By Gaetan Bayle
Owner of EV Showroom in Lyon, France
LEV Conference, Taipei, March 2005
Mr. Bayle, who is a newcomer to the international LEV audience, gave a presentation with a lot of insight information and striking facts on the French market. In 2000, he opened the first specialized pedelec shop in France, in the city of Lyon. Today, EV Showroom imports and distributes major European and American LEV brands and supports the development of a specialist dealer network for LEVs in France. Mr. Bayle has initiated numerous promotion activities in France. His latest project is an LEV magazine for end users.
In his speech in Taipei, Gaetan Bayle pointed out a paradox of the French pedelec market as a result of its history. Before the year 2000, Yamaha and Peugeot sold quality products at around1400 Euros with Ni-CD battery, 25 kg weight and improving quality. In 2000, both companies stopped mainly because the dealers were not really interested in pedelecs. The result was a drop of the LEV market, which was then pulled up by electric scooters until 2004. The problems here were high price, low quality, unprofessional dealers, not street legal, and an immense price drop in 2004. A new road registration finally led the e-scooter market down to zero. At this moment, former e-scooter dealers looked into pedelecs to continue their business with a more serious product, that was easier to operate (no insurance, helmet etc.), and had been promoted by Yamaha and Peugeot before. But the offer of European quality products was very small and very high priced, so the importers massively switched to low quality Chinese products. Now, the typical pedelec is not a quality product from a famous manufacturer like it used to be, but fake names, misleading slogans, 35 kg and heavier, poor quality at 1,100 Euros. A similar problem has occurred in Spain, Italy, Poland, and England.
Today the LEV market in France consists of few high to very high price Western products and a large variety of low to medium priced low quality products. With an average retail price of 825 Euros a margin of 500-600% (FOB China manufacturer to end customer) is achieved, whereas the margin for European and American products of an average retail price of 1885 Euros is only 120-150%.
Gaetan Bayle emphasized that this situation can set the long-term market at stake. Risk number one is the low-value-at-high-price-problem. Mr. Bayle required market price regulations, quality and performance labels, serious newcomers, and new range of medium priced products.
Staying in a niche market, and losing image by fake and poor products are other major risks to the market. As a solution, Mr. Bayle said, we need to find a balance between profit here and now and long-lasting perspective.
His conclusion is that “pedelecs can meet peoples requirements for urban mobility only if its possible to rely on the quality and the dealers”. He illustrated the key requirements in the shape of a pyramid with “quality” on the bottom being the basis of everything else, followed towards the top by “after sales service”, then “price”, “professional network” and “design” as a significant but not the most decisive element.
The paper on Mr. Bayle’s speech includes great illustrations and valuable market statistics.
Back to Conference Agenda: English / Deutsch