Phillip Darnton, Raleighs MD for a fortnight, gave the keynote speech each day and gave a frank, American-style appraisal of the production problems Raleigh suffered from in 1999.
Raleighs move from Triumph Road to an unspecified Nottingham-environs brownfield site within four years was also revealed.
Many IBDs came away from the day with the impression which probably wasn't the intention that Derby-owned Raleigh will be pushing Derby-owned Diamondback just as much as the home-grown brand.
As revealed on the BikeBiz website back in November, Raleigh Cycle Centres (aka 5-Stars) will gradually evolve into Derby Cycle Centres, with the other Derby brands being available as well as Raleigh.
This transformation took concrete form on one of the freebies given out to IBDs. This was a black Cordura shoulder bag which contained Raleigh bike brochures and was imprinted with a large chainlink. One half of the link was a Union Jack, the other half was the Stars and Stripes. Some text above the link read: Linked to succeed.
Raleighs move late last year to end UK frame production makes perfect business sense. And Raleigh isnt alone. Today it has been announced that major US manufacturer Brunswick will cease US (and Mexican) production in favour of imports from Asia. This follows a similar announcement by Huffy at around the same time as the Raleigh news, which put 600 people out of work.
In a recent Raleigh press release Derby Cycle Corporation CEO Gary Matthews said the move to Asia was inevitable: Raleigh has set in place a strategy to reduce costs, increase competitiveness and drive share growth in the future. Whilst sad to see the end of frame production in Nottingham, we remain committed to the Raleigh heritage of quality and design which has long been central to Raleighs success.
Despite tough trading conditions in the UK market, Raleighs share remains high at around 25 percent. Second half sales performance continues to see a positive upswing, and since July unit volume has been up over 20 percent on this time last year.