Norton Motorcycles Is Now Owned by TVS
The Norton Motorcycle Company has been thrown yet another lifeline after the latest incarnation of the storied British manufacturer went into administration in January. This time, it’s the Indian company TVS Motor Company that hopes to revive the 122-year-old brand.
TVS, India’s third largest manufacturer of motorcycles, paid the equivalent of $20 million in cash for Norton name, intellectual property and employee contracts. Production will eventually be moved from its current location at Donington Park in the coming months.
“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. We will extend our full support for Norton to regain its full glory in the international motorcycle landscape.”
Norton was founded by James Lansdowne Norton in 1898 in Birmingham, U.K., first as a bike parts manufacturer before turning to motorcycle production in 1902. It was almost immediately a favorable steed for racers, and the company began to really flourish in the 1950s with the introduction of the Dominator and Atlas. But it’s the Commando that put the company on the map in 1968, with its 750cc twin engine mounted on rubber bushings to the frame for less vibrations.
But by the mid-1970s, the British motorcycle industry was in dire straights, brought on mainly by the superior Japanese bikes of the time; the last Commando was built in 1976. The company rights were sold off and some race motorcycles were built under the Norton name, but it wasn’t until 2008 that it was bought again by Stuart Garner, a U.K. businessman, and the company was moved to Donington Park where new bikes were designed and built.
Norton then folded for the second time in January after Garner was accused of using company money for personal use, including a fleet of supercars, late – or no – delivery of sold motorcycles and even being caught up in a finance scheme that put the pensions of investors at risk. In the end, Norton finally ended up owing creditors more than £14 million ($17 million).
*Images courtesy of Norton Motorcycles