Last week, Colnago Ernesto & C. srl of Cambiago, Italy, became a sponsor member of the A-Team, a Taiwan-based sourcing and product promotion group. A-Team includes members Giant, Merida, SRAM and other Taiwan-based component makers.
Colnago, the first Italian company to join the A-Team, joins the US National Bicycle Dealer Association, Scott USA, Specialized and Trek.
The relationship with the A-Team will enable Colnago to source "top-quality mid-range complete road bicycles from the top-tier of Taiwan bicycle manufacturing," said Colnago, "ensuring that Asian-sourced bicycles that bear the Colnago name are equal quality to the mid-range bicycle models formerly sourced in Italy.
Colnago's top-end bikes will still be promoted as 'Made in Italy'.
At this point in time, in Italy, and in Europe it is unfortunately no longer feasible to cost-effectively manufacture mid and low end bicycles," said Ernesto Colnago.
"[We aren't] interested in low-end bicycles; its not in our DNA. So after several years of research and careful investigation, Colnago has decided to manufacture several mid-range complete bicycle models in Taiwan. Why? First of all, at Colnago, we understand that its important for people who are buying their first racing bicycle, or dont have a lot of money, that the bicycle they buy offers the best performance and value for their money. This is what our customers have been asking for.
Second, for a number of years, we have been observing many manufacturers in Italy have been moving their production to Asia. The majority of bicycles with American and European brands are actually made in the Far East.
We have now made an important choice for our customers. Let me be completely clear; all Colnago bicycles will be designed and engineered in our Cambiago, Italy headquarters as always. But starting later in 2005, we will have two different production sources for Colnago bicycles. ALL of our high-end bicycles will be made in Italy as they have been since 1954. All of our mid-range bicycles will be designed in Italy and produced in Taiwan."
Colnago doesn't want IBDs and consumers to think this the beginning of the end of producing innovative products:
"Dont worry," he stresses, "we are developing at our Cambiago headquarters many exciting new high-end products for 2006.
He sees the move to Taiwan as step he had to take:
Today, most Italian bicycle makers build product in Taiwan and China, but few will admit it. At Colnago, we see too many products that have a Made in Italy label, but in reality, we know are made in Asia. Colnago, with our serious approach that has always set us apart from the bicycle manufacturers, are openly stating that thanks to our collaboration with the A-Team, we will be sourcing some mid-range bicycles in Asia. But our usual customers, who count on Made In Italy high-end bicycles should rest assured that these bicycles and all new models to come from Colnago will continue to be conceived, developed, tested and built in Italy.
Colnagos Asian sourced mid-range complete bicycle models will be available exclusively in European and Asian markets and not North America.