BMC is taking "appropriate preventive measures" and making "necessary adjustments" to a decrease in demand, the bike brand's CEO said as it was announced that the company had applied to cut working hours of its remaining staff.
While details about the move remain limited, it is believed the application has been submitted to the responsible office for economics and labour in the Swiss canton of Solothurn, the relevant authority for the city of Grenchen, where BMC is based. The application is pending, Grenchner Tagblatt reports, but the bicycle manufacturer is exploring the possibility of reducing employee hours in response to waning demand since the pandemic bike boom.
road.cc has also heard from a source that several employees were made redundant in the final months of 2023, BMC exiting the WorldTour after it was announced that Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale would no longer race the manufacturer's bikes, moving to Van Rysel instead. However it should be noted that BMC is still the bike sponsor of Fabian Cancellara's Swiss outfit Tudor Pro Cycling, who will make their Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in May.
Commenting on the application to cut employee hours, BMC CEO David Zurcher said: "The board of directors and the company's management adapted to this situation in a timely manner and took appropriate preventive measures and made necessary adjustments."
What has led the bike brand to this point will be a familiar tale by now, increased demand during the pandemic rapidly dropping off in the years since, with added supply chain woes on top, a story heard from a seemingly endless list of names across the bike industry since 2020.
A source at BMC does believe things will calm in the near future, a line backed up by a recent market intelligence agency report which suggests the bike industry is "on the road to recovery".
The BMC source admitted while it expected things will stabilise, it may take time, hence the reduced working hours application in the meantime. "We just want to be ready when the need arises," they said.
Elsewhere in Switzerland, major wheel and components brand DT Swiss is refusing to comment on its own situation. road.cc first approached the company in the autumn having heard from a source, but were told the brand would not be commenting.
"Thanks for posting this question. As stated earlier, we are not commenting on business activities that also include our personnel," a spokesperson told us at the time.
The Swiss press also reports that e-bike manufacturer Flyer closed its adventure department in the Bern town of Huttwil in recent months, laying off almost a quarter of its employees at the site. Again, excess inventory from increased demand during the pandemic and inflation were listed as factors.
The past fortnight has seen more bad news across the industry, a Bicycle Association report stating that 2023 saw the worst bicycle sales in the UK since 1985. Earlier in the week it was announced that there would be more redundancies at Zwift, 10 months on from the company cutting its workforce by 15 per cent.
The owner of Raleigh and Lapierre, Accell Group, has also said it will "simplify operations and enhance efficiency" by merging facilities and cutting up to 150 jobs at its Dutch-based facilities, moving some production to Hungary and Turkey.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.