Triumph the decline of the legend

Triumph the decline of the legend. Part 1

 

Previous posts:

Triumph the legend

Triumph Speed Twin

Triumph Tiger 100

Triumph 1943 to 1949

Triumph Thunderbird 6T

Triumph 1951-1952

Triumph 1953-1955

Triumph 1956-1958

Triumph Bonneville

Triumph 1960-1962

Triumph and BSA

Triumph Trident T150    

Norton and Triumph

 

 

1975. The last survivor

Triumph the decline of the legend

 

With the doors of Norton Villiers-Triumph (NVT) practically closed, the Meriden cooperative became the last survivor of an industry that was powerful, avant-garde and with brands recognized worldwide.

The Bonneville was a quality product, but it was getting outdated, it was a motorcycle with a lot of character, fast, simple and very attractive, but unfortunately it had to be updated for the new times.

When the cooperative started the Bonnie upgrade, it became involved in NVT’s problems, let’s not forget that it was committed to selling all the production to Norton, and setting the right price was very difficult.

In addition, the company continued with the production problems, it did not reach the objective of manufacturing the 230 units per week, which were necessary to reach the break-even point, and the financial problems continued and extended to 1976, this year it lost 1 million Pounds.

With the doors of Norton Villiers-Triumph (NVT) practically closed, the Meriden cooperative became the last survivor of an industry that was powerful, avant-garde and with brands recognized worldwide.

 

 

A last minute help. Triumph the decline of the legend

Triumph the decline of the legend

 

At the end of 1976 Meriden had to manufacture 350 units a week to ensure its survival, an unrealistic figure, in addition, it depended on NVT to sell in the US and NVT continued to have many internal problems in Great Britain and external problems with the distribution network in North America.

Triumph the decline of the legend

Triumph Bonneville T140V 1977 | Triumph the decline of the legend

In 1977 the financial problems were accentuated, although an attempt was made to buy the name of Triumph and the marketing rights of the vehicles from NVT, for this new financial help from the government was necessary, this time it was rejected by the British state.

Many workers were fired because stocks had to be reduced. Fortunately, the GEC Company came to rescue it, bought 2,000 motorcycles, and provided the much-needed liquidity. In return, the unused factory space would be used to build Puch Maxi mopeds.

Bonneville´s production restarted in March, reaching 250 motorcycles per week, and one of the advantages of GEC’s participation was administrative support, including free assistance from Lord Stokes, former head of British Leyland.

Lord Stokes helped the cooperative’s director, Brenda Price; establish a new subsidiary in the United States, Triumph Motorcycles America (TMA). Despite the factory closure, Meriden managed to build 11.931 motorcycles a year.

In 1977 the financial problems were accentuated, although an attempt was made to buy the name of Triumph and the marketing rights of the vehicles from NVT, for this new financial help from the government was necessary, this time it was rejected by the British state.

 

 

And the problems…continued. Triumph the decline of the legend

Triumph the decline of the legend

 

1978 was one of the best years of this last stage, production reached 12.000 units a year, reaching a maximum of 320 a week, but this time, external circumstances affected Meriden.

All production was shipped to the United States where it was put together in a large unsold inventory from 1977, the sales of the American distributors did not reach the targets and this caused liquidity problems for the cooperative again.

While the new models for this year had been well received, the drop in revenue continued to reach £ 700.000 in losses.

In the spring of 1979 with the conservative Thatcher government in power, the road became more difficult for Meriden. He was facing serious debt problems, a slump in UK sales and an unsold inventory of 8.000 units.

1978 was one of the best years of this last stage, production reached 12.000 units a year, reaching a maximum of 320 a week, but this time, external circumstances affected Meriden.

It required the dismissal of 200 workers and a reduction in production to 200 motorcycles a week. Expectations in the cooperative were not good and with a government ideologically in the antithesis anticipated a cruel fate.

Triumph la leyenda termina

Triumph Bonneville T140V 1977 | Triumph the decline of the legend

Despite this black vision of the future, Meriden knew that he had to upgrade the Bonneville to new times to ensure its survival, the first of these new designs was the T140D Bonneville Special.

This new launch generated some optimism but with an unfavorable exchange rate with the US and even with a lot of stocks in the American distributors, the orders were not what was expected and the situation became unsustainable.

 

To be continue.

 

 

 

 

Source: “Triumph motorcycles 1937-today” of Ian Falloon

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2020 | Triumph the decline of the legend