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Sparta ION Breaks Open Dutch Pedelec Market

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HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (Aug 30) – Sparta’s ION pedelec is a big success on the Dutch market (17,000 sold in the first six month of 2005, according to Sparta’s ‘mother’ Accell). However, the bike is not totally free of gremlins. Also the dealer margin was not too healthy. When considering the extra work that has to […]

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (Aug 30) – Sparta’s ION pedelec is a big success on the Dutch market (17,000 sold in the first six month of 2005, according to Sparta’s ‘mother’ Accell). However, the bike is not totally free of gremlins. Also the dealer margin was not too healthy. When considering the extra work that has to be put into selling (convincing the customer) an ION and the fair amount of servicing the bikes require, remuneration was low. Too low, according to Ron te Riele, CEO of retail organization Biretco. In one of the Biretco week-journals he ‘expressed his objections’ in no mean tones – to the level of advising the members of his buying organisation (700 plus) not to continue selling the ION! This week, Accell has given in to the demands of Biretco, and announced that ION’s will carry the same margin as all other Sparta bicycles. Reason being that the success of the ION has reached the state of a ‘fully grown’ product, and the high costs of R&D do not have to play a big role anymore. The change comes just in time for the introduction of the Batavus version of the ION, this autumn. For the 2006 season, some 25.000 to 27.000 units are planned, and that is just in the Sparta version. What the targets for the Batavus model are is as yet unknown.

Gazelle, the other big Dutch bike company has recently introduced the Easy Glider, it’s version of a pedelec. It seems the Dutch market is finally accepting the bikes, and has taken to them quickly. Despite the compulsory ‘moped’ insurance and the (still?) high end-user prices.(MH)

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