The chief executive of an historic Dayton-area company warned this week that the trade war between the United States and China may hit home in a painful way.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Huffy CEO Bill Smith warned that a 25 percent tariff posed a “serious threat to the company.”
Huffy is the largest bicycle brand in the United States. Based on Gander Creek Drive in Miami Twp., the company sells four million Chinese-manufactured bikes a year. Its Celina, Ohio production plant closed in the late 1990s.
Still, those bikes are designed in the Dayton area, where the company has more than 120 employees.
“There is no other country in Asia or Europe that can provide the volume Huffy requires as China is the largest bicycle producer in the world,” Business Insider quoted Smith as saying.
This latest round of U.S. tariffs kicked in on Thursday, this time on some $16 billion of Chinese-made goods. China countered with its own levies against a similarly valued set of American products.
The latest U.S. tariffs are aimed at an array of products including semiconductors, chemicals, plastics, motorbikes and electric scooters.
The latter is a Huffy product. The scooters — also called “e-bikes” — are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. bike industry.
Huffy is getting ready to unveil a new line of bicycles, Batch Bicycles, filling a niche between consumer-priced models often found at large retail outlets and more expensive models. Batch will be sold exclusively through independent dealers, with no minimum-buy requirement for those dealers.
In a recent interview with the Dayton Daily News, Smith called that niche “the white space.”
In that interview, Smith acknowledged that the company has been quiet in the Dayton area in recent years.
“That has changed,” Smith said. “We are back.”