On Saturday in 27th December 2008 the Bangkok Post was full of stories to give us hope that Global Warming may be slowed down. Page 1 predicted a 35% drop in Thai car production for 2009 and B2 in a story headed ” Two wheels good” reported a boom for Taiwan bicycle maker “Giant”.
I wanted to send these to you but the POst website search engine is not working properly so instead a little old story from last July might cheer you up.
Hopefully a greener 2009 is in store.
Two wheels good
Bicycle makers enjoying a windfall as drivers seek cheaper ways to get around
PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP and CHAROEN KITTIKANYA
Concerns among consumers about the high oil-driven cost of living have provided a windfall for bicycle manufacturers.
LA Bicycle (Thailand) Co says sales for all of its models grew by 15% in the first half of this year, about three percentage points more than expected. The increasing demand was clearly seen in April when fuel prices skyrocketed.
“After oil prices jumped, the government tried hard to encourage people to use alternative energy. The demand of our bicycles, particularly the LA E-Ride electric model, rose more than 20% in April and May when compared to the same period last year,” said marketing director Jantana Tiyawatchalapong.
Because electric bicycles are growing more popular worldwide, LA Bicycle plans to spend 70 million baht to add a new production line at its factory in Sampran district, Nakhon Pathom in November. The production capacity of electric bicycles will rise to between 30,000 and 50,000 units per year, up from 10,000 currently.
The output will serve both domestic and export markets including Europe. The countries that are interested in buying LA electric bicycles include Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
“With the change in consumer behaviour, we are conducting a feasibility study to set up new bicycle factories with our partners in India and Vietnam in the next few years,” Ms Jantana said.
Last year the company sold 650,000 bicycles excluding electric bikes and it is expected that the demand will grow by 15-20% this year. It exported almost 100,000 units last year and expects the figure will exceed 140,000 this year.
Sangsun Prachaanuwong, assistant managing director of Probike, the country’s leading specialty bike store, said sales of upmarket bicycles were also on the rise in both Bangkok and provinces.
Initially, the company dealt mainly in mountain bikes for off-road use, but it has increased its range of city bicycles to cater to growing demand.
Probike distributes the leading international brands Trek and Gary Fisher, and its own Challenger brand.
“People are more concerned with their health. Concerns about saving energy are also increasing,” he said.
Probike’s sales are expected to increase this year by 15% from 7,000 units last year. Average growth was about 10% over the last few years.
According to Mr Sangsun, the best-selling units were affordable models priced in a range of 10,000 to 11,000 baht each. The company currently sells only bikes with 24 gears or more, which carry a low import tax of 1%, against up to 10% for those with fewer speeds.
“We foresee upmarket bikes as very promising if the government and Bangkok authorities pay more attention to working out measures to promote the use of bicycles by commuters,” said Mr Sangsun.