Bicycle production is set to beat car manufacturing by three to one within a year

Bikes on track to outstrip cars by 3:1

The number of bicycles produced during 2010 could outnumber cars by three to one, according to latest research.

A booming bike trade, plus a struggling automobile industry,
will see the cycling trade outperform the car business in
terms of volume, according to a report published by the Earth
Policy Institute.

And those companies BikeBiz has surveyed have confirmed
that the industry is on a steep trajectory – in direct contrast to
the car trade.

Take Giant’s (the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer)
latest financials. Production lines have been at full capacity for
some time – something expected to continue until mid-
to-late 2009 – across the brand’s several Far East factories. August saw a record month in terms of revenues for Giant, with $42.19 million earned. Most staff in Taiwan are also reported to be receiving Christmas bonuses to the tune of two months’ wages.

Raleigh UK sales director, Phil Rickaby told BikeBiz: “Supply for our full range of completes is running at about 97 per cent and demand is increasing, especially for adult bikes. We’ve seen steady growth in complete bike sales for some time and I project that to continue through 2009.”

Cube Bikes marketing manager, Mario Hartloper told BikeBiz: “We are pretty busy at Cube – sales are outrunning production at times. And as it is cheaper to run a bike than a car, sales will be okay for a while – as long as the world sees the utility side of bikes and not just the sports aspect. Growth is in everyday bikes, (as in Holland) which will lighten the load on the environment and pocket.”

Although optimistic that the gap between the two industries’
figures will continue to broaden, Hartloper did warn: “We should note that a lot of that production is Chinese, and their economy seems to be losing its momentum. It’s also a question of what the spread will be of those bikes: EU, US or Asia? It sometimes feels like the rest of the world is getting into cars, when we’re going bike mad.”

Another sign that 2009 will see rapid unit growth comes from the e-bike market, where some companies are reporting 100 per cent growth year-on-year. Wazz Mughall, MD of Powacycle reported: “During 2008 we doubled the previous year’s production and sales figures. The same is projected for 2009 as retailers begin to embrace the electric market. The fact that sales are matching production is fantastic for us as it’s constantly freeing up cash for research and development, meaning we have some big news lined up for 2009 onwards.”

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