Peloton pedals into new territory with plans for Ohio factory
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Peloton, the bike and treadmill maker that gives you a live, online workout from home, says it’s opening a factory in Ohio. It no longer plans to rely solely on suppliers in Asia, as demand for Peloton units in the pandemic surged and the company couldn’t keep up.
It’s been the best and worst of times for Peloton: In May, the company voluntarily recalled its Tread+ and Tread treadmill machines after safety concerns were raised. But sales also soared in the pandemic, for obvious reasons, but so did angry customers, who endured delay after delay for their high-end exercise machines. Asian factories couldn’t keep up, said Kendall Young at the brand management firm SpinCycle.
“The companies I talk to here, a number of them in the cycling industry, are very seriously considering at least a hybrid manufacturing model, where some products will be manufactured here in the United States, and some will be in Asia still,” Young said.
Peloton plans some manufacturing in northwest Ohio, though the plant won’t be ready for two years. Will we still be pedaling from home then? That’s a big risk. Another is that Peloton will still be importing bike and treadmill parts from faraway Asia.
“To the United States, it’s six weeks across the water, and then you’ve got to ship it to wherever your fabrication and production facility is,” said marketing consultant Rick Vosper.
It’s a big bet for a company that, for now, leads the pack.
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