One of India’s leading businessmen has reiterated his intention to bring back iconic British motorcycle brand BSA.
Anand Mahindra, the billionaire chairman of the Mahindra Group, says he hopes to resurrect the legendary brand, which last produced a motorcycle in the early 1970s.
In an interview over the weekend, he spoke about his plans for BSA to become an electric vehicle maker in the future and to produce motorcycles at a new factory close to the brand’s original home in Small Heath. , Birmingham, from next year.
BSA makes a comeback: iconic British motorcycle brand could be resurrected from next year after Mahindra Group bought the rights to its name last week
Mr Mahindra told The Guardian he hopes to start building a research center in Banbury, Oxfordshire to develop electric motorcycle technology soon.
This would be followed by a new production facility in the brand’s historic home in Small Heath.
The first production motorcycles will be fossil-fueled bikes, but by the end of 2021, he hopes BSA e-bikes could be ready.
âThe UK has been the leader in cycling from the start,â Mahindra told the newspaper. “This provenance is something we really want to keep.”
Last week, Mahindra & Mahindra announced that its subsidiary BSA Company Limited in the UK had purchased three companies from the BSA Regal group.
BSA was one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world in its heyday
The Bantam is the most famous product of British manufacturers, selling over a quarter of a million copies after the model was launched after WWII.
Anand Mahindra, the billionaire chairman of the Mahindra group, hinted at his intentions to relaunch the iconic bike brand in 2017 with this tweet
This isn’t the first time the billionaire, who made his fortune from the automaker, has promised to bring the brand back after buying BSA Company Limited in October 2016.
At Christmas day in 2017 he tweeted a picture of Santa Claus on a BSA bike, writing: “We’re sorry you missed your favorite ride all these years, Santa … We’re working to get it back for you … A new and shiny one, but with everything the character of your old steed. ‘
Anand Mahindra has an estimated wealth of $ 1.7 billion (Â£ 1.3 billion)
Anand Mahindra has an estimated fortune of $ 1.7 billion (Â£ 1.3 billion), according to Forbes magazine.
The UK government has given BSA a Â£ 4.6million grant to develop e-bikes, hoping to create at least 255 jobs in and around Oxfordshire.
BSA bikes with traditional combustion engines will cost between Â£ 5,000 and Â£ 10,000, the Guardian reported.
The company fears it will be hit by tariffs after Britain exits the EU, but believes it can exploit the desire that people will have to travel when the lockdown finally ends.
In its heyday, it was the number one motorcycle brand in the country.
BSA, which stands for Birmingham Small Arms, was founded in 1861 to manufacture firearms – a benchmark fans of the BBC drama Peaky Blinders are familiar with.
After World War II, the Midlands Ammunition Factory at Small Heath in the south-eastern part of Birmingham became a motorcycle assembly line.
Daily Mail automotive correspondent Courtenay Edwards on the BSA Bantam motorcycle
The Bantam used a small capacity single cylinder engine. Over 250,000 have been sold
Pat Booth, actress and model, sitting on her BSA Starfire 250cc motorcycle
In 1948, BSA released the legendary Bantam, which sold over 250,000 copies. It also launched successful models including the Gold Star and the A10 Rocket Gold Star.
In 1951, it bought the rival British motorcycle brand Triumph.
The combined production of the two brands made BSA the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world at the time.
However, mismanagement and bad investments brought the business down soon after and – like many UK businesses – it was crippled by recession around the turn of the 1970s.
A government bailout in 1972 saw BSA merge with Norton-Villiers to create Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT), which only lasted six years before being finally liquidated.
The last BSA motorcycle was produced in 1973.
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