Triumph the end of the legend

Triumph the decline of the legend. Part 2

 

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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

Triumph the decline of the legend      

 

 

 

1980. Looking for a solution

Triumph the end of the legend

 

In 1980 a partnership agreement was attempted with the already powerful Japanese brands, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and with the American company Armstrong Equipment, manufacturer of suspensions and exhausts.

Triumph the end of the legend

Suzuki GS550L 1980 | Triumph the end of the legend

Suzuki was genuinely interested in a partnership agreement but wanted complete control; production would increase to 30.000 units per year including 250, 500 and 750cc displacement options. But sharp yen devaluation destroyed the entire process. Armstrong, finally, would be the most solid option.

While production was reduced to 50 units a week, the British government did not support the sale to the American company, resulting in Meriden being forced to lay off 300 workers.

The future of the Cooperative was unknown, the Export Credit Guarantee Fund was looking for ways to recover capital from stocks not sold in the United States, and they considered Meriden, with its distribution network, the best solution to ensure the result financial.

In exchange, the government agreed to cancel the outstanding loan and the accrued interest of the cooperative. Meriden had been saved at the last moment, again, but this whole process caused a bad year for production, only 2.500 units in 1980.

In 1980 a partnership agreement was attempted with the already powerful Japanese brands, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and with the American company Armstrong Equipment, manufacturer of suspensions and exhausts.

 

 

 

1981. A very fragile situation

Triumph the end of the legend

 

The low demand from the American market and the recession that was still affecting the British economy made 1981 another very bad year commercially speaking, the polluting emission laws were constantly changing and small companies, especially the European ones, made a great effort to adapt to them.

1980 and 1981 models could not be sold in California yet and Meriden was trying to satisfy the market with 1979 models, meanwhile, striving to sell the entire stock of the T140D as required by agreement with the Credit Guarantee Department to Export.

In March, orders returned and the factory started to work full time, but the situation was still delicate, the British motorcycle market continued to be depressed and Triumph‘s market share continued to decline. However, the American market began to grow slowly, still far from what is necessary to survive.

Several times during 1981, the cooperative faced closure, there were few opportunities to survive, and the end was inexorably approaching.

The low demand from the American market and the recession that was still affecting the British economy made 1981 another very bad year commercially speaking, the polluting emission laws were constantly changing and small companies, especially the European ones, made a great effort to adapt to them.

 

 

 

1982. Just surviving. Triumph the end of the legend

Triumph the end of the legend

 

In early 1982, Meriden suffered a severe cash flow crisis, hundreds of T140DS were still unsold in the United States, and the cooperative was struggling to introduce new models, particularly the eight-valve TSS.

Money was so scarce that dealers had to buy the new sales brochures from 1982-1983, and to cut overall costs, Meriden tried to sell part of the factory.

Triumph TSS | Triumph the end of the legend

In April, 11 new models were released at the NEC show, the TSS and TSX Custom were shown for the first time, as well as the controversial TS8-1. Continuing with the same dynamic of recent years, orders for the new models were few.

In addition, production delays continued, and units due to reach dealers in September did so in the winter, making the 1982 sales season yet another failure.

In November, the West Midlands Board of Companies tested a kind of aid to the company, financing the export of units to the US and development costs totaling £ 465.000.

Meriden’s workforce for this period was just 188 workers with a production of 80 motorcycles per week. Plans to sell part of the factory were going ahead, but at the end of the year the money ran out and almost all workers were fired, leaving a very small workforce.

Money was so scarce that dealers had to buy the new sales brochures from 1982-1983, and to cut overall costs, Meriden tried to sell part of the factory.

 

 

 

1983. Fighting to the end. Triumph of the legend

Triumph the end of the legend

 

At the beginning of 1983 the end was near, only 41 workers worked in the cooperative, the last Bonneville and Tiger were built in January, it was tried to continue with the development of new models and the transfer from factory to Dunlop.

Triumph TSX 750 1983 | Triumph the end of the legend

A great effort was made to attend the NEC show in March, showing the 599cc Daytona, the Thunderbirds TSX 8, TSX 4, TSS, TSX and new Bonneville.

On August 26, 1983, the cooperative finally closed its doors, Staffordshire businessman John Bloor acquired the name, patents and manufacturing rights, and the Meriden factory was sold.

In the United States, TMA closed with dignity, paid warranty claims, and continued to support dealers after selling parts inventory to JRC Engineering.

This good work left a good taste in the distributors and its customers, maintained a good image in its star market to be able to successfully relaunch the brand 10 years after its disappearance.

This good work left a good taste in the distributors and its customers, maintained a good image in its star market to be able to successfully relaunch the brand 10 years after its disappearance.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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