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E-Bike Motor Maker Go SwissDrive Liquidated

Sales & Trends

GAMS, Switzerland – In some three months, the second maker of e-bike drive systems is forced to stop its activities. After the receiver of insolvent BionX Canada Inc. sold the company’s assets late October 2018; now the curtain drops for Go SwissDrive. After operating in the e-bike market for eight years, this e-bike motor maker is liquidated by its owner, the Ortlinghaus Group. Striking is that both BionX and Go SwissDrive were makers of rear wheel hub motors.

E-Bike Motor Maker Go SwissDrive Liquidated
Go SwissDrive owner Ortlinghaus emphasizes that imminent insolvency wasn’t reason for liquidation. – Photo

Go SwissDrive informed its business relations January 8 on its liquidation. Yesterday, this news was brought to press. Go SwissDrive owner, the Ortlinghaus Group, decided “To terminate activities in the business area of electromobility and to liquidate Go SwissDrive AG in Gams in the Swiss Rheintal (manufacturing) and Go SwissDrive GmbH in Wermelskirchen near Cologne (service center).” Both are subsidiaries of Ortlinghaus; a leading specialist in the production and sale of clutch and brake systems for various industries.

‘Price-sensitive market’

For outsiders, the announcement comes as a surprise; especially since there were no financial problems obvious in contrast to BionX. The global operating Ortlinghaus Group with 25 subsidiaries and 550 employees could easily afford even an only modest e-bike drive production. The company only vaguely mentions a reason for the Go SwissDrive liquidations. It says “The further development of the peripherals (connectivity), which the customer expects more and more in the premium segment, raises an increasingly higher effort. In a price-sensitive market these investments are difficult to recoup in the long term”. For industry experts, however, it seems clear that the profitability was probably too low and the competition from mid-motor suppliers too fierce.

Services maintained

Ortlinghaus emphasizes that an imminent insolvency wasn’t the reason for the liquidation but that it had opted for an orderly withdrawal within the next twelve months. Ortlinghaus says “We will continue to honour our contractually agreed obligations, deliver orders already placed and maintain all services and warranties”. For example, a second tranche with 2,000 drive system for the Swiss bike rental company Publibike, one of the largest Go SwissDrive customers ever, is due to be delivered this year. “Furthermore, we offer the opportunity to make last call orders with a warranty of twelve months. Until December 2019, the range of services and warranties will be handled like before by GO SwissDrive AG, Gams and GO SwissDrive GmbH, Wermelskirchen. From 2020, Ortlinghaus GmbH in Gams will assume further responsibility,” as the Ortlinghaus statement says.

Swiss bike rental company Publibike is one the largest Go SwissDrive customers; its fleet contains 5,500 e-bikes. – Photo Publibike

Swiss bike rental company Publibike is one the largest Go SwissDrive customers; its fleet contains 5,500 e-bikes. – Photo Publibike

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