Norton Motorcycles is now an Indian-owned company. The British marque created by James Lansdowne Norton in Birmingham in 1898 has been bought out of administration for £16m cash by TVS Motor Company in India.
The firm has big plans for Leicestershire-based Norton and big pockets to go with those plans. TVS makes motorbikes, mopeds and three-wheelers. It sold more than three million vehicles in the last year raking in almost three billion dollars. It’s the third biggest motorbike manufacturer in India and the sixth biggest in the world.
And that world-reach should help revive Norton after its collapse into administration earlier this year while facing a winding-up order for unpaid taxes.
Today Mr. Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director, TVS Motor Company said, "This is a momentous time for us at TVS Motor Company. Norton is an iconic British brand celebrated across the world, and presents us with an immense opportunity to scale globally. We will extend our full support for Norton to regain its full glory in the international motorcycle landscape."
And what about the employees at Castle Donington in Leicestershire? Well the new boss said he wants to “work closely with customers and employees” in building the success of the Norton brand and “growing together globally in the years to come”.
That’s perhaps the most positive news to ring around the halls of Castle Donington in recent months after months of negative noises. It is a small manufacturing outfit now - the bikes were being put together in outbuildings at Donington Hall.
TVS says it’ll use its global reach and supply chain to move Norton into new markets.
The Norton brand has always had a certain cache among motorbike aficionados. India is a motorbike-mad nation and in the past Amitabh Bachan - perhaps the most famous Bollywood actor in India - with a following of millions - has appeared in TV ads for TVS mopeds. That’s the kind of endorsement brands can only dream of as Norton begins a new journey.