After going into administration in January, Norton Motorcycles has been purchased by India’s TVS Motor which hopes to revive the brand.
“We will extend our full support for Norton to regain its full glory,” said TVS Motor’s boss Sudarshan Venu when he announced his business had purchased Norton Motorcycles for more than $30 million. Norton Motorcycles went into administration in January putting more than 100 jobs at risk and very nearly closed the book on more than 120 years of manufacturing.
TVS Motor is India’s third largest motorcycle manufacturer and it has purchased the business lock, stock and barrel and has plans to move production away from its current Donington Park location. “This is a momentous time for us at TVS Motor Company,” said Sudarshan Venu, TVS’s joint managing director. “Norton is an iconic British brand celebrated across the world and presents us with an immense opportunity to scale globally. This transaction is in line with our effort to cater to the aspirations of discerning motorcycle customers.
Norton kicked off in 1898 when James Landsdowne Norton set up a bike parts business before switching to manufacturing in 1902. Boy racers took to the brand and the business flourished and it dominated the 1950s and ‘60s with the Commando cementing the brand’s position especially it’s clever rubber bushings to reduce engine vibration.
But the brand was losing its lustre by the 1970s with Japanese bikes arriving on the scene and dominating sales. In 1976, the last bike rolled off the production line.
It was thrown a lifeline in 2008 when UK businessman Stuart Gartner purchased the business but Gartner didn’t end up being good for the business. He was accused of using company money for personal purchases and even put the pensions of the company’s investors at risk. By the time TVS Motor stepped in, Norton had accumulated debts of more than $25 million.