Norton Motorcycles reveals new UK base

Norton Motorcycles has pulled out of its Leicestershire home and is opening a new factory in the West Midlands.

The historic bike builder had been based in Castle Donington for more than a decade before going into administration last year.

It was subsequently bought by India’s TVS Motor Company who are moving it to a new base in Solar Park, Solihull.

Following a multi-million pound investment, all its design, engineering, manufacturing and testing will take place at the new site.

Norton said the new factory is now close to completion and will open this spring.

It said more than 50 “high quality” jobs had been created and more are expected to follow as manufacturing grows.

The business was previously working out of the former British Midland International airline offices in the grounds of Donington Hall, near East Midlands Airport.

TVS, which bought Norton out of administration last spring, is the sixth biggest bike manufacturer in the world and part of the £6.2 billion-plus TVS Group.

Sudarshan Venu, joint managing director of TVS Motors, said: “The opening of the new headquarters represents a significant step forward for Norton Motorcycles.

“The opening of this state-of-the-art facility will create the foundations for a sustainable long-term future of Norton. The new bikes will meet the world class standards our customers expect.

“2020 has been a tough year for the world but we are excited to be moving into our new home and we are delighted this has been created by the Norton and TVS teams in just nine months.

“This new facility underpinned by strong quality processes will produce bikes truly worthy of the illustrious Norton brand and take it into the future.

“We are setting out to create a future for the company, our employees, our customers and our partners that lives up to the highest expectations and enable Norton to once again become the real force its history deserves.”

Norton Motorcycles in Solihull

Norton was founded in Birmingham in 1898 and was bought in 2008 by businessman Stuart Garner, who moved the brand to Leicestershire, building up a strong following for the hand-built bikes.

However a year ago it became apparent the business was in financial difficulties and administrators from BDO were called in. At the time there were around 100 staff.

The Solihull site will be the central hub for all Norton operations when manufacturing resumes, and specialist tooling and equipment previously used by Norton has been carried over to the new site. It is also benefiting from substantial new investment.

The business said: “Skilled technicians will deploy bespoke bike building techniques and state-of-the-art new manufacturing equipment to ensure all bikes are built with great precision and quality, a hallmark of both Norton and TVS Motor Company.

“Norton will resume production of the Commando Classic model at the Solihull site, building a limited quality to honour customers that had ordered and paid for a deposit on these bikes.”

Production of the V4SS will also commence soon.

Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the move was a “real vote of confidence” in the region.

He said: “It speaks volumes to the strides the West Midlands has taken forward in recent years that Norton has chosen to come home after more than a decade based outside the region.

“This investment not only re-establishes our historic partnership with Norton, but will set a world-class benchmark for exceptional motorcycle manufacturing at the heart of our region, creating hundreds of jobs in the process at what is an incredibly challenging time economically.

“This investment also represents the start of an important partnership between the West Midlands and TVS Motors.

“With Tata-owned JLR also based in the region, the West Midlands has a good relationship with India that we are constantly looking to improve through the West Midlands India Partnership.

“This investment by Norton exemplifies what exactly we are trying to achieve with the partnership, and I am delighted to welcome the company back home.”

Norton bikes include the 650SS, Atlas, Commando, Dominator, Manx, Navigator and the brand name is synonymous with Isle of Man TT racing.

Business Live – West Midlands