SIX QUESTIONS FOR GARY FABRIS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY AND FIVE
FIVE, the largest Italian electric bicycle factory, is continuing its expansion plan following a period of development, a point to which the market is proving as equally receptive. Read this interview with Gary Fabris.
Fabbrica Italiana Veicoli Elettrici was born starting from a simple and winning intuition: to build a plant 10 times larger than it needed, betting on the growth of the market, in order to anticipate and wait for it, not run after it. And so it was.
We interview Gary Fabris, FIVE’s e-bike Sales Director, specialised in this field where he has been operating for 20 years.
1. THIS YEAR 2020 WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR COVID-19 AND EBIKE’S BOOM?
“This year, together with a rising trend (the growth of the electric mobility in general and of the e-bike in particular), the health situation made many people rediscover the advantages of the two wheels. They are no longer seen only as an ecological, functional and efficient vehicle, but also as tool of social distancing. That’s why many people got on the saddle. And when you get on the saddle and discover all the advantages of an e-bike, then you risk never getting off again.”
2. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MANAGE THE STRONG MARKET DEMAND?
“This was less complex than expected since it is the mission which FIVE was born for. The company was already equipped with the space and machinery ready to serve the market growing. Obviously this year the boom caught us by surprise but we’re prepared; already having a large plant, we quickly engaged a new labour force and we’ve remodelled ourselves internally.”
3. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR NEXT YEAR?
“Growth will continue and we are already prepared to support it. We have planned an increase in production of 60%. All the components have already been ordered some time ago, in order to avoid delays of from our suppliers. Delays have been increasing worldwide.”
4. HOW IMPORTANT IS EXPORT AND WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF DEPLOYMENT?
“At the moment, exports weigh only 20% in our company, which is what we wanted since the beginning. First of all, we consolidated the Italian market, and we focused in order to make our factory run well. Only now we have chosen to expand our business abroad. We are receiving many requests from both European and extra-European countries: but before granting distribution we want to be sure that the partner company respects our corporate canons, which allowed us to grow solidly over the years.”
5. WHICH OF YOUR PRODUCTS WAS MOST SUCCESSFUL IN 2020?
WE HAVE CHOSEN TO EXPAND OUR BUSINESS ABROAD
“In general our trekking and folding models. Specifically, K2 MAX, a folding fat e-bike with 20″ wheels and 90Nm central motor, has caused quite a stir. The powerful engine FIVE F90 together with the 20″ wheels guarantees extremely efficient torque, able to tackle challenging climbs, with a ride balanced and also fun.”
“Much appreciated by a young and dynamic audience, K2 MAX impressed our consumers. For next year we have had to triple the production of K2 MAX to keep up with bookings.”
6. WHAT DISTINGUISHES FIVE FROM OTHER MANUFACTURERS?
“Since the beginning we focused only on the electric element. Unlike us, other companies in our field have differentiated production by including electric bikes among traditional bikes to follow the market trend. We began with e-bikes and we pay attention to the component which is its heart: the electrical system. Although FIVE is a young and flexible company, it has a consolidated experience. I entered this trade in early 2000 and since then, with experience, I have acquired a global vision of the e-bike market which, by the very first ride, seemed to me to be a brilliant means of transport (and fun).”
“In FIVE we do not only carry out the assembly of bicycles. In the factory we have an area for water painting, and an our in-house testing laboratory. Since about 2 years, we also have a production-line of battery packs. All these elements set us apart from other producers and allow us to offer excellent quality and service.”