Bike Manufacturing Returns to US by Kent
MANNING, USA – Kent International has started production of bicycles in Manning, South Carolina. Some twenty years ago the last US produced bikes rolled off the Huffy assembly lines. Kent is the first bike maker in the US that re-shores production from Asia.
Is it the start of a new trend? Looking at today’s Trelock report re-shoring production is currently taking place in Europe and now, with the example of Kent International, also in the US. The company started production in a former lawn mower facility of some 200,000-square-foot on October 15.
Bicycle Corporation of America
Kent International founded a subsidiary called Bicycle Corporation of America for handling the bike production in Manning. According to local newspaper reports Kent International CEO and chairman, 64-year-old Arnold Kamler, plans to invest US$ 4.3 million (€ 3.4m) and bring 175 jobs to the County. Currently the plant has 48 workers producing 20-inch bikes sold through Wal-Mart.
The start of bike production in the US is part of an Wal-Mart initiative to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States. The world’s biggest retailer has committed itself to spending US$ 250 billion (€ 197b) over 10 years on products that support American jobs. Wal-Mart started this program in January 2013.
Changing sourcing landscape
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility, Kent CEO Kamler said the company is targeting a production of more than one million units over the next four years starting with 200,000 units in the first year. He also referred to the changing sourcing landscape due to increased energy and transportation costs while he also noted that he is encouraging companies to move components production to the US. According to the local newspaper report, Kent International sources yearly some 3 million bikes in Asia currently.