Triumph’s been making motorcycles in Thailand for years, but according to a report in Sump Magazine, the plan is to now build almost all its line outside the UK.
To some, this will come as a bit of a surprise, but it shouldn’t. Despite a generous plastering of Union Jack motifs, Triumph’s actually been building an increasingly larger chunk of its lineup in Thailand since the early 2000s. At this point, only the Tiger 1200 and Speed Triple are made in the UK, supposedly, and they’ll be moved to the Chonburi plant, says the BMF. Ducati’s been doing the same with its lower-priced Scrambler models, and of course Honda and Kawasaki are both building scads of bikes in Thailand as well. Just about every bike marque has some sort of manufacturing going on in Asia, and most of them are sourcing lots of parts and materials from Asia as well.
But, those other OEMs are also building a significant volume of their higher-end bikes in their companies’ home countries. Triumph is reportedly only planning to keep production of its TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) models in the UK, amounting to 4,500-6,500 machines a year.
Triumph is supposed to be laying off around 50 workers as part of the move to Thailand. However, there’s supposed to also be an increase in Triumph’s UK R&D program, as the company moves into the small-bike market and also into electric motorcycles. This should balance out some of the employment loss.
Kind of sad, really. I doubt that the ones that are losing their jobs will have the qualifications for the R&D hirings. Too bad the won’t keep at least enough production in Hinckley to avoid the layoffs.
On the other, when Triumph moved Bonneville production to Thailand, there were comments that build quality/fit and finish did improve. My T120 was built in Thailand and the build quality is excellent.
There’s no denying that Triumph kills it in the fit and finish department. Its Thai bikes look great.
Some lucky Englishman has a great gig in Chon Buri managing a factory. I should be so lucky.
Do the Bud Eakins Bonnevilles count as TFC’s? I heard that they were still building THOSE Bonnies in Leicester.