Triumph Motorcycles: - Company History
Triumph Motorcycles Ltd are the largest surviving motorcycle company in British ownership. When the original Triumph company went into receivership in 1983 John Bloor bought the name and manufacturing rights and managed to keep the Triumph mark going and now Triumph has over one hundred years of motorcycle manufacturing experience to be proud of.
The original company was based in Coventry and founded by Siegrief Bettmann who emigrated to England from Nuremberg, Germany in 1884 aged just 20 and established the S. Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency where he mainly imported bicycles.
Triumph's evolution continued in 1887 when it became the New Triumph Co. Ltd with financial backing from Dunlop and was joined by Moritz Schulte who also was from Nuremberg.
Five years later Triumph decided to expand into the motorcycle market with a motorbike fitted with a Belgian Minerva engine. By 1903 the company managed to sell 500 motorcycles and opened a factory in Germany. After initially copying other motorcycle manufacturer's designs, they started producing their own designs a year later and then during the First World War Triumph sold more than 30,000 motorcycles to the Allied force.
After the war Bettmann and Schulte fell out as the later wanted to move the business into produce motorcars, whilst Bettman wished to focus on motorcycles. Although, this direction didn't last ling as Triumph bought the former Hillman car factory in Coventry and produced a saloon car in 1923.
During the Great Depression Triumph spun off its Germany operation into an independently owned company and then in 1932 Triumph sold off the bicycle arm of the business which was renamed Raleigh.
As Coventry was a target of the German bombers during the Second World War the Triumph's production plant was destroyed resulting in Triumph reopening after the war in Meriden in the West Midlands.
The war incurred great debts for the nation and as such we had to repay the Americans back for their loans. As a result of this Triumph exported nearly 70% of their production of the States to service some of those debts. At this time the Americans preferred motorcycles suitable for long distance riding and so Triumph produced the Thunderbird. And for those interested it was the Thunderbird 6T that was ridden by Marlon Brando in the film The Wild One. Triumph continued to enhance its product range and did that with the performance motorcycle in the form of the 500cc Tiger 100. In 1959 the T110 became the T120 and then renamed the Bonneville.
Skipping forward a generation or two. Following Triumph's sale in 1983, the new owner decided not to rush straight into production and instead spent the next four years researching and developing a new engine and didn't launch its first motorcycle until 1991 with the 750 cc, 900 cc, 1000 cc and the 1200 cc four-cylinder bikes. It has been reported that there were initially problems with the TT600 which was also launched. The first few years was a period of trial and error with Triumph modifying their product range with the loss of some models and the creation of retro-looking motorcycles in the form of the Triumph Bonneville and the Thruxton and the Rocket III which was introduced in 2004. Latterly the Tiger 1050cc was released in 2007 and the Triumph Thunderbird 1600 in 2009.
Triumph Motorcycles Limited - Address
Oxford Business Park,
Triumph Motorcycles Limited - Financial Information
The company has increased its pre-tax profits from £7 for the year end 30 June 2006 to £8.7m in 2008.
Triumph Motorcycles - Useful Resources
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