A few people saw a comment by the North American representative for Teutonia strollers in the tire gunk post yesterday and were all, "Whoa, Teutonia's in the US??"
The answer is a definitive ja. Teutonia is the original Mercedes of strollers, the high-end, high-performance national favorite of Germany. They were big and smooth and expensive when Bugaboo was just a prototype made out of tent poles, wheelbarrows, and totebags.
And as with the Bugaboo, their price requires a very high-touch, dealer-like selling process. Which may explain why Teutonia's US website is entirely set up like a car site, with a custom configurator and dealer locator.
This build-your-own approach certainly helps draw attention to the features and various components of the system--there are three chassis types; two wheel options; car seat, bassinet and seats to color-coordinate; 9 solid fabrics to choose from; 18 unfortunate prints to somehow avoid; and a pile of accessories--without quite getting to the essence of the Teutonia value proposition.
For example, both the 4-wheel t-100 and the 3-wheel t-200 chassis are described with identical language: "trimmer, sportier scale"; "light and nimble"; "handles with ease"; "nimbly and smoothly"; "the lightest and trimmest." Their dimensions and weights are nearly identical, too.
The t-300 chassis, by contrast, is "the cornerstone of the teutonia chassis collection"; "sturdy, steady, safe and strong." In other words, a tank that buries nimble under a mountain of sausage and eats it for breakfast. If Teutonia is the Mercedes of strollers, the t-300 is the 1990's, W140 S-Class, the company's over-engineered, over-reaction to the Lexus threat.
But just as with station wagons, diesels, and manual transmissions, the German strollers that make it to the US are only a small fraction of the domestic offerings. The Teutonia line in the Fatherland has 11 models. [If you're playing at home, in Germany, the t-100 is the Fun CS; t-200 is the Spirit S3; and t-300 is the Mistral S, not to be confused with the Mistral or Mistral P.] And while it might induce a bit of domestic market envy, like how the US doesn't get even one of the 95 compact diesel station wagon options available in Europe, I suggest checking out the German Teutonia site, just to see what the damn things look like. Because even after you build and outfit your rig on the US configurator, you have little idea of what the whole thing will look like.
As for what it costs and where to buy it, that's a discussion Teutonia wants you to have with one of the handful of old-school baby retailers across the country who are launching the line. So head to Albee's on the Upper West Side, or plan your cross-country drive to stop in Lincoln, Nebraska, so you can pop into Baby Town/Kids Stuff. But don't look to buy it online, because that's apparently not how Teutonia rolls.
For now, because what's this I see on the bottom of the Teutonia USA website? "Division of Newell Rubbermaid"?? Holy crap, people, Teutonia is Graco's German cousin? When did that happen? Last summer, apparently. And while digging around for the press release, I see that Newell Rubbermaid acquired Aprica in February?? Looks like I picked the wrong week to go on vacation.