German sportswear manufacturer Adidas announced Tuesday that it would resume production of shoes in Germany more than 20 years after it stopped making them in its home country. Completely overhauling the way it produces shoes, the world’s second-largest sportswear maker said its new “Speedfactory” will use robots, as opposed to the manual process the company employs in its manufacturing hubs in Asia.
In a statement, Adidas said “the first pairs of high-performance footwear to come out of the Adidas Speedfactory will be revealed later this year.” However, the still under-construction “Speedfactory facility will begin large-scale production in 2017.”
The new production facility is being designed to speed up manufacturing and also bring it closer to the company’s big European markets. Rising wages in Asia — where Adidas employs about 1 million people, mainly in China and Vietnam — is also seen as a factor contributing to the move. However, the company is not looking at full automation, according to media reports.
“It’s a constantly changing world out there and our consumers always want the latest and newest product — and they want it now. That’s what Adidas Speedfactory delivers, starting right here in Germany, with best-in-class German technology,” Herbert Hainer, CEO of Adidas Group, said.
Shoes produced mechanically at the new facility will be priced the same as those produced manually in Asia, according to Hainer.
In 2017, Adidas also plans to open a second Speedfactory in the United States, and similar facilities may be opened in the United Kingdom and France later, Deutsche Welle reported.
Its 4,600 square meter (49,500 square feet) Germany plant could also produce shirts for Germany’s national soccer team. The factory will be operated by Oechsler Motion GmbH.
Adidas shares closed Tuesday trade 0.34 percent higher on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, underperforming the broader market as the DAX Index climbed 2.18 percent.