: Oxford Illustrated Press is acquired.
- 1985: The Haynes Motor Museum officially opens.
- 2000: History specialist Sutton Publishing Limited is acquired.
- 2001: Haynes acquires rival Chilton's consumer business.
- 2002: Australian rival Gregory Automotive Publications is acquired for £2 million.
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