Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is the largest British motorcycle manufacturer, established in 1983 by John Bloor after the original company Triumph Engineering went into receivership. The new company (initially Bonneville Coventry Ltd) continued Triumph’s record of motorcycle production since 1902. During the 12 months preceding June 2017, Triumph sold 63,400 motorcycles.
When Triumph Engineering went into receivership in 1983, John Bloor bought the name and manufacturing rights from the Official Receiver. The new company’s manufacturing plant and designs were outdated and unable to compete against the Japanese, so Bloor decided against relaunching Triumph immediately. Initially, production of the old Bonneville was continued under licence by Les Harris of Racing Spares, in Newton Abbot, Devon, to bridge the gap between the end of the old company and the start of the new company. For five years from 1983, about 14 a week were built at peak production. In the United States, owing to problems with liability insurance, the Harris Bonnevilles were never imported.
Bloor set to work assembling the new Triumph, hiring several of the group’s former designers to begin work on new models. The team visited Japan on a tour of its competitors’ facilities and became determined to adopt Japanese manufacturing techniques and especially new-generation computer-controlled machinery. In 1985, Triumph purchased a first set of equipment to begin working, in secret, on its new prototype models. By 1987, the company had completed its first engine. In 1988, Bloor funded the building of a new factory at a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site in Hinckley, Leicestershire. The first Hinckley Triumph’s were produced for the 1991 model year. Bloor put between £70 million and £100 million into the company between purchasing the brand and breaking even in 2000.
At the same time as production capacity increased, Bloor established a new network of export distributors. He had previously created two subsidiary companies, Triumph Deutschland GmbH and Triumph France SA. In 1994, Bloor created Triumph Motorcycles America Ltd.
At 21:00 on 15 March 2002, as the company was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a motorcycle maker, its main factory was destroyed by a fire which began at the rear of the facility. At the height of the blaze, over 100 firefighters were tackling the fire, which destroyed most of the manufacturing capacity. Nevertheless, the company, which by then employed more than 650, quickly rebuilt the facility and returned to production by September that year.
In May 2002, Triumph began construction on a new sub-assembly manufacturing facility in Chonburi, Thailand to make various components. A second factory was opened in 2006 by Prince Andrew, Duke of York where a wet painting facility and assembly line have been established. A third factory was opened in 2007 to include high pressure die-casting and machining, and Triumph announced that they were expanding to increase capacity to over 130,000 motorcycles. Triumph Motorcycles (Thailand) Limited is a 100% UK owned company and now employs about 1000 staff.
In June 2009 Digby Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham, the former Minister of State for Trade, became chairman and the 1,600 cc (98 cu in) Thunderbird twin-cylinder cruiser was announced.
In early 2011 Nick Bloor, John Bloor’s son, took over from Tue Mantoni as CEO of Triumph Motorcycles and in 2017 Triumph opened a new £4 million visitor centre.