Will we finally see Norton Motorcycles on Indian roads? Does TVS plan to enter into the classic motorcycle space with the Norton brand? Can we expect smaller capacity Norton offerings in the future? All your questions answered
In a monumental move, TVS Motor Company recently acquired Norton Motorcycles in an all-cash deal of 16 million pounds (Rs 153 crore). The British brand’s recently tainted reputation under the management of Stuart Garner, raises a lot of questions about the future that TVS has envisioned. Meanwhile, given Norton’s former plans of starting CKD operations in India, there’s also been a great white hope that we will get to see their products on Indian streets. Is TVS’ acquisition a step in the that direction? Can we expect the Norton 650s in India anytime soon? We recently got a chance to interact with Sudarshan Venu, Joint MD of TVS Motor Company to find the answeres.
What is TVS’ vision for the future of the Norton brand?
“We would look to re-build Norton to its rightful and original glory and take it into the future. Although we will run it arm’s length, the focus will be to cater to the loyal customer base while keeping the brand’s legacy intact,” Venu said during the interaction. In effort to meet that end goal, TVS has appointed former Harley Davidson Boss, John Russel to lead the charge at Norton. They we will soon appoint a full management team to support Russel with the revival of Norton.
What are the assets that TVS has got through this acquisition, in terms of product-line, physical property or IPs?
TVS have got all the IPs of the brand, the existing products, and some of the upcoming products. The Hosur-based bikemaker also holds global distribution rights, and all decisions associated with the brand. On the other end of the spectrum, under the new management, Norton will also look at retaining their 76 dealers that they have across 21 countries, and in the future even look at expanding the reach to scale up business.
And all the bikes that are in the market, will TVS honour the warranties and service for it?
When asked about existing customers, Venu said, “We are taking over Norton with none of the past liabilities, and that’s where it stands.” The Joint MD didn’t shed any more light on the matter, and the mysterious statement doesn’t seem very confidence inspiring for the customer either. However, TVS claims to be working with the 300 customers who have already paid deposits, and will deliver the bikes to them. No timeline of deliveries was shared at this point.
Norton had already showcased its Atlas 650 project. Does that plan remain? Will the 650s come to India?
TVS believes that Norton’s connect and legacy is with consumers in the top-end of the market – largely 800-900cc and above, and that is where they will focus. When Norton announced their partnership with Kinetic in 2018, there were plans of bringing in the 650s to India, but under the new leadership there are no such plans as of now. Norton will continue to be a ‘boutique brand’.
In their earlier partnership with Kinetic, Norton had planned to commence CKD operations in India. Will we see that reality in the near future?
No. As of now the Norton factory will continue to remain in Donnington Hall, UK. TVS only has the existing facility for six months, and will move to a new facility in the UK within that time period. The design and manufacturing will be done out of there.
Will Norton Motorcycles be sold in India at all?
“To start with, Norton will only focus on markets where they have a strong customer connect. Mostly, developed nations in Europe, UK, America and a few other markets,” the 30-year old Joint MD said. As of now, it seems clear that the brand’s priority is to re-establish itself in the markets where there is demand. The British motorcycle manufacturer may eventually expand to emerging markets including India, but it is not at the top of the priority list and no official timeline was shared by TVS.
The bikes that Norton currently has in their portfolio including the Commando, Dominator and the V4 R, are not Euro 5 compliant at the moment. Will they be upgraded to meet the more stringent emission norms?
Norton will be upgrading the motorcycles to meet the new emission norms.
Just before going into administration, Norton sold the rights of the 961 engine to Chinese firm Jinlang. Does TVS still have the rights for that engine?
TVS says they have all the rights to produce and sell Norton’s current range of motorcycles and didn’t comment on the rights held by the Chinese firm.