New Triumph importer shifts strategy
Flagship Gauteng dealership is put on hold, while new Cape Town dealer and two new bike launches are planned for 2019
It was all change for Triumph motorcycles in SA in 2018 when the brand was taken over from longtime importers Kawasaki Motorcycles SA, and handed to the Fury Motor Group in a joint venture with automotive industry veteran Bruce Allen.
It was part of the British brand’s efforts to portray a more upscale new corporate worldwide image in single, larger dealerships in cities rather than the previous smaller dealers scattered about suburbia.
The plan to showcase this smart image in a new flagship Triumph World Black facility in Woodmead has been put on hold after SA motorcycle sales took another big dip in 2018 and, for now, the importer has decided to continue selling bikes from its existing Sandton dealership, with smaller service and repair facilities around the country.
It’s been a rough ride for SA’s motorcycle industry in the past few years, particularly in the over-500cc market, which has dropped from 9,000 units sold in 2014 to 4,800 in 2018, and last year the market was down 26% on the year before.
Although Triumph’s market share increased from 5% to 7%, its sales volumes have shown a decline which has prompted putting a hold on its Gauteng expansion plans.
“Given the current continued decline in the 500cc+ segment we have decided to develop the Woodmead dealership building to a certain point and hold until we see some signs of turnaround in the market,” says Allen, who brings 24 years of automotive retail experience to his new role as CEO of Triumph Motorcycles SA.
The Fury Motor Group, established in 1995, is a diverse private motor group, representing multiple automotive brands in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“The current Sandton facility is a good home for now. Probably a bigger priority at the moment is to establish a retail presence in Cape Town, which we are focusing on for the second half of 2019,” says Allen.
Triumph also plans to launch two new motorcycles here in March to bolster its range: the Scrambler 1200 and the Bonneville Speed Twin.
The Scrambler 1200 is a retro-styled dual-purpose bike for on- and off-road use, powered by a two-cylinder 1,200cc with outputs of 66kW and 110Nm.
While its styling is a throwback to a bygone era, the technology’s right up to date and includes ABS brakes, traction control, and several riding modes (Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road and Rider-Configurable). It also has all-LED lighting, keyless ignition, cruise control, and a USB charger.
It will sell in two versions: the dual-purpose XC and the more offroad-focused XE with longer-travel suspension, hand guards, and an extra Off-Road Pro riding mode.
The Bonneville Speed Twin will join Triumph’s Modern Classic range as a custom roadster powered by the above-mentioned twin-cylinder 1,200cc motor. It has all the latest electronics and riding modes, set into a retro-styled bike with premium detailing such as brushed aluminium front and rear fenders, and anodised forged aluminum headlight brackets.
An upright and relatively relaxed riding position make the new Speed Twin an approachable choice for new and old riders alike.
Pricing of the new bikes will be announced closer to launch time.
Established in 1902, Triumph Motorcycles is the largest British motorcycle manufacturer and has more than 750 dealers across the world. The company produces about 60,000 motorcycles a year and has a market share of 6% of the over-500cc segment.
The 116-year old brand has a strong following in this country with about 4,500 Triumphs on our roads. The Triumph Thruxton R was also SA's 2016 Pirelli Bike of the Year, as voted for by a panel of motorcycle journalists.