BSA returns with new UK factory, petrol and electric bike plans
Historic British bike brand BSA is to be relaunched with a new range of petrol AND electric machines entering production in the Midlands as early as next year, according to latest reports.
The development will see the legendary name back on the road alongside other great-revived British brands Triumph and Norton for the first time since the early 1970s.
The announcement came this week from Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra whose Mahindra Group, one of Asia’s largest automotive and engineering conglomerates, bought the BSA brand in 2016. Mahindra also bought the Jawa brand that year and in addition owns the Peugeot two-wheeler brand. Jawa was relaunched in India in 2018 with a range of retro-styled, 300cc four-stroke singles reminiscent of Royal Enfields, which have proved a huge success with over 50,000 sales in its first year.
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Now Mahindra is readying to relaunch BSA with hopes to assemble initially petrol bikes at a new factory near BSA’s historic home in Small Heath, Birmingham, as early as mid-2021. Reports state this will create about 45 jobs and the bikes will cost between £5000 and £10,000 with parts from both UK suppliers and abroad.
Longer-term, however, ‘new BSA’ is looking to electric power and was recently awarded a £4.6m UK government grant to develop electric machines. It will now shortly begin building a research facility near Banbury to develop the technology where it hopes to create at least 255 jobs.
The Mahindra-owned BSA Company Ltd also recently consolidated the brand by buying three other BSA companies from the BSA Regal group, which previously owned the brand rights.
"The UK was the leader in bikes right from the start," Anand Mahindra told The Guardian. "That provenance is something that we really want to retain", adding that it is "very important" to have the bikes assembled in the UK "for the authenticity of the brand."
In 1951, after BSA’s purchase of Triumph, the original Small Heath company became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, famous for models such as the Bantam, Gold Star and Rocket. However, following a dramatic decline in the 1960s it was amalgamated into Norton-Villiers-Triumph and produced its last BSA-badged machine in 1973.