10 Mins with JRL Group on Automotive Trends

Andrew Lieb, president, JRL Group talks to License Global about the explosion of automotive licensing in the U.S.

Barbara Smith , Digital Editor

May 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Andy Lieb.
Andy Lieb. JRL Group

License Global: As an agent, how do you bring brands together? 

Lieb: At JRL Group, we look for brands that will strategically deliver harmonizing attributes that resonate with consumers. A successful brand collaboration should tap into and leverage their respective unique brand equities to create value. We look to create something I always like to say has “permission to play” that is unique and relevant to both parties. 

For example, with our client, Shelby, we are collaborating with Le Mans for a limited-edition Shelby x Le Mans collection of premium leather jackets and accessories. This collaboration brings two of the most iconic automotive brands in the world together to celebrate their rich history in racing. 


What is trending in automotive at the moment? 

No doubt, the excitement of auto racing over the past year has skyrocketed, partly fueled by Formula 1 expansion in the U.S., which has led to an overall demand for automotive and racing-themed products.  Consumers will always have a love affair with automobiles which leads to all sorts of opportunities within lifestyle and functional products. Over the past 12 months, JRL Group has significantly expanded the licensing programs for our automotive and motorsports clients including Shelby, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and World of Outlaws.  

Our licensees have tapped into an extensive library of images, vintage and contemporary logos and artwork to create and deliver unique products to consumers who have an affinity for automotive-themed products. 

We are also delighted to see retailers who don’t traditionally carry automotive-themed products begin to offer them to their consumers. From lifestyle products to home décor to functional products/tools, we have successfully expanded our clients’ licensing programs into new product categories, retail channels and territories.  


How do you see licensing as a whole changing over the next five years? 

Technology is never static and will always continue to evolve. As technology continues to change, so does our need in the licensing industry to adapt to changes including consumer purchasing behavior. Consumers will always have an affinity for specific brands and licensing programs will need to be creative and innovative to reach these consumers. Is also a fair assumption social media will continue to play a critical role in the way brands communicate with consumers. 

What excites you most about creating new collaborations? 

Collaborations allow brands to expand their creativity and reach, especially when working with two established and trusted brands. In these collaborations, our clients can elevate their brands to new heights, which potentially reaches new consumers. A collaboration may also open up new distribution channels or expand shelf space within an existing retailer. Again, we look for brands to collaborate with that will strategically complement and resonate with consumers. 

What can we expect from JRL Group for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025? 

JRL Group continues to focus on corporate and sports-related clients. Throughout this year and into early 2025, we will see many new, exciting, licensed product launches, including a full line of kitchen prep tools and small appliances under the Ginsu brand. Shelby will debut a few more collaborations and new licensed partners. We also have a number of new product launches for NHRA and World of Outlaws. 


This year, we will also launch a series of strategic board games powered by World Book Encyclopedia and its rich library of content. Our client, Estwing Tools, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the brand continues to expand worldwide with additional licensed products. Lastly, with our manufacturer representation, our clients will debut several new brand partnerships in late 2024 and early 2025. I look forward to meeting with everyone in our booth #F115 at Licensing Expo. 

About the Author(s)

Barbara Smith

Digital Editor , License Global

Barbara Smith is a Digital Editor for License Global. Based in the U.S., while Barbara's remit is general news coverage, she enjoys focusing on apparel, travel and social media throughout North America. Barbara loves all things fashion, fitness and food!

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