India’s bike market is one of the biggest in the world and many of the firms active there are equally as massive. One company that wants to get a foothold is automobile manufacturing giant Mahindra, and our sources tell us it’s looking at getting its hands on a British brand to boost its chances.
Marketing machines under its own name, Mahindra has been trying to get a slice of the Indian motorcycle market for a while but has struggled to make significant progress. Last year it bought a controlling 51 per cent share in Peugeot Motorcycles, giving it access to more technology and an established name, and now it’s rumoured to be in talks with another well-known moniker.
Norton and BSA have both been mentioned as targets in the Indian press but of the two, Norton is more likely. Under Stuart Garner’s guidance, ownership of the brand and the worldwide rights to the name have been consolidated after years of dispute and confusion, and there’s a range of high profile, if low volume, bikes already bearing the name. BSA offers less appeal with its lack of recent activity to keep the name in public eye.
|Norton NRS 588|
And if Mahindra was to buy Norton it would be in a position to go head-to-head with Royal Enfield – a far smaller company, but one that’s much more established on the Indian motorcycle scene, and one that’s about to take off.
Reputable Indian newspapers report Mahindra has already held talks with representatives of both Norton and BSA. At the moment it’s far too early to speculate on the potential implications for either company should Mahindra buy one – or even both. Watch this space.