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17/11/2020

Indian automotive giant Mahindra Group has unveiled plans to revive the BSA motorcycle brand in 2021, from a British base in the Midlands.

In a press briefing reported by the Financial Times and Guardian newspapers among others, Mahindra’s eponymous chairman Anand Mahindra said the revived BSA company would shortly open a £9.5m technical and design centre in Banbury, in part funded by a £4.6m UK government grant. 

This will be followed by an assembly plant near Coventry, due to be in production by the middle of next year, with a capacity of more than 10,000 bikes annually. About 80% of output will be scheduled for export.  

The first new BSA model is to be a conventional petrol-engined machine with retro styling, joined by an electric motorcycle at the end of 2021. Components for these will initially be sourced from India. But Anand Mahindra told FT motor industry correspondent Peter Campbell that some core parts may subsequently be produced in the UK, if trading conditions are stable after Britain has finally severed its ties with the EU. 

The ownership structure behind BSA’s revival is Classic Legends, a joint venture in which Mahindra Group has a 60% stake. It will be run by minority partner Phi Capital, a private equity firm headed up by former investment banker and motorcycle enthusiast Anupam Thareja. On Indian home turf, Classic Legends has successfully relaunched the formerly Czech Jawa brand, selling more than 50,000 retro-styled bikes in its first year.

Although Mahindra Group’s Mahindra 2 Wheelers motorcycle subsidiary is a relatively small player in India’s vast motorcycle market, its parent is the world’s biggest agricultural tractor manufacturer and is rated 20th among global automotive producers, dominating domestic Indian SUV sales. Anand Mahindra’s personal wealth allegedly amounts to £1.3bn.