Triumph Motorcycles has announced that all their volume production models will be built outside of the UK. The move will see the last remaining UK produced models, the Speed Triple and the Tiger 1200, join the rest of the range at the Chonburi, Thailand production facilities.

While this is happening for the first time in the history of the iconic marquee, Triumph states that they will continue to build around 4,500 motorcycles a year at their Hinckley factory even after all volume production has moved abroad.

While the news may state a major reduction, the result for the Hinckley factory would only amount to a reduction of 2,000 units per year. The reason for that is that around 90% of all Triumphs are already manufactured in their Thai factories. Despite this, the production of the high-end Triumph Factory Custom models and selected other special builds will still take place at the Hinckley factory. In addition to the R&D that is.

Talking about R&D, the firm has also committed to investing further in the Hinckley plant. They will significantly grow the scale and remit of their research and development department, committing to employing 20 more staff as they develop a 16,000-sqft dedicated R&D centre that will continue to design and develop all Triumph motorcycles.

The Hinckley factory will also see the installation of a new bespoke assembly line "to facilitate the more efficient production of specialist prototype bikes and the continued manufacturing of high-end bespoke motorcycles such as the Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) bikes.

Triumph’s Chief Executive Officer, Nick Bloor, said, "We are now preparing for Triumph’s next wave of strategic growth. We want to maximise the growth opportunity for the brand globally, particularly in the Asian markets. This is why we are increasing our design resources here in the UK and focusing our mass production capabilities in Thailand."

Triumph’s Thailand production facilities currently operate on a two-shift system (out of a potential three), meaning they could increase production significantly. In reality, with only around 2000 extra models to build in the short term, there will be very little investment needed to meet the full current build requirement.

Paul Stroud, CCO, Triumph Motorcycles, said, "We are facing increased competition and some of our mainstream competitors are developing models to directly compete with us. There are also new entrants coming into the market with much lower price points. New model development timelines are accelerating with more manufacturers bringing out new models more quickly, while consumers are looking for more technology and you’ve also got the dynamic of the electric motorcycle opportunity as well. So, there’s an increasing burden on the cost and development of designing new motorcycles. Triumph is looking to grow in its existing markets, but also to grow internationally, especially in the Asian free-trade markets."

The full switch-over is expected to be operational from mid-2020 onwards, according to Stroud. He also stated that if demand grows for more high-end specialist build Triumph models, that could – and would – be accommodated at Hinckley, but "the Centre of Excellence for mass manufacturing will remain in Thailand to help us to grow internationally.

The news comes on top of the recent announcement from Triumph that pertained to a deepening of their commercial partnership with Bajaj Auto India. The deal focusses on the creation of a new range of sub 500cc Triumph motorcycles, which will be designed in the UK but developed and built in India under the partnership. These bikes, while targeted firmly at the huge emerging market opportunities, will also go on sale in the UK.