After 70 years of being one of the most iconic brands in India and the wheels for most Indians, Atlas Cycles finally shut down its factories and operations, ironically enough, on June 3, 2020, World Bicycle Day, during the Covid-19 crisis.
Atlas Cycles Had Been In Crisis For Several Years
Atlas cycles shut their last manufacturing plant in Sahibabad off their last 430 employees, having run out of funds to pay salaries and maintain production, a sorry fate indeed for a plant started in 1989, manufacturing over 2 lakh cycles every month!
A notice on the factory gates read “… the company had been passing through a financial crisis for several years and had exhausted all its funds to keep the factory afloat. But now, there are no funds left. We are facing difficulty in arranging funds for our day-to-day operations. We are also unable to buy raw materials. In these conditions, the management is not in a position to operate the factory.”
The Good Old Days Of Atlas Cycles
Atlas Cycle started in 1950 with a plant set up by founder Jankidas Kapoor in 1951. It rose to great heights becoming India’s largest cycle manufacturer by 1965, and the official supplier of bicycles to the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi.
Atlas Cycles also grew overseas, manufacturing 40 lakh bicycles a year. The company won international awards like the Gold Mercury International Award from Italy. Eminent Nobel laureate Amartya Sen also owned an Atlas bicycle!
“We Will Bounce Back”
Is there a flicker of hope though, that the brand will rise again? CEO N P Singh Rana said, “We have already put up an application to the NCLT seeking permission to sell our surplus land. Once we get the permission, we will sell off our surplus land and the surplus land money will be much higher to pay back all the dues of suppliers and our people and we will resume production.
Demand is not a problem, the market is very good. We have a very strong dealer and supplier base. We are a 70-year-old brand and very well accepted in the market. We will bounce back.”
As the bicycle industry shudders with all others during the Corona crisis, we hope this brand will once again equip the common man of India to ride to work!