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Triumph to make many more bikes in the UK

Triumph is to make many more bikes in the UK this year, only two years after moving much of its production to Thailand. Booming demand across Europe and successful launches of the marque in new markets such as China are said to be behind the decision.

Production had been progressively been moving to the company’s three South East Asian plant since they were set up in 2002-2007 and 2020 saw Speed Triple and Tiger 1200 – the final mainstream models built at Hinckley – move there too, spelling the end of mainstream assembly in Britain. The Hinckley plant has since focused on R&D and limited production bikes, building around 4,500 machines a year.

Soaring demand for new Triumphs, particularly the Trident 660 and new Tiger 900, has now prompted a U-turn, with the Hinckley factory once more building Tiger 1200s for the UK and European markets. Production of the Tiger 900, Speed Triple and Rocket III will also return by the end of 2022. It’s welcome news for Triumph’s original home factory, which suffered 240 job losses as Covid lockdowns hit – around 100 new jobs should be created this year. Production efficiencies at Hinckley have also reduced build times by 20%, making the British factory more competitive with its Thai equivalents.

“We’ll have the Centre of Design Excellence (at Hinckley) and an expanded production capability as well,” said Chief Commercial Officer Paul Stroud. “It will start progressively, at a rate of 15,000 a year, then we’ll go up very quickly to beyond 20,000.” Triumph sold just over 80,000 bikes in 2021, making Hinckley a key production hub in its global strategy. “We’ll still be producing Tiger 1200s and 900s over in Thailand,” added Paul  “but also producing more locally to sell to the local markets.”

“That’s great news for the Hinckley plant, especially the productivity gains, always a relative weakness in the UK. Let’s just hope that European demand holds up in the current crisis.” said BMF Chair Jim Freeman.

Words by Peter Henshaw

All images courtesy of Triumph Motorcycles