Norton Motorcycles has reportedly been in financial difficulty for a while, and now, it seems like it’s caught up with them. Reports out of the UK indicate the company has gone into administration. Or, as we colonials would put it: They’re broke.
The problems seem to have come to a head recently, as Norton was unable to pay a tax bill, reports the Leicester Mercury. Originally, Norton owed the government £600,000 (close to $1 million Cdn.) but managed to get that number down to £300,000. Norton CEO Stuart Garner said after a government hearing that the manufacturer had been given several weeks to come up with the rest of the money, and that another £135,000 should have been cancelled as part of an R&D tax break.
None of this news will surprise anyone who’s paid attention. When Garner bought the Norton marque in 2008, it took years to get the new 952 Commando models to some markets, despite customers waiting after making down-payments. More recently, Garner announced a crowd-funding drive last spring, then cancelled it, saying a private investor had come forward—without ever announcing who it was. The company seemed keen to lobby the UK government for public funds, and then recently, Isle of Man TT racer John McGuinness, who’d piloted Nortons at the 2019 TT, was seen asking about Garner’s whereabouts on social media. The gossip (unconfirmed) was that McGuinness was still looking for payment for last year’s duties.
So now, Norton is in administration, which means it’s insolvent, and now being managed by licensed insolvency practitioners. The future, for now, looks a bit messy.