20th February 2020

The Fall of Norton Motorcycles

Owners (and hopeful soon-to-be) owners of Norton motorcycles may be frustrated to hear the news that the company has entered administration following difficulty paying tax bills. Metro Bank, who have spent months with the Leicester-based company, have confirmed that bringing in the administrators was a last resort – one that may mark the end of the 122 year old business.

“Having worked closely with the company for many months, we have acted in the best interest of the company’s stakeholders and employees, and on the basis of independent advice. We have therefore made the difficult decision to request the appointment of administrators.”
- Spokeswoman for Metro Bank

The decision is likely to impact the jobs of up to 100 employees at the Castle Donington assembly plant, who are left uncertain about their future. Lee Causer, a restructuring professional representing BDO, is assuring everybody impacted that they will be taking “all necessary steps to ensure that customers, staff and suppliers are supported through the administration process”.

Over the last few years Norton has maintained an image of success, taking deposits for the production of numerous bikes, as well as signing a number of export and licensing deals. But despite the successful sales and deals Norton have found themselves unable to pay their tax bill, reportedly to a cost of £300,000.

A report from MoreBikes.co.uk has suggested a reason for the heavy losses; despite the huge investment Norton struggled to make money on their sales, with its last full-year account showing sales of £6.7m but less than £34,000 in pre-tax profit.

This news may be the closing chapter in a book that spans more than a century and it’s always sad to see a British brand fail. Though it may be of some reassurance that despite the numerous news stories on the decline of the motorcycle industry, some businesses are seeing a strong resurgence that we hope to see more of. You can read more about Triumph’s return to glory in our recent blog post: The Resurrection of Triumph.