This week I was noticing that Velomobiel has a number of velomobiles on inventory ready to be sold (see item below). This is interesting for those riders who want to purchase a velomobile immediately. So far velomobiles have been mostly sold as a slot in the production. Many people have complained that they did not want to wait so if clients are informed that they can get one immediately, this may have an impact on velomobile sales. I am surprised that this is not on Velomobiel’s home page instead of being mentioned in the comments in the order book. If people know there are new ones available right now, they may make a quick buying decision.
Some larger dealers have already started ordering velomobiles to keep in their showroom. Some of those have asked for a premium when selling these velomobiles from the showroom and some clients may not be ready for this additional outlay.
Except for the QuattroVelo that is still in development, we have seen the production backlog get smaller and smaller over the last year (same at ICB). As a result, the waiting time is about two months for a new velomobile, which is probably the shortest it has been in the past 15 years. In my estimation the Romanian factory is able to produce significantly more velomobiles than are currently sold at the moment. This is not to say that new models like the QuattroVelo will have the same short waiting period, there is a significant number on order and the production needs to ramp-up. I estimate that at first a single set of mold will produce about four QuattroVelo per month so the person who orders today will probably have to wait roughly nine months from the start of production to take delivery. However, if demand keeps up, I expect that a new set of molds will be produced probably 6 months later, when Allert is satisfied with the design. This will potentially double the maximum output to 8 velomobiles per month.
I expect that since Romania may have spare capacity for some models, they can produce for the inventory and maybe some people who had placed orders earlier may have decided to cancel or to change model (e.g.: QuattroVelo) when the velomobile they had ordered was already in production.
I will keep an eye on the production and the inventory over the next few months.
There were only 3 deliveries in January at Velomobiel; one Quest and two Strada velomobiles. It is normal to see a slow down in the number of deliveries at this time of the year with a lot of staff on vacation. In addition, I expect that significant resources at the Romanian factory have also been used to produce other components such as the molds for the QuattroVelo . You can already see in the first week of February that things are picking-up.
In January Velomobiel sold 11 velomobiles including one Quest. Two Carbon Quest, one Carbon XS, two Strada and five QuattoVelo and there were 65 velomobiles on order at the end of January but it appears that five of those are in fact in stock and available for immediate sale (three Strada, a Carbon Quest and a Quest).
This is interesting for those riders who want to purchase a velomobile immediately. So far velomobiles have been mostly sold as a slot in the production. Many people have complained that they did not want to wait so if clients are informed that they can get one immediately, this may have an impact on velomobile sales. Some dealers have asked for a premium for velomobiles purchased from the showroom so clients may not be ready for this outlay. Except for the QuattroVelo that is still in development, we have seen the production backlog get smaller and smaller over the last year (same at ICB). As a result, the waiting time is about two months for a new velomobile which is probably the shortest it has been in the past 15 years. In my estimation the Romanian factory is able to produce significantly more velomobiles than are currently sold at the moment. I will keep an eye on this over the next few months.
Over the past few weeks, there were rumours that Daniel is going to build a four-wheel velomobile. This week Daniel posted on-line that the project was underway but there has been no official announcement. I think that ICB identified that there is a demand for a 4-wheel product. This is not surprising since Velomobiel has some 45 on order and many people are waiting to see the product on the road and maybe test drive the production model before making a commitment. I expect that the ICB design may be sportier and performance driven than the QuattroVelo, Daniel said that it will be about the size of the DF-XL. My guess is that the ICB model will be lighter with more composite components and probably a bit more streamlined while still providing more stability and increased payload capacity over the three-wheel DF.
This increases my concerns regarding the grey area of legality in many jurisdictions where bicycles are defined as having two or three wheels and getting all these rules updated may take a long time. In the mean time, pioneers may have to deal with authorities to get the right to ride their four-wheel bicycle on the road. There is no velomobile club or industry association to lobby officials for the change.
Meanwhile at ICB, only 2 DF were delivered in January. Since they produce in the same factory as Velomobiel, my observations above are similar but I will also add that the factory has bee busy filling-out orders for DF hoods and is also gearing-up to produce ICB designed hoods for the Quest/Strada and Mango as well as the new wheel pants for the DF/DF-XL/Evo-K, Ks, R. Just like Velomobiel, the first week of February is showing an increase in deliveries.
At the end of January there were 19 DF and 16 DF-XL for a total of 35 units on order. Sales in January included 5 DF and 5 DF-XL.
Following my report last I received an e-mail from Randy at Bluevelo and I posted the response in the comments and some of you may not have returned to read the comments so here it is.
"We at Bluevelo are extremely touched by all the wonderful replies in response to the recent news on Luc's blog and BROL. What a great group of people. You never cease to amaze us. Our hope is to keep everyone positive and excited about the future of the sport.
The last thing we would want is for any kind of "us vs them" attitude to develop towards the Netherland companies. That is certainly not the case and there are no ill feelings about the way things have gone. Our relationships with everyone in Europe over so many years have been amazing. A "sign of the times" hits the nail on the head for the direction things have taken. Let's keep working together as preserving the positive energy of the N. American velomobile community and continued growth of the industry should be top priority for all."
Just a reminder, On Sunday February 7th at 3PM EST, the video podcast The Laidback Report (www.laidbackbikereport.com) will be dedicated to the world of velomobiles. Velomobilre riders Josef Janning, Doug Davis, Lars Komm and myself will answer questions from host Gary Solomon will to initiate new people to the world of velomobiles. Don’t worry if you missed the live podcast, you can catch the show on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/embed/b80pmCYAExo