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<b>Portugal 2006:</b> After the Euphoria, the Slowdown

Sales & Trends

LISSABON, Portugal – After the incredible growth registered in 2005, with an increase of almost 100% in bike production, the output of the Portuguese industry is now in retreat. For two years in a row, Portuguese bike production stayed above the one million mark, an extraordinarily positive level for the industry. The numbers for 2006 […]

<b>Portugal 2006:</b> After the Euphoria, the Slowdown

LISSABON, Portugal – After the incredible growth registered in 2005, with an increase of almost 100% in bike production, the output of the Portuguese industry is now in retreat.

For two years in a row, Portuguese bike production stayed above the one million mark, an extraordinarily positive level for the industry. The numbers for 2006 were practically unchanged from 2005, but for 2007 there will be a significant shift.

The Bike Market in Portugal (x1000 units)*

 
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
Domestic production
580
690
1200
1200
900
Imports
81
70
65
70
135
Exports
370
530
980
980
700
Consumption
295
270
290
300
330

* estimates / Source: ACAP

 To begin with, total production has dropped to an estimated 900,000 units but domestic consumption has grown almost 10% overall. This growth is mainly supported by increasing demand for better quality bikes: the consumption of low-end bikes (produced in Portugal) dropped by around 30,000 bikes while the rush for imported ones went from the 70,000 to the 133,000 mark.

Trend

This has been the trend over the past few years but in 2007 it was much more significant. Although there are no official statistics, it seems that Specialized leads the way in the preferences of the Portuguese enthusiasts. A wide range, strong image and distribution network and effective after sales assistance have paved the way to the brand’s success.

BH and Orbea

As for production, Spanish firms continue to have a strong presence in Portugal. BH and Orbea, two of the biggest Spanish brands worldwide, each produce around 80,000 bikes per year, entirely for export. The majority are low-end bikes, since the rest of their product ranges are built in Taiwan or Spain (some high end models).

Paris Velib Scheme

A. J. Maias and Decanor both produce bikes for the same client, a major sports brand. The figures are relevant: the first company produces around 150,000 bikes, while the second reaches almost 190,000. All the bikes are shipped to the brand’s headquarters and then re-distributed all over Europe, with some of those units coming back to Portugal. The oldest of the Portuguese bicycle makers is Orbita, which is expected to produce over 50,000 units in 2007. 75% is for export, including bikes for its French partner Lapierre that supplies city bikes to the Paris Velib scheme.

Sirla is one of the brands that tries to have a line capable of competing with imported bikes on the Portuguese market, so they go a little higher in their range and it’s no surprise that 50% of their production is sold domestically. Most of the 50% of bikes that are exported are sold in Spain. The brand is expected to produce 45,000 units in 2007.

Spanish company Agece has moved its production line and now has capacity for 1,000 bikes/day, a rate that will be accomplished in 2008. At the moment, the firm is targeting production of 100,000 bikes until the end of this year, with 90% of them being exported, mainly to Spain, Belgium and France.

The Portuguese producer VAG is also a strong presence in the Portuguese market, keeping 60% of their 50,000 bikes in the country. The remaining 40% go to Spain. Avantisbike is exclusively producing bikes for two big retailers in Spain. At the moment the two clients are responsible for all of the 40,000 units ordered for 2007. Another domestic brand, Iberciclo, will produce around 8,000 bikes this year, all of them for supply to the Portuguese market. Output at Fundador, another traditional brand, will reach the 20,000-unit mark, with 40% bound for export to Spain.

Formerly a bike/frame builder, Esmaltina continues to assemble bikes. It is expected to produce 75,000 bikes this year, with just over half bound for export, mainly to Spain.

Interbike is another Spanish company operating in Portugal. Their Coluer brand is already well-known in the import bike market and can be found at specialized bike shops, with a range going from low to high-end models. Production should reach 35,000 units this year. The firm expects to sell 2,000 bikes in Portugal, and export the remaining 33,000 units to the brand’s country of origin.

Sangal is a small assembler that is producing bikes for two well-known French brands. From a total of 15,000 units this year, 10,000 are going to these customers.

Positive

Regardless of the significant drop in bike production and exports, the overall figures are positive and nobody appears to be worried about the prospects for 2008. Another curious fact is that almost every sector in Portugal is in crisis. But the bike business keeps on rocking and the industry continues to enjoy the good times.

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