Is Bajaj ready to revive British motorcycle brand Vincent?
Iconic British motorcycle brand Vincent could be revived with recent reports that the brand and naming rights have been acquired by India’s Bajaj Auto. Bajaj is India’s largest exporter of motorcycles, and leaked documents online seem to suggest that the Indian two-wheeler giant has indeed registered a trademark for the Vincent brand. So, is Bajaj planning to move into the modern classic motorcycle segment, becoming another Indian manufacturer to revive a historic British motorcycle marque?
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A 1955 Vincent Black Shadow. The Vincent Black Shadow was the fastest production motorcycle when introduced in 1949 and could reach a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h).
Did Bajaj acquire Vincent?
carandbike has contacted Bajaj Auto, but company officials have neither confirmed nor denied such a development, leading us to believe that acquiring Vincent might be a possibility after all. An image of a trademark filing shows the registration date as 2017, with the “expiration date” listed as 2027, so there are still a few years left, if at all, Bajaj intends to relaunch and relaunch the brand. The trademark filing says it’s been five years since Bajaj acquired the name, but it’s only now that news has started to get noticed. So, is this Bajaj’s new secret, and what exactly are the plans with the Vincent brand?
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Spy photo of the upcoming Bajaj-Triumph roadster, Bajaj is already manufacturing small-displacement motorcycles for Triumph in India. These Triumph badged bikes will be manufactured in India and exported worldwide.
Given that Bajaj already has a capital-free partnership with Triumph Motorcycles to manufacture small-displacement Triumph motorcycles in India, will the acquisition of Vincent give the two-wheeler giant some extra firepower to compete in the segment? modern classic? A brand that has almost no recall in the Indian market may not make strategic sense for Bajaj Auto. And modern Indian-made small-displacement classic motorcycles branded “Vincent” will not only have the brand appeal and value to take on segment leader Royal Enfield as well as powerful and recently revived brands like Jawa. and Yezdi.
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What does Vincent mean to Bajaj?
At first glance, the news seems like a logical step for Bajaj to take on the likes of Royal Enfield, BSA, Norton, Jawa and Yezdi with its own range, but with the Vincent brand. But building brand equity for the Indian market can be a challenge. After all, Vincent is hardly known, outside of a handful of classic motorcycle enthusiasts in India at least. If Bajaj is indeed looking to acquire Vincent, what could be the possible strategy behind his revival? We are looking at a few possibilities. But first, let’s look at what the Vincent brand is.
A 1939 Vincent Series A Rapide. When launched in 1936, the Vincent Rapide was advertised as “the fastest production motorcycle” with a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h).
The history of Vincent Motorcycles
British motorcycle brand Vincent was in production from 1928 to 1955, created by Philip Vincent who bought an existing motorcycle manufacturer HRD or Howard Raymond Davies, a small manufacturer of performance motorcycles of the time, which operated from 1924 to 1928. From 1934, Vincent developed two new engines, a 500 cc single cylinder, as well as a 1000 cc V-twin. Production increased in the late 1930s, with Vincent producing his most famous post-WWII models in the late 1940s.
The 998 cc 50 degree V-twin in the Vincent Shadow was a long stroke engine and developed 50 hp at 5500 rpm, although it could reach 200 km/h in 1949!
The Vincent Rapide was advertised by the company as its fastest motorcycle, with a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h), but it was quickly eclipsed by the brand’s most famous model, the Vincent Black. 1948 Shadow. The Black Shadow, in stock form, could reach 125 mph (201 km/h), and in its first year of production, a Black Shadow reached 150 mph (241 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In 1956, a Vincent Black Shadow in New Zealand set a new FIM (international motorcycle record) at 186 mph (299 km/h)!
Royal Enfield is the leader in the modern classic segment in India, and in recent years the company has cemented its position as the world leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment with a series of well-designed new models.
The modern classic
In recent years, the modern classic motorcycle has seen a revival with Royal Enfield cementing its position as the world leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment. Mahindra Group subsidiary Classic Legends acquired British motorcycle brand BSA and launched the new BSA Gold Star in the UK in July 2022. The new Gold Star is manufactured in India, but the company has established a technology center where manufacturing for European markets, on a small scale, can be initiated.
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The new BSA Gold Star is built around a 650cc single-cylinder engine sourced from Rotax. With a period look, the new BSA Gold Star will spearhead the brand across the world, even in the United States.
In 2020, TVS Motor Company, India’s second-largest two-wheeler exporter after Bajaj, acquired British motorcycle brand Norton. Since then, TVS has invested heavily in the Norton brand and established a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the UK. The new Norton brand, owned by TVS, has already relaunched the Norton Commando and V4 models, with improved engineering and technology.
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India’s second largest two-wheeler exporter, TVS Motor Company acquired Norton Motorcycles in 2020.
Read also : Launch of the new BSA Gold Star in the UK
For Bajaj, the focus on the modern classic motorcycle segment took a different turn, when it signed a capital-free partnership with Triumph Motorcycles to manufacture small-displacement motorcycles in India. These Triumph branded bikes will be manufactured in India but will be sold both in India and will leverage Bajaj Auto’s huge global network to be pushed across the globe.
Read also : Next Bajaj-Triumph motorcycle spotted in near-production form
Bajaj is looking to expand its presence across Europe, and a brand like Vincent will give it strong brand equity in markets where Bajaj will be looking to establish a strong foothold.
Bajaj eyeing Western markets?
However, this still leaves plenty of room for Bajaj Auto to gain a foothold in the renewed interest in the mid-size modern classic motorcycle segment. While Vincent may not be so well known in India, Bajaj Auto is already working on establishing the brand and network in European markets. Today, Bajaj Auto exports two-wheelers to more than 70 countries around the world, and Bajaj Auto International Holdings BV now owns a 49.9% stake in PTW Holding AG, the parent company of the KTM Group.
Although establishing Bajaj in the West, particularly in Europe, may be the next big thing on the agenda, acquiring a historic brand like Vincent and relaunching it, with new technologies, may well be Bajaj Auto’s magnum opus of modern classic strategy. And that certainly opens up a whole world of possibilities, including a foothold in new segments, new markets and a direct shot at Norton and BSA’s premium customer base. Let the games begin!