The Rise and Fall of Atlas Cycles

The Rise and Fall of Atlas Cycles
Case Code: BSTR614
Case Length: 13 Pages
Period: -
Pub Date: 2020
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization : Atlas Cycles
Industry :Bicycle Industry
Countries : India
Themes: Organizational Crisis/ Business Failure/ Brand Revival/Turnaround Strategy
The Rise and Fall of Atlas Cycles
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case discusses the rise and decline of Atlas Cycles, an iconic bicycle brand that had ruled the Indian roads for six decades. Established in 1950, Atlas Cycles emerged as one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in India with the capacity to produce 4 million bicycles annually. Its cycles were known for their sturdiness, durability, and affordability. However, in 2014, Atlas Cycles started making losses and it had to close down its Malanpur manufacturing unit in 2014 followed by its Sonepat unit in 2018 due to financial constraints.

The case discusses the reasons behind the fall of the company, which included lack of product upgradation, mismanagement due to family disputes, high overhead costs, advent of premium cycles, and intense competition from local as well as global bicycle manufacturers. According to industry experts, the brand was just too slow to respond to a rapidly changing market. Moreover, the outbreak of COVID-19 dealt a big blow to the company. Economic turbulence slammed the brakes on Atlas Cycles’ ride as the company was forced to shut down its last manufacturing unit in Sahibabad in June 2020 due to lack of funds. Consequently, all employees of the Sahibabad unit were laid off with immediate effect.

The company’s CEO, N.P. Singh Rana (Rana), however, insisted that the closure was temporary and the bicycle maker would bounce back as soon as it raised funds by selling surplus land. As the management of Atlas Cycles was exploring various options to raise funds that would help the company resume operations, analysts wondered whether Atlas Cycles could be revived. What would be the way forward for the iconic Indian bicycle brand? Could Atlas Cycles regain its past glory? If so, how?


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the various factors that contributed to the success of Atlas Cycles.
  • Analyze the problems faced by Atlas Cycles.
  • Understand the reasons behind the fall of Atlas Cycles.
  • Understand the need to continuously reinvent the business model of a company amidst rising competition and changes in the business environment.
  • Explore the ways through which Atlas Cycles can regain the position it had lost in the Indian bicycle market.



Organizational Crisis, Business Failure, Brand Revival Turnaround, Revival Strategies, Mature Brands, Rise and Fall, Indian Bicycle Market, Iconic Brands, Competition, Declining Brands

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