After last week’s startling news that nitro engine guru Adrien Bertin looked to have parted ways with Team Orion we heard from the big man himself, Philippe Neidhart, founder of Team Orion in 1987. Philippe kindly allowed us to interview him on the major news, it’s fair to say the Bertin story was only scratching the surface.

To give you some background reminders, the most recent twist in the Orion saga was the change in ownership as Kyosho stepped in and bought the company in 2008 – a move that was viewed as a lateral expansion for Kyosho – picking up the high performance competition brand in fields of nitro and electric racing.

'Done Deal' - the late Masayuki Susuki fromer President of Kyosho with Philippe Neidhart of Team Orion and Joel Johnson (then of Kyosho USA)

2007: ‘Done Deal’ – Masayuki Suzuki of Kyosho with Philippe Neidhart of Team Orion and Joel Johnson (then of Kyosho USA)

Back to the Future and its all change, whilst the original article stated that Adrien Bertin was no longer employed by Team Orion, it seems he wasn’t the only one as Philippe tells us as of August 1st there were no longer any employees left at Team Orion!

After a slight suave (ok unsophisticated) raising of an eyebrow by yours truly at that news, Philippe continued to explain that a restructure has taken place, whereby former employees of Team Orion (TO) are now working directly for Neidhart S.A.– Philippe’s own company which includes RC product distribution as well as the development of in house brands (e.g. nVision).


The conclusion –
Kyosho have handed back full control to Neidhart

He went onto stress that Team Orion still exists and the brand is stronger than ever, having the “best product line-up ever and winning the Worlds and many other titles in on-road, off-road, nitro and electric classes”.

However the restructure is the result of a rather drastic rethink – the brand, intellectual property and future is now controlled in full by Neidhart.

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Philippe striking a casual pose

The conclusion – Kyosho have handed back full control to Neidhart – a shrewd Swiss chess move that would impress any money man: license the brand to the people that know the business inside out and improve efficiency. “We are still working with Kyosho, but under our own set of rules. It’s like going back in time, back to how it was in 1987 when I started Team Orion and it was part of my parent’s company”.



So what does the new structure look like ? Well first off Team Orion remains the high end brand whilst nVision we hear will be positioned as a more mass market budget friendly and cost conscious whilst still offering great products.

Philippe emphasised the need for flexibility but also avoid confusion in the market place. Due to TO’s strong positions in both nitro and electric it would at times mean two distributors in one market place – the plan is to re-establish a cleaner, clearer brand image for customers. But also grow the Neidhart group successfully preferring their partners & distributors share in the success thus establishing closer co-operation.


Whilst discussing the particulars of the restructure, the subject of Orion’s impressive World Championship haul (13 titles) came up. Philippe mentioning that the company ethos of mentoring and accelerating young drivers development has paid dividends – in almost all cases the World title would be the ‘first’ for that driver e.g. Marc Rheinard, Jilles Groskamp, Cody King, Jukka Steenari, Mark Pavidis, Matt Francis, Dave Spashett – An enviable 1st timers list if there ever was one for this Championship factory.


2010 Worlds: TQ with Jared Tebo & the win with Cody King

The facts are:
– For Team Orion and nVision customers there are positives – New distributors in areas previously unserved by TO, the products will be easily available worldwide.
– Adrien Bertin continues to develop the CRF engines for nVision and Team Orion
– Philippe Neidhart’s privately owned Swiss distribution company Neidhart SA is in full, wordwide control of both brands, Team Orion and nVision.
– New distributors for Team Orion and nVision worldwide. Interested companies can contact Neidhart SA at info@neidhartonline.com