Adidas eyes Detroit for shoe factory

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Adidas eyes Detroit for shoe factory

Postby Tacitus651 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:47 pm ... /29613851/

Adidas, the German sports company seeking to regain its dominance in the United States, is looking at opening an automated factory in Detroit by 2017.

"We can bring manufacturing back to Detroit and that's where we want to be in 2017," said Eric Liedtke, Adidas executive board member for global brands, said in a statement provided by the company.

His remarks were initially made at an event in New York to unveil the company's Ultra Boos shoes made from plastics and netting dumped in oceans; and part of a larger announcement about the company's new business strategy to quicken its manufacturing process -- and move some footwear production to the United States.

Adidas did not offer any details about its plans for Detroit, such as location, or number of employees

Liedtke emphasized how speed will be a key competitive advantage, and the company is working on opening a faster, more automated footwear factories.

"It's all a part of speeding the future," he said. "We call it 'speed factories.' Because ultimately if we get this thing right, we can put it in Detroit."

Speed is a challenge for apparel makers as fashion tastes change quickly. Shortening the production cycle by several months to less than a year would allow manufactures to capitalize on consumer demand for popular products before it fades.

The Detroit Regional Chamber said via e-mail Friday that it did "not have anyone in the office today that can comment on this topic."

A rival of Oregon-based Nike, Adidas was once a dominant shoe brand in the U.S. but has slumped in recent years -- and has been trying to regain ground.

The global company -- known for its three-stripes design -- was founded in 1949 by German athlete Adolf Dassler. It also owns Reebok, TaylorMade, Ashworth, Rockport -- and part of a professional German soccer them.

To recapture the American market, Adidas has sports sponsorship deals with American universities, such as the University of Michigan, and is trying to sponsor more American sports. It is most closely associated with soccer.

Adidas also has hired an American to head its North American division., an online news site, reported Liedke said Adidas is scheduled to open a footwear factory in Germany the first quarter of 2016. The factory would be highly automated, nimble, almost portable -- and, if successful, would be a model for what is installed in Detroit.

Adidas' strategy also calls for focusing on appealing to customers in large American cities, which would make Detroit an appealing place for a factory.

Detroit has long been a sports town, and now seems to emerging as a hip place.

The city's name also has some cachet among Europeans, who associate it with quality manufacturing.

And, its ties to the auto industry ans killed workforce could be a big plus, too. In the Complex article, Liedke said the sports company is working with German automakers on robotics technology that would make the automated process in new factories possible.
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