The Taiwan Bicycle
Manufacturing Industry Review

More Whispers – Fuji Carbon Road Bike $US 1,148

Glenn Reeves

I visited another of my dealers on Friday. Late last year he chose to become a Fuji distributor, so he mainly carries Fuji, but also other selected brands. It seems like Fuji are planning to fire their own shot in the cut-price carbon-bike wars that Giant (1 and 2) launched recently. (Not to mention an alloy-model response to this as well).

The deal is to offer a carbon model for $NT36,800 ($US 1,148). It’s not clear what the the components will be, but you could assume it would be Shimano 105. The wheelset would have to be pretty basic as well.

The offer to dealers is if you sell 3 units (of a particular model specified by Fuji) from existing stocks , you get 1 of these to sell. However, you are not able to chose the size you want. It’s a fairly basic incentive to push dealers to get existing product into the market, the “reward” being this cheap carbon model.

Unsurprisingly, the dealer is not too enthusiastic. Dealing with the extremely soft market at the moment requires space to be flexible. This offer really restricts the options you can take. The advantage rests more with the manufacturer than the dealer.

Looking at it from a consumer’s point of view, it’s hard to see how this would be all that attractive. Consumers are just not purchasing bikes, and the majority of dealers are looking run down existing stocks in the peak buying time this month, and, to a degree,  next month, so they go into the winter light on stock.

The focus is on March 2011  and the beginning of the run into the  peak sales season–this year is basically a write-off. And if consumers are just not buying, then there is not much sense in driving prices so low. This is the probably the heart of the issue. Going into next season low on stock may also act to support prices and margins as the new season unfolds. Dealers certainly deserve this in face of such a severe turn-down.

At any rate, it seems that the twists and turns in this overall saga are increasing as the summer wears on. Interesting to see what the next chapter may bring.

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