GENERAL NEWS

MOTORCYCLE INDIAN SUMMER AHEAD PERHAPS?

INDIAN MOTORCYCLE FIRMS ARE SNAPPING UP CLASSIC BRITISH BIKE MARQUES AND REVITALISING THEM

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It seems that after the rip roaring success of Royal Enfield India, other Indian firms are buying up Classic British Motorcycle brands and giving them a new lease of life.

Royal Enfield
One of the oldest British motorcycle brands, Royal Enfield was bought up by the Indian Eicher group in 1994. Since then it has steadily regained kudos and gained a great reputation for well built classic motorcycles, emerging as a very popular motorcycle once more, back here in the UK. On the back of this success, Royal Enfield India are expanding and are now planning to open a large plant in Thailand. In fact Royal Enfield sales have grown by 88% in the last year and its great favourites, the Interceptor and the Continental, can be seen around in increasing numbers with owners who rate them highly, so they must be doing something right!

Norton
Early last year, Norton after an epic fail and a somewhat chequered past went in to administration and was bought by India's TVS Motor for 16m. Now, the TVS owned Norton, are aiming  to manufacture bikes once more and things are looking good for resurrecting the brand, hopefully as successfully as Royal Enfield have. The location of the Norton factory looks likely to change from that of the original plant in Donington, moving to Solar Park, Solihull. It seems that everything will now be sited there, including the design, development, engineering and manufacturing of the marque, and hopefully it will all be kicking off in earnest at the end of March 2021. Norton has created 50 new local jobs in Solihull so far in its high tech new facility, and will be producing state of the art new machinery as well as Norton classics.

The first bikes to roll off the production line look likely to be that Norton classic, the Commando with the aim of fulfilling pre booked customer orders with paid deposits from previous years. An honourable start! After that the V4SS is likely to be next in line.

Sudarshan Venu, Norton joint managing Director said in a statement:

“The opening of the new headquarters represents a significant step forward for Norton Motorcycles,”

“The opening of this state-of-the-art facility will create the foundations for a sustainable long-term future of Norton. The new bikes will meet the world class standards our customers expect.”

Concluding:

“We are setting out to create a future for the company, our employees, our customers and our partners that lives up to the highest expectations and enable Norton to once again become the real force its history deserves.”

Who knows, perhaps Norton will achieve its desire to get back to the IOMTT sooner rather than later!

BSA
BSA also seems to be going the way of its fellow brands and has been bought up by Anand Mahindra's company. The Indian  Mahindra Group is hoping to start manufacturing electric BSAs, as well as petrol ones, back in Birmingham in the UK. This is along with a research facility in Banbury to work on the necessary technology required for an eventual move to electric motorcycles. BSA is now owned by Classic Legends, with the Mahindra group owning a 60% stake. The UK government has chipped in a 4.6m grant to help with the development of electric motorcycles and support the jobs – potentially approximately 255 – which go along with it. Hopefully this will all go ahead once some of the trading hiccups due to Brexit are ironed out, we will wait and see.

NB
It's not only British motorcycles which are being manufactured successfully in India either. KTM, the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer was also in trouble when Bajaj bought a large stake in it back in 2007 and managed to rejuvenate the brand. The flagship KTM Duke 390 is going from strength to strength and its smaller bikes, the Duke 125, 200 and 250 are now made in Chakan in the Bajaj factory. The demand has grown so much since the Bajaj takeover, that KTM are now assembling bikes in China and the Philippines as well.

Indian firms have expanded local production of Husqvarnas and Hondas too and BMW use TVS to produce their 310. Harley Davidson have been outsourcing manufacture of the Street 750, Street 500 and  Street Rod 750 to India for some time.  Triumph and Bajaj are also working together giving the UK company access to the markets in Asia, with motorcycles which are built by Bajaj but badged Triumph. If it comes off, and it is currently a rumour, Triumph and Bajaj are also planning a deal which gives the UK company access to the huge motorcycle markets in Asia, with motorcycles which are built by Bajaj but badged Triumph.

So this looks a lot like a quiet motorcycle success story, with these great British motorcycles, plus many other international motorcycle brands, getting a shot in the arm (topical metaphor there!) from their new Indian owners, or at least outsourced to Indian factories, we are wishing them the best of luck.

How do you feel about this trend? Let us know at news@wemoto.com or drop us a message on Facebook.

Posted by Lucy England
for Wemoto News on 02 February 2021 in General News

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