GT and Cannondale, who both fall under the Cycling Sports Group, are turning their back on the traditional model year structure and will replace it with a version that aligns itself with the calendar year. Most brands currently release new frames in mid-summer, however, following feedback from dealers, Cannondale and GT will now take dealer orders in Q4 with new models coming as the next calendar year begins.
The reason for the change mainly comes down to discounting. Dealers felt they had to discount at the start of the riding season - spring and early summer - to clear out the stock before the next model year was released under the current model.
With COVID disruptions further exploiting this model and leaving a number of bike shops without stock to sell until the new models dropped in summer this year, Cannondale and GT saw it as an opportune moment to change their model system and try to disrupt the traditional industry cycles. They said they will "take a leadership position in changing a broken system that continually leads to inventory and cash flow issues for both suppliers and retailers." Cannondale are keen to stress that while this move isn't in response to COVID, it has given them time to reflect on a new way of operating.
On top of this, if they did manage to sell out all of the old models, dealers were then left twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the new models at the busiest time of the year. An additional annoyance for shops was having to send a staff member along to a dealer launch in their busiest period, leaving the shop short-staffed in the meantime.
CSG claims there are 4 main benefits for dealers with the new model:Improved margins
- Dealers can sell bikes at full price throughout the year with no need to discount in the spring to offload stock.Inventory at the start of the year
- Dealers will have stock of new bikes from the start of the season in spring through to its peak in summer.Easier to manage a business
- Dealers can focus on selling in summer, not attending launches for new products.Innovation aligned with consumer demand
- Cannondale and GT believe that most people are paying attention to innovation at the start of the season, when its new product will just have been released.
Alongside the new release schedule, CSG is now planning on only updating mid-to-low end bikes on a two or three-year cycle. There may be colour changes to keep the line fresh but variations on spec will be kept to a minimum.
There are certainly some drawbacks here for CSG, primarily if there are mid-season updates to key components such as drivetrains or suspension, their models for that year may miss out and seem less appealing in comparison to their competition. However, the group is aware it's taking a risk but hopes to be disruptive enough to carry the rest of the industry with it. Russell Merry, General Manager of the UK market for Cycling Sports Group told Cycling Industry News
, "Clearly, it’s been too hard to be done and the whole industry has been operating a broken model for decades. This is a once in a lifetime event and we intend to help all the links in our business chain be more profitable by being the most progressive and responsive supplier."
The brands have already taken model years off their websites and will begin dealer events in October this year for next year's models.