Triumph Motorcycles will begin to produce more motorcycles in Thailand. This announcement was made by Triumph CEO, Nick Bloor, in a letter sent out to current staff. Unfortunately, this means that some 50 manufacturing jobs at its headquarters at Hinckley, in the United Kingdom, could be terminated. Production of Triumph’s high-end TFC badged models (Bobber, Thruxton and Rocket3) will remain in Hinckley, though. This will amount to about 4,500 units a year. In addition, Triumph said it will invest heavily into turning Hinckley into a research and development center, called the Centre of Excellence for Research and Development, with the new department requiring 20 new employees.
Some 6,000-7,000 motorcycles were produced in Hinckley, out of Triumph’s 65,000 total per year. 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 be moved there as well.
“We are now preparing for Triumph’s next wave of strategic growth. We want to maximize 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 focusing our mass production capabilities in Thailand,” CEO 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.”
This may be bad news for those working at the UK, however, it should be good news for potential customers in southeast Asia and the Philippines. Thailand is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which allows Thailand to export motorcycles built there to the Philippines with 0% tariffs via the ASEAN Free-Trade Agreement (AFTA). This means Thai-made Triumph motorcycles could potentially be cheaper and within reach of more Filipino buyers. The timing of this news couldn’t be better as Triumph Philippines plans to begin operations next month.
Let’s not forget that Triumph has also partnered with Bajaj to sell smaller displacement bikes starting 2022. And while they may not arrive for some time, we may already begin to enjoy the benefits of Triumph’s new strategy for emerging markets like ours.