Pierer, a growing electric bicycle giant, acquired Felt Bicycles | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

2021-11-25 07:30:09 By : Ms. Helen Ying

BRAIN, Austria-Pierer announced on Tuesday that Rossignol Groupe has sold felt bikes to Pierer Mobility, which is known as the parent company of the KTM motorcycle brand.

Rossignol acquired a bicycle brand in Southern California in 2017. 

Although Pierer has a long history in gasoline-powered bicycles, in recent years it has been aggressively entering electric bicycles and other low-voltage two-wheelers. In the United States, the Austria-based company began selling its Husqvarna electric bicycles in the United States and Canada earlier this year, mainly through its racing dealers.

Stefan Pierer, CEO of Pierer Mobility, said: "The acquisition of Felt Bicycles is fully in line with Pierer E-Bikes' overall strategy-to become a global player in the field of electric and non-electric two-wheel mobility. Electric bicycles cover all bicycle categories. Through FELT, we The ability to expand our bicycle product portfolio and enter the North American market with a mature high-performance brand. The company also actively participates in competition, which brings us additional attraction to us."

The company acquired Felt brand assets and business assets in Europe and North America. Felt employees will be integrated with Pierer E-BIkes Gmbh Group.

Rossi exits multi-brand bicycle strategy

The Felt sale was carried out after Rossignol sold its Time bicycle and Time pedal business earlier, and completed the exit of the French major brand from the bicycle multi-brand strategy. Rossignol will continue to sell Rossignol brand bicycles.

After acquiring Time in 2016 and Felt the following year, Rossignol told investors that it is vigorously promoting anti-seasonal products due to climate change making the ski business less reliable.

The company’s chief executive Bruno Cercley said in 2015: “Our goal is to supplement skiing with outdoor activities not related to winter sports, and to add a second pillar to the group so that it does not rely solely on Snow.” because the company is negotiating to take over the era after the death of its founder Roland Cattin.

"Bicycle is a huge potential and dynamic industry, which will be very complementary between winter and summer," Cercley added.

However, by 2020, the company found that the French-made frames of Time could not match the prices of competitors made in Asia, and sales fell rapidly, and announced plans to close, reorganize or sell Time's business. 

This spring, it sold the Time bike and frame business to a new company founded by American bicycle industry veteran Tony Karklins and a French partner. It sold Time's pedal and shoe business to SRAM, which recently resumed Time pedal production in Portugal. 

Rossignol never publicly announced its intention to sell Felt, but after Time was sold, this seemed inevitable.

In a statement on Tuesday, Rossignol stated that it will relaunch its own-brand bicycle series in 2022, some of which are translated as follows. 

The sale of Felt and refocusing our bicycle business on the Rossignol brand is fully in line with our strategy of deploying the Rossignol brand in multi-season mountain sports and a lifestyle inspired by mountain life. 

We embarked on a new stage of cycling development with great enthusiasm and ambition. Cycling is the strategic axis of the Rossignol Group. The group will now focus its resources and initiatives in the bicycle field on the development of the Rossignol brand and its series of mountain bikes and electric mountain bikes. 

The group will rely on the skills acquired since the acquisition of Felt in 2017, a new professional team and a new organization to ensure the successful public launch of the new Rossignol bicycle series from March 2022. We will continue to vigorously develop these activities in the next few years, cycling, especially in the mountains, will become more and more popular. 

"We hope that the Felt brand and its team will succeed in this new stage of development of the Pierer Mobility Group. The Pierer Mobility Group is the ideal partner to ensure a bright future for Felt. Cycling, especially in the mountains, is booming. Cycling is under the Rossignol brand. This has enriched and improved our long-established Winter brand image, and will allow the Group to take advantage of the huge potential of the Rossignol brand in the field of mountain sports and the four-season lifestyle in the long-term," said Vincent Wauters, President and CEO of Rossignol Group.

In a sense, this sale brings Felt back to the roots of motorcycles: the company's namesake and co-founder Jim Felt began to get involved in the motorcycle industry before (and after) welding custom triathlon frames in the late 1980s. . Later, he collaborated with Bill Duehring and Michael Müllmann to launch Felt as a complete bicycle brand in 2001. Jim Felt left the company in 2017, sold it to Rossignol a few months later, and Duehring left a year later.

Despite supply chain constraints, Pierer sold approximately 40,000 electric bicycles worldwide in the first half of 2021.

Pierer Mobility was known as KTM Industries Group before 2019. The company has nearly 5,000 employees and sales of 1.1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) in the most recent fiscal year and a half. It is traded on the Swiss Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PMAG. 

The company sells motorized two-wheelers under the KTM, Husqvarna and GASGAS brands. It also sells electric bicycles under the Husqvarna, R Raymon and GASGAS brands. After KTM went bankrupt in 1992, Stefan Pierer took over the company's motorcycle business.

(KTM bicycles and electric bicycles, which are rare in the United States, are manufactured and sold by KTM Fahrrad. KTM Fahrrad is another company that has a common relationship with Pierer but is not affiliated with Pierer. KTM Industries Group changed its name to Pierer Mobility Group. confusion.)

Last year, Pierer established an electric bicycle department, led by German electric bicycle pioneers Susanne and Felix Puello, former managing directors of the Winora Group of Accell Group. In March of this year, it announced a joint venture with battery manufacturer Varta to develop low-voltage lithium-ion battery systems. It also announced the establishment of a 50-50 joint venture with OEM bicycle manufacturer Maxcom LTD to expand its plant in Bulgaria, investing 40 million euros. A factory with an annual output of 350,000 electric bicycles is expected to go online in 2023.

Despite supply chain constraints, Pierer sold approximately 40,000 electric bicycles worldwide in the first half of 2021.

Husqvarna E-Bicycles will be launched in North America in early 2021. The brand now lists approximately 50 US distributors on its website-all powersport distributors. R Raymon and GASGAS electric bicycles have not yet been sold in the United States

What does this mean for Felt, which currently does not sell electric bicycles?

A Felt manager said that the cultural connection between Felt and Pierer's two rounds of brands is more focused than Rossignol's winter slide.

"Skiing is great, but I think two-wheel alignment is great," the manager said, noting that Pierer's brand is actively involved in motor racing around the world, just like Felt has a long history of supporting bicycles and athletes in triathlons. "They are all about optimizing the product to make it run quickly and become the best in the world. This is music to me," the manager said.

In recent years, Felt has removed mountain bikes, cruisers and e-bikes from its product line, focusing on speed: road and gravel bikes, triathlon bikes, and a small number of hybrid bikes.

Nonetheless, given Pierer's focus on mobility, it is not surprising to see Felt finally return to the electric bicycle market. Perhaps Felt electric bicycles are offered through IBD, and Husqvarna is still a motorsport dealer brand.

KTM recently started expanding its corporate campus in Murrieta, California, not far from Felt’s headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. The campus is adjacent to KTM’s private racing track, which includes two super cross-country tracks, two extreme cross-country tracks and a test area.

It is expected that Felt will remain at the current headquarters.

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