Norton, an iconic motorcycle brand from Great Britain, is now in Indian hands. In a major announcement one of India’s biggest two-wheeler manufacturers, TVS motor company, announced the takeover of the century-old brand which had earlier this year gone into administration. The heritage brand has been acquired in an all-cash deal for 16 million pounds which translates to Rs 153 crore approximately. At a time when the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, this is being seen as one of the most interesting acquisitions of a storied motorcycle maker in recent times.
Founded by James Lansdowne Norton, in Birmingham, Britain, in 1898, Norton Motorcycles is among the most popular British motorcycle brands of all time and is one of the most emotive marques today. Since the 20th century, the company is renowned for their classic models and eclectic range of luxury motorcycles ranging from authentic retro classic reboots of the famous Commando to their contemporary 200 bhp, 1200cc V4 super-bikes. Norton ownerships have changed hands several times in the last few decades. Before this British businessman Stuart Garner bought the brand from an American owner in 2008.
TVS has said that Norton will continue to retain its distinctive identity with dedicated and specific business plans. It also added that it is excited about the existing and upcoming products at Norton Motorcycles, including Commando, Dominator and V4 RR. It has added that Norton can leverage TVS’s global reach and supply chain capabilities to expand to new markets. This news is also a proud moment for India as it reflects TVS’s and India’s rapidly rising prominence in the international two-wheeler market.
This isn’t certainly the first time that an iconic British automobile brand has been taken over by an Indian company. Jaguar Land Rover, the manufacturer of luxury sedans and SUVs, is now owned by Tata Motors, while Eicher Motors is the proud owner of bike brand Royal Enfield. That’s not all, earlier this year in coming together of two more Indo-British motorcycle brands Bajaj Auto and Triumph Motorcycles announced long term, non-equity partnership that would focus on building brand-new range of mid-capacity motorcycles. Building over 60,000 bikes per year, Triumph currently is the largest British motorcycle manufacturer.
The Bajaj-Triumph partnership will see the two companies with their respective strengths in large and small capacity motorcycles collaborate to design, engineer and manufacture a range of mid-capacity motorcycles. Through the tie-up, the heritage British brand will seek to further expand its global reach and get a new entry point to several high-volume emerging markets, including India and other Asian markets. Bajaj will become one of Triumph’s key distribution partners in crucial new markets around the globe. Going forward it also will take over Triumph’s Indian distribution activities, when exactly that will happen has not been confirmed yet.
In their other key overseas markets, where Triumph is not currently present, Bajaj will represent Triumph and offer the new mid capacity bikes as part of the full Triumph line-up. In all other markets where Triumph is present today, the motorcycles developed together from this partnership will join the current Triumph product portfolio and be distributed by the Triumph-led dealer network worldwide. The partnership will build a new engine and vehicle platform in the mid-capacity range (200- 750cc) and offer multiple options to address different segments in this class. The proposition will be aspiration and affordable with a targeted pricing starting under Rs 2 lakh in India. This will create a new entry point to the Triumph range around the world, and ensure Triumph can attract new customers to the brand.