Stihl was first sold in South Africa by the importer Dowson & Dobson from 1956 – 1962 with the Sales manager, Mr Bill Seaward. In 1962 a partnership between Motor & General and Stihl started in a very small way and grew into a highly successful dealer/manufacturer relationship. In 1983 Williams Hunt Industrial which made Stihl a well known household brand in the South African forestry industry. In 1988 it became known as WHID Power Products. In 1996 Stihl established the first Stihl subsidiary on the African continent - Andreas Stihl (Pty) with David Hutton as General Manager.


The humble beginnings of this partnership started in 1962 when a representative from the Stihl factory in the then West Germany, came to South Africa to establish a dealership here. One of his calls was on Motor & General Supplies (Pty) Ltd where it was his unenviable task to try and persuade a conservative management to take on the Stihl franchise in South Africa.


On his return to West Germany this poor fellow had a meeting with Mr. Andreas Stihl where he had the embarrassing ordeal of telling him that a large South African company had ordered the grand total of five chainsaws, this at a cost of several thousand Deutsch Marks. The five chainsaws were duly shipped to South Africa and Motor & General had to market a Stihl 08, two Stihl 07's and two Stihl Lightnings.


These models were soon to become household names in the South African timber industry and Motor General imported Stihl chainsaws by the container-load, some 620 units at a time.


Stihl itself grew from strength to strength in the 20 plus years that Motor & General had been their South African dealers.


In line with the progress made by Stihl, Motor & General came a long way since that first order for five chainsaws was placed back in 1962. The Stihl division of the company grew tremendously in size and represented a sizable portion of Motor & General's turnover.


The late Bill Seaward, who joined the company from the importer Dowson & Dobson, was the first manager of the chainsaw division in Natal. He was faced with the mammoth task of converting the timber industry from axes and saws, not an easy task in South Africa at the time where labour was both cheap and plentiful.


Seaward's successor was the late Fred Griebert who moved from Nelspruit to Durban to take up the appointment as manager of the Stihl division in 1968. He was trained by Volkswagen in West Germany and came to South Africa as a mechanic. He worked for a garage in Nelspruit and later joined Farmec to sell chainsaws.


The Stihl division of Motor & General was under the management of David Hutton, who had been involved with chainsaws since 1964. He was first introduced to the chainsaw industry by Robby Walker of F.G. License (Pty) Ltd and while with this company was given thorough training in all aspects of chainsaws and industry needs in this regard.


After taking over the reigns of the Stihl division at Motor & General in October 1982 the division continued to grow and strengthen its position in the market. The then range of Stihl professional chainsaws – models 028 AVEQ, 038 AVEQ and 048 AVEQ – quickly gained respect in the competitive professional market. The introduction of Stihl Oilomatic chain principle further improved Stihl's image locally and fast became a respected chain.


In 1988 WHID Power Products took over this operation with Dave Hutton seeing to the operations. 1996 the first Stihl subsidiary on the African continent – Andreas Stihl (Pty) Ltd with Dave Hutton as General Manager.


In November 1996, the international STIHL group – manufacturer of chainsaws, brushcutters and other outdoor power tools – established a marketing subsidiary, Andreas Stihl (Pty) Ltd in Pietermaritzburg. The company was officially opened by Mr Hans Peter Stihl.


The STIHL group had at the time been selling chainsaws in South Africa for more than 50 years and South Africa was regarded as an important market for STIHL products. The company felt it was time to establish its own marketing subsidiary in this country to keep control of the brand. Thus the establishment of a marketing subsidiary in Pietermaritzburg.


In 2002 the company made an investment of R5 000 000 in Pietermaritzburg - land was purchased in the Campsdrift area where the new warehouse and office block were established. Mr Hans Peter Stihl will be officially opening the building in May 2004.


Today STIHL sells in excess of 2,5 million power heads throughout the world every year, ranging from chainsaws, brushcutters, trimmers, cut-off machines, blowers, sprayers to hedgetrimmers. The SA marketing subsidiary is a fully integrated member of the STIHL group. This means that the South African operation benefits from the know-how, experience and international importance of the STIHL company. STIHL is the world market leader in chainsaws and almost every third chainsaw sold in the world comes off its production lines. STIHL's world market share in petrol powered cut-off machines is even higher.


STIHL's excellent international market position and its successful business growth are primarily due to three critical factors:
• Its self-imposed standards to manufacture technologically advanced products of the very highest quality. STIHL invests more in research and product development than any of its competitors in the field and launches numerous new products every year.
• Its policy to sell its products exclusive through servicing dealers who are in a position to provide the customer service necessary for its high quality outdoor power equipment.
• Its efficient, worldwide sales and distribution organisation.


The South African marketing subsidiary, Andreas Stihl (Pty) Ltd is managed by Hayden Hutton {General Manager}, a specialist in the chainsaw and power tool business. He and his team have ensured targeted coverage of local markets, provided dealers with technical and commercial training and support and have maintained smooth and trouble-free supplies of STIHL products and spare parts to the market.