Dutch Cargo Bike’s expansion into NZ is well underway, with the e-bike and micromobility specialist appointing a country manager to head operations in that country.
A former digital marketing manager for NZ frame manufacturer Chapter2, Chris Young, was appointed to the role for Dutch Cargo NZ in April.
His recruitment has been followed by the launch of Dutch Cargo NZ’s website last week, and plans are underway to establish an NZ warehouse.
Based in Auckland, Chris’s extensive network of contacts throughout NZ would be invaluable as Dutch Cargo entrenches itself in the market, according to Dutch Cargo founder and managing director Jurgen Heikamp.
Dutch Cargo has been shipping e-bikes to NZ since the company was established in Melbourne in 2010 but is now ready for a more physical presence.
“We have the licence to distribute Bakfeits.nl, Nihola Bikes, Urban Arrow, Kinekt and Melia into Australia and NZ and we have been importing these brands to NZ throughout the past 12 years,” Jurgen said.
“We are also bringing Carla Cargo into NZ, which is another brand we have the licence for in both countries.”
However, Dutch Cargo NZ’s greatest focus initially will be French brand O2feel, which the company started bringing into Australasia late last year.
Jurgen said O2feel’s high-quality build and considerable range – along with NZ’s high and growing appetite for e-bikes – made it the obvious option to spearhead his company’s elevated push across the Tasman.
“O2feel’s wide portfolio ensures there are plenty of different client groups that will be interested,” he said.
“With brands like Trek and Specialized going direct to consumers, it’s creating a gap and an opportunity for brands like O2feel to expand their dealer networks.”
He said Dutch Cargo NZ is already enjoying good success in finding dealers keen to stock their e-bikes.
They’re confident of having five dealers signed up by the end of this month and aim to have 10 by the end of June.
“Establishing a dealer network is the first priority, with the potential to have a test centre in place within the next year,” Jurgen said.
“We’re an omnichannel business and we will set up a similar system in NZ to what we have here; with offices, showroom and warehouse all in one building.
“At the moment, cargo bikes are still a niche but people are opening up to the concept more and more.
“People are becoming more receptive to the concept of replacing the second car with a cargo bike for day-to-day chores and errands.
“NZ is probably a little more advanced in that regard. There’s more of a green movement and more awareness about climate change and mitigating the impacts.”
Jurgen said Chris would also serve a dual role with Dutch Cargo, taking on its digital marketing in NZ and Australia.
The former graphic designer in South Africa and England initially joined the bike industry as a part-time digital marketer for Chapter2 and ultimately assumed the role full-time.
He said the position with Dutch Cargo was a fantastic opportunity to introduce new, sustainability-conscious people to cycling.
A cyclist for more than 40 years, Chris said he is passionate about seeing more people on bicycles, and e-bikes have been the greatest breakthrough to encourage New Zealanders to make the switch from cars to active transport.
Dutch Cargo in Australia has also recently appointed France expat Thomas Piclin to manage sales and operations, as well as sales and promotions of its O2feel range.