“By 2003 we will see price reductions,” said Roy Payne of Reflective Safety Products of Banbury, the UK agent for HellaBike lighting products.
“The product will remain the same because all the machinery and the tooling is being shipped out to China.”
The move starts in June. The HellaBike plant in Finland is working overtime to produce enough products to see the new joint venture through the hiatus of having its manufacturing capabilities on the water. By December, the Chinese factory should be churning out HellaBike products as though nothing had happened, said Payne.
The link with Sate-Lite also adds a greater range of reflectors to the HellaBike range, including niche ones such as those for flat spokes.
The 50:50 joint-venture is called Hella Sate-Lite Bike Lighting (Shunde) Co., Ltd., and will be based in in Shunde, Guangdong, China. HellaBike was part of the automotive supplier Hella KG Hueck & Co., of Lippstadt, Finland. Automotive parts will continue to be made in Finland.
The American Sate-Lite Manufacturing Company is based in Niles, Illinois. It has had a factory in Shunde since 1998. This will be expanded by 7000 sq m to accommodate the HellaBike machinery.
Sate-Lite president, Richard Van Deventer said: “The joint venture between Hella and Sate-Lite combines the strength of two well known and capable suppliers to the bicycle industry and gives them a unique combination of competitive cost structure and world-wide distribution for a full range of bicycle lighting and related products.”
Sales of Hella cycle lighting in Europe will be taken over by a newly founded German company Hella Bike Europe GmbH based in Nellingen near Ulm.
Shipping product to the UK will be cheaper from Germany than it is currently from Finland, said Payne.