Entering the Indian market has cost Triumph Motorcycles more than expected, leading to its first global financial losses since 2009.
Global sales rose 5% to $610m for the 2012-13 financial year and more than 50,000 bikes for the first time since the brand’s rebirth three decades ago. However, the British company has reported a pre-tax loss of $12.8m for the year to $23.4m, compared with a pre-tax profit the previous financial year of $4.9m.
Several reasons were given for the losses, including a “restatement of foreign currency denominated assets and liabilities, additional net inter-group charges and the cost of entry into new markets”.
The major new market Triumph has entered this year is India, which could potentially be a huge boon for the manufacturer as it is the world’s second-largest motorcycle market.
It is not the only motorcycle company to enter the lucrative subcontinent market in recent years, following in the tyre tracks of Harley-Davidson, BMW, KTM, Ducati, Indian and Victory.
Triumph sells about 85% of its bikes outside the UK, with Europe and the US the main markets, and has a 6 per cent share of the large-capacity world motorcycle market.
But profits and sales have been slowing in recent years and the company has been looking at the growing Asian market since it built a low-cost assembly operation in Thailand in 2006.
In Australia, Triumph is the eighth top-selling motorcycle company, but is fifth in the road category which is the only type of bike it sells.
To the end of October, Triumph sales in Australia were marginally down 0.2% from 2196 to 2919.
The Brit was one of the few companies to post positive sales during the GFC.
Triumph has dominated the naked sector for several years, with the Street Triple its biggest seller at 342, backed up by the ever-faithful Bonneville.
However, it has slipped behind in the growing cruiser and adventure segments, despite new models in recent years such as the Thunderbird and Tiger Explorer.
Triumph reduced prices on several models last month to try to lift sales in the final quarter of 2013. See my story here.
The company also has some new models coming next year which may help improve sales.
The Thunderbird range welcomes two new models both featuring the 1699cc engine from the Storm which is the world’s largest parallel twin.
Thunderbird LT features the world’s first white-walled radial tyres while the Commander has dual-layer foam seat with lumbar support. Both models will be available in Australia next spring. The LT comes with ultra-wide wire-spoked wheels, shrouded Showa forks, twin 5-way preload adjustable Showa rear shocks, quickly-detachable windshield, detachable leather saddlebags, custom-style mudguards and ABS.
It will arrive in blue and white or red and black.
The Commander also has the 1699cc parallel twin with 151Nm of torque, plus ultra-wide wheels and tyres, shrouded forks, drainpipe exhausts, chrome highlights, wide footboards and Triumph’ signature twin headlamps.
It comes in two-tone paint.
Triumph also announced cosmetic updates to the America and Speedmaster cruisers, plus a special edition Tiger 800XC.
The Tiger arrives in “Volcanic Black” paintwork with a red main frame and cockpit infill, and black handlebars, heat shields and pillion grab rails. It comes standard with ABS.