Triumph Motorcycles London UK England hinckley jobs

Triumph Motorcycles to slash more jobs

Triumph Motorcycle will slash 400 jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and their plan to move more production from Hinckley to Thailand.

The British company announced in February that it would cut 240 of its 2500-strong global workforce with 50 of the 1000 employed at Hinckley to go as it moved production offshore to target rapidly growing Asian markets.

Jobs slashed

Now the global job cuts have been increased to 400 with 240 to go in the UK after a pandemic sales slump over the past three months.

In Australia, Triumph sales were only down 6.5% in the first quarter, but Triumph says some countries have recorded up to a 65% loss in sales.

Chief Executive Nick Bloor said the crisis has caused “significant damage” to the global motorcycle market and it was a “challenging time” for the company.

“These are not easy decisions to make, especially when individuals’ livelihoods are affected,”he says.

“However, regrettably the scale of impact of Covid-19 necessitates us to restructure now in order to protect the long term health and success of the Triumph brand and business.”

Global manufacture

Thailand Triumph factory trials
Thailand Triumph factory

In 2002, Triumph opened its first factory in Thailand where it now has three facilities making about 80% of last year’s total of 60,131 bikes.

There are also factories in Brazil and India supplying for the local markets.

In January, Triumph announced an agreement with Baja to build a range of 200-750cc motorcycles in India.

Proposed Triumph 250
Proposed Triumph 250

Sales downturn

“Sales in the larger 500cc plus motorcycle segment, in key markets such as France, Italy, Germany, the USA and the UK have fallen by between 40 and 65 per cent over the past three months during what would normally be the peak season for sales,” the company said in a statement.

“Although Triumph sales have outperformed this significant decline to some degree, the market is forecast to remain considerably down on pre-Covid 19 levels as a direct result of the economic conditions created by it.”

Triumph’s factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire, mainly makes engine components. It will become a research and development centre, but continue to build their new Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) motorcycles.

Production will be wound down from about 6500 a year to about 4500.

Triumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC ace diamond
Triumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC

 

  1. A few years ago, it was the norm to chop and change bikes in the UK to suit a whim. Bikes were all about serious performance, for seriously cheap. You could get in on the action for just a couple of thousand quid, for a decent used bike and new helmet and leathers. There was a nice little scene, comprising ordinary working class people who enjoyed recreational motorcycling on their Bandits, Hornets, Fazers, Fireblades and the like. This was possible because people kept buying new bikes, some taking to track days, others off road, and others sticking to roads on sunny weekends. It was nice.

    Now, everything is very, very expensive. You can get in on the action if you’re willing to be irresponsible with your personal finances and take out a PCP agreement. The days of cheap, good bikes on the used market are very rapidly drawing to a close. The customers are split between used buyers – generally responsible people who want to own something and who have set aside a few thousand for their purchase, and new buyers who are retired or wealthy and who buy outright, or simply have a YOLO attitude and who simply “must” have that S1000R NOW. The effect is, while you could get, say, an excellent low mileage Bandit 1250 for about £1200 a couple of years ago, they now cost upward of £4000. Of course, those that turn up for sale are part of a diminishing pool of bikes, as well. The new bikes on hire credit or PCP turn up for sale by dealers after a couple of years, and hold their value well. This means, there is no point of entry to get in on the “cheap performance” train. You pay a lot more today to play than you once did. All the bike gear is seemingly split between bargain basement rubbish and very expensive stuff. It’s easily possible to pay £1000 on a pair of gloves, and the sky’s the limit on helmets.

    Also bear in mind that, in the past, a man might expect to own a television set, a computer and a set of golf clubs or other sporting gear for leisure, as well as a motorcycle. Now, he expects to own a games console, the latest Iphone, a flat-screen TV, etc. as his basic requirements in life, before he can even think of taking on another “hobby”, let alone an expensive one. The sum effect of all this is, less interest in bikes, as, because of price and lack of exposure among potentially interested noobs, they’ve become something relegated to a computer game fantasy. They’re still occasionally used as tools, of course. But the very low displacement machines, treated as disposable, are the tools of choice for the food delivery man and the commuter. Gone are the days of couriers riding big bikes, or office types charging into London and then back at night into the shires on a proper bike. This has happened because bike manufacturers needed to pitch their over-featured and over-complex bikes at a higher price point to break even, and in doing so they purposely pitched motorcycles as a Giffen/Veblen leisure accessory to attract the floozies, who will be into trikes and quad bikes and jetskis or whatever when the fashion changes. They started out on a Ducati Panigale (or a used GSXR, in the case of the not-so-wealthy wannabe), and so, having become masters of the universe of bikes after a couple of years on two wheels, they are the leading authorities on the subject to anyone in their ivory-towered social sphere, and before you know it, it’s time for them to move on to hang-gliding or whatever their “how to be alpha” lifestyle guru tells them to buy into next.

    Proper bikes got too expensive, and almost all of them are like that now. Even base models pretend to be something they’re not, e.g. 125s and CB500s with massive rear tyres, and 500s that look like sportsbikes to impress someone. The house the manufacturers built in the last few years was built on sand. It was, in fact, the death knell of bikes as we know them. The manufacturers will probably focus their attentions on India and SE Asia over the next few years instead, before a lot of them kick the bucket the same way as car companies in America.

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