British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph Motorcycles is planning to move most of its motorcycle manufacturing outside of the UK, to the brand's manufacturing facility in Thailand. So far, 90 per cent of Triumph motorcycle models are already built at the Thailand facility, with just the Triumph Speed Triple and the Triumph Tiger 1200 being built at the brand's factory in Hinckley, UK. Production is expected to be moved to Thailand from mid-2020, but UK production will continue; around 4,500 motorcycles will continue to be built at Hinckley, after all mass production is moved abroad.
Only the high-end Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) models, none of which are offered on sale in India, and selected other special build projects will be carried out from the Hinckley facility. With most of the manufacturing of mass production models moving abroad, there is likely to be an impact on Triumph's manufacturing workforce in the UK. Up to 50 workers could lose their jobs at Hinckley, where there are around 1,000 employees, and workers at the UK factory have been told that the business is realigning operations under global ambitions to take a bigger chunk of the Asian market.
"We are now preparing for Triumph's next wave of strategic growth. We want to maximise the growth opportunity for the brand globally, particularly in the Asian markets. This is why we are increasing our design resources here in the UK, and focussing our mass production capabilities in Thailand," Triumph CEO Nick Bloor said in a statement.
"There will still be manufacturing capability in the UK, but the role of our facility in Hinckley will be reconfigured to enable us to create a more flexible and high-value capability."
According to reports, while mainstream production will move to Triumph's existing plants in Thailand, the Hinckley facility will become Triumph's research and development centre, to be called the Centre of Excellence for Research and Development, and the new department will acquire 20 new employees, primarily design and engineering opportunities. Out of Triumph's total production of 65,000 motorcycles last year, between 6,000-7,000 motorcycles were produced in Hinckley. Since 2002, Triumph has been slowly moving mass production of certain models to its factories in Chonburi, Thailand. Now, production of the Speed Triple and Tiger 1200 will also be moved there.
The planned move to shift production to Thailand comes just a month after Triumph finalised a non-equity partnership with India's largest exporter of motorcycles, Bajaj Auto. Under the partnership, the two brands has announced that a new mid-capacity engine and platform will be built, between 200-750 cc, and will offer multiple options to address different segments in the class. The bikes will be manufactured by Bajaj Auto in India, but will be sold under the Triumph brand.