Peloton to build first US factory after supply problems

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a woman with a Peloton bikeImage source, Getty Images

Peloton is set to build its first US factory after demand for its at-home exercise equipment soared during the pandemic.

The fitness firm's manufacturing facility will begin construction in Ohio later this year, creating about 2,000 jobs.

"We are thrilled to bring a good portion of our manufacturing to United States soil," its boss John Foley said.

Production is expected to start in 2023.

Peloton currently produces most of its treadmills and indoor exercise bikes at third-party facilities in Taiwan.

But with gym-goers stuck at home during lockdown demand for its products more than doubled.

The company saw lengthy delivery delays as a global increase in shipping traffic kicked in. It was forced to invest more than $100m (£70.6m) in air freight and to speed up ocean freight to remedy the situation.

It also acquired Precor, a big manufacturer of exercise equipment for gyms and hotels with factories in North Carolina and Washington, to help it keep up with orders.

Mr Foley said in a statement on Monday: "While we will continue to invest in our Asian manufacturing footprint as well as our existing facilities in the US via our Precor sites, the new Peloton Output Park gives us a massive strategic lever to make sure we have capacity, quality, and economies of scale in our bike and tread product lines".

People considering buying its stationary bikes or treadmills (which start from £1,000) will be able to visit the new factory to view the equipment and watch it being made.

The company has come under fire in recent months after it recalled treadmills both in the US and the UK following the death of a six-year-old child and 72 reports of other injuries.

The US consumer products watchdog said they could cause injury or death to adults, children and pets if they were pulled underneath.

Tread machines sold in the UK were also recalled because display consoles could fall off.

Earlier in May, Mr Foley said the firm had "made a mistake" in not recalling the machines sooner.

Peloton shares were down just under 1% on Monday, having dropped more than 30% in the year-to-date.

But in its last trading update, Peloton announced that its total sales had soared by 141% to $1.26bn in the three months to 31 March, in comparison with $524.6m the same period a year before.

The company still expects sales between April and June to hit $915m despite safety concerns.