As a survey led in 2008 by TNSDirect for bike4all.com, and related by B2BIKE.com, shows, bicycle brands like Peugeot and Gitane are (still) top-of-mind brands in France. Although these brands stopped selling bikes for several years now, these “traditional” names are quoted by a lot of Frenchmen, one of the reasons might be that Poulidor, Mercier and even Gitane-bikes are sold at very cheap prices in French supermarkets.
As the previous histogram shows, brands which don’t exist anymore are very often quoted by the interviewees : Decathlon nowadays sells bikes under the brands B’twin (6th position) and Rockrider (not quoted), Peugeot has marginal bicycle sales and is distributed by about 40 authorized Peugeot-dealers, Gitane and Mercier are currently cheap supermarket bikes and Motobecane doesn’t exist since 1984 at all (the brand MBK survived to Motobécane’s bankruptcy and as a fair spontaneous notoriety).
Even though it reveals that the French bicycle market offers a huge number of brands and that consumers seem to be lost within that abundant offer, Cycleurope tackles this issue in a quite courageous way : they bet on the revival of these brands ! Strengthened by the notoriety of Gitane and Peugeot, and fairly aware of the asset that it represents, the Grimaldi Group (owner of Cycleurope, which already runs brands like Bianchi and Monark) decide to take the plunge and awake Gitane and Peugeot (at the request of Peugeot Cars HQs). The existing Gitane range will indeed be expanded with a top-of-the-range brand called Definitive Gitane, and Peugeot will extent its distribution network and eventually launch a Peugeot e-Bike.
To give credit to Gitane’s revival, Cycleurope Industries developped an additional range of high-performance bikes that meet the competitor’s expectations : cross-country hardtrails and fullies in the MTB-segment, a small range of road bikes topped by “The One“, on which the pro-riders from Saur-Sojasun will compete in 2010. Smaller partnerships were announced like the creation of the French Team ASPTT Definitive Gitane on the national MTB stage.
Peugeot bikes (the car manufacturer recently unveiled a new logo) will be manufactured in the French factory of Romilly/Seine and will be sold by Cycleurope, as Toni Grimaldi told Bike Europe a couple of days ago at the official launch of Peugeot Bikes, and they will be distributed both in Cycleurope’s dealer-network (France and abroad) and via Peugeot car dealers, although I guess that’s not the distribution channel that brings them the highest number of sales… The range will include a road racer, a mountainbike, a hybrid/trekking and a city bike which will all be painted black&white. As Peugeot now pushes into the market of electric vehicles, they announced the development of an e-Bike with the Amercians from Ultra Motor.
The move is courageous but clever : two brands with a very high awareness among – at least France’s – cyclists make a credible comeback on the front stage. I’ll certainly be watching the Definitive Gitane bikes on the roads at pro races, Peugeot may gain significant market share by flooding Velo & Oxygen-stores in France and Peugeot-dealers worldwide with their tiny bicycle range. Good luck !