C-INERTIA launches production of 100% Made-in-France carbon wheels at their site in Provence

success story
C-INERTIA launches production of 100% Made-in-France carbon wheels at their site in Provence
Loïc Bernard, President of C-INERTIA
23 May 2024 / Grow your business, invest in provence, Start your business

Loïc Bernard chose Éguilles near Aix-en-Provence as the location for his company’s new manufacturing facility

Propelled by its unique, patented technology for manufacturing next-generation carbon fiber wheel rims for the automotive sector, C-INERTIA is embarking on a new manufacturing adventure in Provence. The project is being led by Loïc Bernard, the former CEO of the Gemplus smart card company who is now a committed entrepreneur and the President of C-INERTIA. He chose Éguilles near Aix-en-Provence to set up his production unit because he was enchanted by the tech environment, the accessibility, and the quality of life. The 100% Made-in-France manufacturing process has begun with a small production run for the motorcycle market. The launch of large-scale production of wheel rims for cars is currently being prepared. This innovative industrial project will be a boon for employment as the company hopes to create more than 100 new jobs within three years. Provence Promotion has been supporting C-INERTIA since 2021 and is currently assisting the company in its recruitment phase.

The market for carbon fiber wheel rims is enjoying rapid growth as more and more automakers are adopting the technology due to the lightness and strength of the composite products.

With its innovative approach to manufacturing, C-INERTIA is well-positioned to make an impact in this sector. Currenty, the global market represents 400 million parts per year and is mainly dominated by companies in Asia. To win its share of this market, the company’s objective is provide wheel rims for high-end cars and electric vehicles.

C-INERTIA has revolutionized rim manufacturing with a unique industrial process that disrupts production costs

After several years of development at a site in Carros near Nice and close collaboration with motorcycle manufacturers, C-INERTIA is now poised to reap the rewards of its investments as it enters the motorcycle market. Its manufacturing process was patented in 2020, and its products are certified by TÜV SÜD, an independent German organization recognized in the industry for verifying the quality and safety of automotive and motorcycle parts in Europe.

C-INERTIA’s carbon rim is 40% lighter than an aluminum rim while improving road adhesion, enhancing safety, saving energy, and offering excellent handling dynamics. C-INERTIA’s ambition is to become a leader in a market that is set to grow exponentially as electric vehicles become more widespread. The company’s technical model is inspired by the aerospace industry, while the cutting-edge systems used by its teams enable C-INERTIA to reduce manufacturing costs by 50% compared with the competition.

Strategic location: C-INERTIA chooses Provence for its new plant

Loïc Bernard wanted to open his manufacturing facility in the South of France. Working with Provence Promotion, he was presented with a number of property options and finally settled on a location in Éguilles near Aix-en-Provence. The building features 2000m2 of production workshops and 500m2 dedicated to the R&D center and offices. “In the industrialization phase, we needed to find a solution to enable us to expand quickly. The Aix-en-Provence area, with its network of innovative companies, was an ideal option. In Éguilles, we found a magnificent working environment and the site is very easy to get to,” says Loïc Bernard, who sees the proximity of major highways, the Port of Marseille Fos, the Aix TGV station for high-speed rail, and the airport as the key advantages of his location.

From the motorcycle market to mass production, 100 jobs could be created

“While our location is highly strategic in terms of logistics, it is just as important for our recruitment,” explains Loïc Bernard, who has already hired around ten people and will continue to recruit as his production ramps up. “We are being helped by Provence Promotion on the HR front. A sales manager will be arriving shortly, and we’re looking for a number of technical profiles, particularly in composite materials and machining. Joining our team means joining an industrial project that has the right values because our product embraces Made in France, not to mention Made in Provence!” says Loïc Bernard, who has also adopted a corporate social responsibility approach (salary policy, ongoing training, etc.).

There have already been several million euros invested in the operation. In 2023, the first production line for motorcycle rims was launched with an optimized traceability system. C-INERTIA and its R&D team are now focusing on the development of its automotive rim prototype and are planning the launch of large-scale production runs. Further investments are in the works to ensure rapid, automated production at the Éguilles factory. The initial goal is to manufacture 10 000 motorcycle and car rims a year at the site to serve the French, European, and American markets with the long-term ambition of producing more than 100 000 rims per year for all vehicles. The company plans to create 100 local jobs.