"500 Nortons headed to Australia"
Norton Motorcycles | Domiracer | 961 | S Garner
Did you hear the one about the British bike manufacturer that's just secured a 500-bikes-per-annum sales deal with the Australians?
Well we've just heard it. And we're not sure if we're laughing.
The punch line came recently from Norton's international sales manager Mark Pinfield. And that 500-bike deal is said to be good for 500 machines per annum for the next five years. Additionally, Norton Motorcycles (we hear) is said to be anticipating annual sales of £350,000 of clothing and Norton branded goods to this lucrative Antipodean market.
We don't want to be mean, but we've heard various claims and promises from Norton, not all of which have had much substance. But we're giving the firm the benefit of the doubt with this one because ... well, because Stuart Garner has clearly worked hard on this project and has certainly done more than anyone else to put Norton Motorcycles back into mainstream production, thereby bringing home some much needed dollars.
Moreover, it's unrealistic to expect all business promises to be kept. Things go wrong, after all. Machinery breaks down. Staff go sick. Currencies fluctuate. Technical glitches arise. Plans go awry.
Nevertheless, Garner has made some serious errors in the past regarding delivery; errors that he's trying to correct. And we want him to succeed. That's why we're taking at face value the comment by Pinfield that overall sales of Norton Motorcycles have just passed 1000 bikes.
Fifty percent of these motorcycles, we understand, have been exported. Correction: Fifty percent of the 961 twins built have been exported. But of the 50 Domiracers so far produced, only five percent have gone overseas.
Want some more numbers?
Okay, in 2012, 39 Norton 961 twins were registered in the UK. In 2013 that figure had risen to 44. And up until August this year (2014) UK registrations had reached 43 machines. Not huge numbers, but the figures are certainly heading the right way.
But add those numbers together and you get 126. Subtract 126 from 500 (the rough number of bikes produced since 2009) and you arrive at 374. That's over 124 bikes per annum between 2009 (start date) and 2012 (when the aforementioned 39 bikes were registered).
Now, we're not the world's best mathematicians, but something doesn't add up here. So maybe the production information we're getting is incorrect. Or maybe the registration figures are wrong. Or maybe Mark Pinfield has been roundly misquoted. Or maybe "abroad" doesn't include the EC. And maybe Norton can explain this sometime?
The manufacturer currently has four retail outlets in the UK. These are:
Krazy Horse in Suffolk
Thor Motorcycles in Bodmin, Cornwall
Revolutions in Perth, Scotland
Norton factory in Castle Donington, Derbyshire.
To show our good intentions to Norton, we've put free links on this page for each of the dealers. Clearly, these guys have got vision, balls, and a lot of faith that Garner will continue to deliver. So in turn, we're backing them.
Meanwhile, we want you Australians to hurry up and buy those 500 Nortons the moment they land on your shores. You've got plenty of dosh in your pockets (if you believe the news). You've got sunshine, miles of empty roads, plenty of leisure time, and no excuses.
Britain needs you, Bruce.