Author: Kevin Ash Posted: 10 Jan 2013
Triumph's growth in the last 22 years has been astonishing, from zero to more than 50,000 bikes a year, even through the recession. But looking at the Hinckley factory's plans for the next few years, you ain't seen nothing yet!
While Triumph is making big efforts in several new markets, including the very promising Brazilian one, the cornerstone of the company's future is in India, where it's gunning for a slice of the massive 13 million annual new bike market.
To do this, it's working on a new range of single-cylinder bikes in the 250-350cc bracket. There will one basic engine design, a liquid-cooled, four-valve single (plenty of websites are reporting it’s a twin but that’s not what we believe – Ed) which will pitch towards the premium end of India's mainstream bike market.
While many European manufacturers including Ducati and BMW, along with Harley-Davidson, have begun selling their big capacity machines in India, Triumph is the first to create new, lower cost models for this market.
The numbers are on a whole different scale to what we're used to. Two factories are being built in India, initially to put together bikes from kits made in Triumph's Thai factories, but with full manufacture in mind at a later stage. And Triumph is looking at selling 250,000 machines annually in three years time, increasing to 500,000 soon after!
This dwarfs Ducati's 40,000 a year and is five times BMW's current 100,000 sales, and it's in addition to Triumph's sales in the rest of the world. These too are likely to grow substantially as variants of the new single will make an excellent entry level and economy bike for many markets around the world, including in the UK and Europe where sales in this sector are growing fast.
Triumph has a two particular advantages in India. One is its big Thai manufacturing facility, as Thailand has a trading agreement with India which means Triumphs made here avoid punitive import taxes and can compete directly with local products. The second is the name: Triumph is still a well known and respected brand in India, so the marketing is made far easier and more effective because of it.
As for us in the UK, this big upscaling of Triumph will mean more resources for research and development - in other words, better bikes, and they've hardly been turning out bad ones - and lower prices as the economies of scale kick in. We'll be getting a wider range of bikes too.