A happy ending?
2020 rolled in like a freight train. Between the whole presidential impeachment, the catastrophic Australian bushfires, and the coronavirus pandemic we’re still dealing with, it's been a weird few months, to say the least. In the motorcycle industry, one of the biggest hits so far (in our opinion at least) has been the whole Norton Motorcycles debacle.
In January, the British company went into administration but that was only the tip of the figurative iceberg. Through the weeks that followed the announcement, we learned that the company we were rooting for had (allegedly) been playing dirty—you can check out our timeline of events here. Very few companies can survive this sort of scandal and get a second chance but it looks like Norton will be one of them.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, well-established Indian motorcycle and scooter manufacturer TVS Motor Company confirmed that it has officially purchased Norton in a reported £16M deal (US$20M). It seems like a small price to pay to own such a historical name but this is more than enough to cover what the company owes its creditors which hopefully means people will see their money again.
The deal includes the brand name (of course), the company’s intellectual property (apparently its most valuable assets) as well as employees’ contracts. It seems, however, that the famous Donington Hall HQ isn’t part of the transaction and that it will be let go of in the upcoming months.
"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. 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," TVS Motor Company Joint Managing Director Sudarshan Venu said.
At least the new owner sounds optimistic but can TVS really turn things around for Norton? Truthfully: it probably can. The scandal might have left a bad taste in our mouth but the centennial brand deserves more than to die in infamy. If the balance of legacy and affordability is right, people will likely be willing to overlook the scandal to get their hands on a Norton 3.0. Like many other European legacy brands before, it’s Norton’s turn to seek a future in India.