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Hero Group to Launch CycloMoto

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KUMARKAUSHALAM, India (January 4th) – The $1.8 billion Hero Group is getting ready to launch motor-fitted bicycles by January 2004. Under the Cyclomoto name, the group plans to offer bicycles fitted with 25-cc engines. The group is aiming at a price-range of approx. USD 100,- per unit. Once the project is commercialised, the group plans […]

KUMARKAUSHALAM, India (January 4th) – The $1.8 billion Hero Group is getting ready to launch motor-fitted bicycles by January 2004.

Under the Cyclomoto name, the group plans to offer bicycles fitted with 25-cc engines. The group is aiming at a price-range of approx. USD 100,- per unit. Once the project is commercialised, the group plans to address the vast bicycle market with standard 25-cc engine kits (which can be fitted to existing bicycles) as well as completely motor-fitted bicycles.
In test conditions, the product gives a fuel efficiency of 80km per litre and a maximum speed of 20 km per hour. All these details sound very familiar for those of us who remember the 30cc Sachs engine-in-wheel system – which was, in it’s own right, quite successful. (MH)

Special Bank Loans for Cars

XINHUA, China (January 4th) – Chinese consumers are buying cars at an breakneck speed, spurred on by new government policies that allow banks to lend on vehicles and, for some of them, by a desire to impress the neighbours. More than 3.91 million of the 4 million motor vehicles manufactured between January and November 2003 were sold.
“China’s auto demand is expected to rise to 10 million by 2010, second only to North America,” said Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission in mid-December.
Rising income accounts for only part of the buying frenzy. A car, like a laptop computer and a house, has long been regarded as a coveted emblem of a middle-class life.
The Chinese Government’s policy to encourage individuals to buy cars or houses in installments through bank credits has boosted consumption of luxury items. The concept of credit is relatively new in China.
source:China Daily

AGU Takes On SRAM in Netherlands

AMERSFOORT, Netherlands (January 5th) – SRAM Corporation has signed a 5-year agreement with AGU BV for the distribution of SRAM and RockShox after market products in the Netherlands. “After market business for SRAM in the Netherlands has been growing significantly over the last few years. We were no longer able to meet the market demands based on our existing distribution structure. To offer comprehensive service and have readily available stock levels we needed a larger distributor for this market”, says Robert Priest, SRAM global After Market manager. “We had two possibilities: One, we could either provide an opportunity for the current distributors to combine their business (Vertex Cycle Systems and Koch Kleeberg BV), or two, look for a larger distribution partner. Unfortunately the first solution became unfeasible when Koch Kleeberg took the decision to change its business direction, having less focus on its Bicycle Accessories Business”.
Having worked with both companies for many years, it has been a difficult decision for SRAM to look for a new partner. AGU had shown initial interest in previous years in working with SRAM, which lead to this decision. Since service and logistics are a common focus of SRAM and AGU, the process of reaching an agreement came relatively quick.
SRAM and AGU will launch the program towards the retailers and wholesalers at the Amsterdam RAI Fietsvak show in February. AGU will be officially taking over the distribution role on March 1st, 2004. (MH)

Bianchi Joins Forces with Alessio

MILAN, Italy (January 5th) – The departure of Jan Ullrich (the runner-up in the Tour de France 2003) has not lessened the appetite of Bianchi for pro-sponsoring. After Ullrich’s near-victory they saw road bikes sales going up some 20%, a good reason to join forces with Team Alessio for the 2004 season. The team will consist of 13 Italian top riders, joined by 6 from Scandinavia. Combined with Bianchi’s focus on the higher end of the market, this could be a successfull move. The lower end of the price scale is being dealt with by Legnano bicycles, also part of the Cycleurope group – saillant detail is that Legnano used to supply bikes to the King of all cyclists: Fausto Coppi. (MH)

Accell Shuffles Top-Management
HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (December 23rd) – A re-shuffle within the higher echelons of the Accell management has led to two new appointments. Jeroen Snijders Blok, formerly of Sparta, will be appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Accell management, bringing the number to three directors in total. His task will include production, planning, purchasing and logistics. At the same time it was announced that Rob Beset is to become General Director of Batavus, replacing René Takens who is the Accell CEO and also will concentrate on his tasks of finance, staff and automation. By redistributing Beset’s responsibilities, there is no need to seek a replacement for his position as Batavus’ Commercial Director – for the position of Mr.Snijders Blok this is the case – and talks are being conducted at the moment. The plan is to introduce a new General Director for Sparta on the 1st of February 2004.(MH)

Sapim Walks Alone in 2004

WILRIJK, Belgium (December 23rd) – Belgian spoke manufacturer Sapim has announced that it will take care of business in Holland from its own offices. This means that importer Koch-Kleeberg will not be handling the affairs of Sapim anymore. According to Paul Parein of Sapim the company hopes by this move to be able to offer better service to the Dutch wholesalers and to be able to meet the delivery times agreed upon.(MH)

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