Raleigh reaches end of assembly road
British manufacturing's decline accelerates with closure of famous cycle plant.
Saturday March 16, 2002
More than a century of bicycle assembly will come to the end of the road in Nottingham this year following the decision of one of the most famous names in British light manufacturing to bow to the effects of cheap far eastern competition.
Raleigh, which at its peak employed 8,000 people in the city, said it was finding it increasingly difficult to compete against imported finished bicycles from countries such as China and Taiwan.
"Advances in the quality and cost of cycles from the far eas t over the past two years, and the likelihood that this region will become even more competitive, mean that reinvestment in a new assembly plant in the UK cannot now be financially justified."
The European industry's position has been further weakened by the collapse of anti-dumping duties against several far eastern countries. Even with high tariffs in place, Chinese imports surged last year.
Mr Darnton said Raleigh remained committed to supplying quality cycles built to its own standards by partner suppliers overseas. He said the company would seek different suppliers for different types of bikes but refused to identify the countries from which they were likely to be sourced.
The company, which started life in Raleigh Street, Nottingham 116 years ago, expects to retain about 100 staff in its sales, distribution and design departments following the assembly shutdown, which is due to take place at the end of the year.