There seems to be a modern day trend for car manufactures to produce bicycles. Most get involved as an extension to their marketing efforts and offer a range as brand confirmation to a particular type of consumer they are seeking to attract.
In most cases, car manufacturers’ badges or branding are put on existing bike models with a few modifications made here and there to components. There are a number of manufacturers that have been involved in making bikes in the present and past (mostly sold via their own dealerships). Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Ferrari, and BMW are just a few of the car companies that have offered bikes in the past and presently.
Of course it is not only about badged bikes made by existing bike manufacturers as some car manufacturers have dabbled in cycle design. Most recently Volkswagen and Lexus have produced electric bike concepts, while the original mass market bicycle manufacturer Peugeot has come up with a striking concept bicycle (see picture below), which features a chainless drivetrain and carbon fibre frame. The company has also returned to the mass cycle market, albeit via having bikes made by French manufacturer Cycleurope, and badged as a Peugeot.
A Mini fold up bike
Perhaps in an overcrowded market of badged road and mountain bikes, the iconic UK car brand Mini has the right idea by putting its branding on a fold up bike. Made with a lightweight aluminium frame, the bike very much nods to the Dahon folding bikes with its look. The bike comes in matt black with Mini silver lettering on the frame, the brand logo on the handlebars and the Union Jack motif on the rear forks.
The relationship between bicycle manufacturers and car firms is just not one way traffic and not always marketing related. This year a number of professional cycling teams will be riding the Specialized Venge model and the US bicycle firm has produced a competition model in collaboration with Formula One racing giant and sports car manufacturer McLaren. McLaren’s input has been in helping Specialized create an aerodynamic frame and also reduce the weight of the bike. The resulting model, the Specialized McLaren Venge, has already been used in competition this year at the Milan-San Remo.