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Villiger Stops Production in Switzerland

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BUTTISHOLZ, Switzerland (February 1) – As a result of the transfer of production to the former Diamant works in Hartmannsdorf, Germany, 22 people will be made redundant at the Swiss manufacturing site of Villiger. 22 of the 60 remaining staff in Switzerland will get their dismissal on June 1, 2002. The once proud flagship of […]

BUTTISHOLZ, Switzerland (February 1) – As a result of the transfer of production to the former Diamant works in Hartmannsdorf, Germany, 22 people will be made redundant at the Swiss manufacturing site of Villiger. 22 of the 60 remaining staff in Switzerland will get their dismissal on June 1, 2002. The once proud flagship of the Swiss bicycle industry will then have shrunk from 125 staff in 2000 to 38 (including P&A business), and the brand will be no more than a trade business. Only handwork to remain in Switzerland is the final check of all imported Villiger, Arrow and Tigra models. Villiger expects to sell in Switzerland 22.000 units for the three makes combined this year.
One of the reasons for the demise of the bicycle production In Switzerland, which counted on ‘Swiss Made’ as a universal and worldwide sales argument, is the fact that the Swiss quality bike couldn’t be exported to neighbouring countries like Germany, France, Italy or Austria because Switzerland as a non-EU member had the same import duties as bicycles imported from the Far East. Next to Villiger also another big bike name in Switzerland recently stopped. Cilo was liquidated at the end of 2001.
The transfer of the production to Diamant, which for the bigger part already took place last year, proved to be the beginning of the end. The big question is whether the faithful Swiss dealers will swallow this shift away from the ‘Swiss Made’-quality mark. At last year’s IFMA, Heinrich Villiger still claimed that home production would continue. But the financial basis for the over 50 different models offered in both Switzerland and Germany may not have been so sound as suggested. (PH)

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