Decathlon starts bike production in France
LILLE, France – In 2009 Decathlon will start producing bicycles in Lille. The bicycle assembly plant will bring employment for some 300 people when it is up and running at capacity. Rumours say that the French factory eventually is to produce
LILLE, France – In 2009 Decathlon will start producing bicycles in Lille. The bicycle assembly plant will bring employment for some 300 people when it is up and running at capacity. Rumours say that the French factory eventually is to produce one million bikes per year.
The plant will be part of Decathlon’s ‘B’Twin Bicycle Village’ in Lille, near the Belgian border. This Village is replacing previous plans to have a bike headquarters in Chambéry in the Alps. These new plans will be realised in 2009.
After the Chambéry plans were definitely over, the city of Lille proposed the 18 hectare former industrial site of Altadis, the French/Spanish national tobacco plant where Gauloises and Gitanes (the cigarettes, not the bicycles) were made to Decathlon. Altadis had greatly preferred to sell their real estate at a square meter price for offices and apartments, but in this case, the employment effect of keeping the grounds as an industrial estate weighs heavier for the city of Lille.
Next to the big bicycle assembly plant, the Decathlon village will get a bicycle R&D center. Lille’s mayor Martine Aubry said in the French newspaper Le Figaro that she has been convinced by the Decathlon management that bicycle assembly is still commercially viable in France. She underlines that no special subsidy of any kind has been promised to Decathlon.
A complete overview of Decathlon’s plans for its ‘B’Twin Bicycle Village’ is in Bike Europe’s August edition. Publication date is August 17.