A press release from Norton about a visit from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne held about as much interest as watching magnolia paint dry in an Army camp. It was nice read about possible new jobs and of course it's great to read that British motorcycles are being backed by the government. God knows they make enough out us in tax in the first place. But then we noticed a snippet on the bullet points -
"Develop a new clean motorcycle engine technology in the UK which will power a new green motorcycle within 2 years"
So could Norton be looking to follow the likes of KTM and Harley Davidson in the pursuit of electric motorcycles? There was a company that tried that in the UK but has sinced packed up and moved on. With some government backed funding it may stand a better chance as more and more focus is being put on the world to 'go green'. Let's not get into the fact that the making of electricity is by bulk produced by coal fired or nuclear reactors turning water into steam powered turbines.
It is perhaps the future of the motorcycle industry and while working well in built up countries for city commutes and so on there seems to be a big gap in the amount of time to charge a battery against the distance it will travel.
Here is the release for your own guessing -
UK Chancellor George Osborne kick starts Norton’s bid for global growth.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today visited world-famous Norton Motorcycles Ltd to announce £7.5m project which includes £4 million of government funding which will support 600 new jobs, including 200 new apprenticeships in a major boost to British motorcycle manufacturing.
The iconic British brand has been awarded £4 million from the Government’s landmark Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI). The funds will allow Norton and its 11 supply chain partners, to:
o Set up a new British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy (BMMA) to train and supply the next generation of engineering apprentices to Norton Motorcycles and other supply chain partners;
o Build a new 10,000 sq. feet manufacturing facility; and
o Develop a new clean motorcycle engine technology in the UK which will power a new green motorcycle within 2 years.
The AMSCI funding will result in 159 direct jobs at Norton Motorcycles, which the firm expects will grow into 600 direct and indirect jobs – including 200 apprentices - over 5 years.
This investment will secure the long term future of UK motorcycle manufacturing within Norton and its supply chain partners, re-shoring skills lost to UK manufacturing and helping them meet increasing global demand.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
“We want to make the Midlands an engine for growth by supporting the core strengths of the local economy like engineering and manufacturing.
“Our long term economic plan is all about backing successful British brands like Norton. Their decision to create 600 new jobs and investment in the next generation of manufacturing engineers is great news for the people of the East Midlands and a vote of confidence in the UK.”
As part of the visit the Chancellor toured the factory where the hand-made motorcycles are assembled and met with engineers and apprentices working on engine parts.
Norton Motorcycle Chief Executive, Stuart Garner said:
“Norton is an iconic British brand revered around the world. We’ve worked steadfastly in the last six years to bring Norton back with an authentic British built motorcycle. Training and skills are key to our industry. Putting down a dedicated Academy for the British motorcycle industry finally gives us a sustainable future.
“To see solid government support for the manufacturing industry like this is hugely heart-warming and gives us great confidence in bringing the industry back to the UK, creating jobs, learning forgotten skills and enabling exports around the world - all in the full knowledge that we have great support and a solid base back home.”