Update: More details on the new Triumph importer and their plans
As we reported last week, Triumph has a new South African importer and distributor with motoring veteran Bruce Allen, in partnership with The Fury Group, taking the reins after the Triumph factory and long time Triumph importer KMSA ended their agreement last year. Obviously they were inundated with questions about their plans and the future of the brand, and so they hosted a meet and greet with the media at the illustrious motorcycle bar and restaurant Rim & Rubber.
The entire new Triumph SA crew was there, plus some of the bigwigs of the Fury Group, many of whom, despite their automobile industry history, are motorcycle enthusiasts. In fact, Fury’s founder, Ken Cosgrove, currently has 13 classic motorcycle projects in his personal garage.
Bruce Allen, the new CEO of Triumph, took centre stage at the meet and greet and began detailing his plans for the new Triumph South Africa. His history in motorcycling is not a long, illustrious one as he bought his first motorcycle – a Triumph Explorer 1200 – in December last year and has fallen off of it three times already, he announced to the crowd with a humble chuckle.
His history in motorcycle riding might be short, but his experience in the motoring industry is not, as soon became apparent when he began explaining details of his ideas and plans. Clearly he has done his homework as he was eloquent, educated and forthcoming, laying down a cogent, detailed analysis of the industry and explaining his plans to move Triumph’s market share from its current 6% holding up to 10%.
Planning is already a year old, when they first spoke to the Triumph factory. Allen and his team flew over to the factory in December last year to begin discussions in ernest, with them signing a letter of intent on the 23rd of the same month. Since then, details of their import contract have been sent back and forth, and it was finally signed on 27 February, essentially sealing the deal.
Obviously, they plan to be at the reins for many decades, and so all planning hence forth is long term, with the hope that it will sustain them for the next 30-odd years and beyond, and so things need to be done properly, thus setting up this new importer and dealership network is a five year project, maybe more.
For now, they need to ensure that all current Triumph owners are looked after ensuring all current warranties are maintained, and before any new dealerships are opened, people need places to service their current bikes. And so Allen visited the previous dealers, spoke to them about the future and kept them on board as official service centres.
Looking after all of this is Riaan Fourie (no relation) who ran Honda Motorcycles in South Africa for many years and so knows the ins and outs of motorcycle importing, plus spent the last five years running Fourways Motorcycles, so knows his Triumphs. Fourie will be the aftersales manager, looking after all warranties, spares and service centres.
On the new dealership front, or now, Triumph is setting up a temporary dealership in South Road, Sandton, with the idea of beginning sales of new bikes once all SA regulations are sorted which they are hoping will be in May. They currently have new spares and accessories on the water to keep current bikes going in the mean time.
Obviously this is temporary – the long term plan is to open their first permanent dealership in December – a massive flagship store next to the freeway in Woodmead. It’s a former Fury GM car dealership that is being completely remodelled to meet Triumph’s stringent new corporate identity. From there, Triumph will be both importing and retailing motorcycles, accessories, spares and have a specialised Triumph workshop.
In the beginning, this will be the sole Triumph dealership in SA, but once this dealership is up and running, they will begin work on a Cape Town dealership that they plan to open in 2019, and then a Pretoria dealership in 2020. From there, the obvious next location is Durban and probably then Bloemfontein, but they will start looking at details of that closer to the time. People have lamented the idea that there will be just one dealership in the beginning, but this is a long term plan, and three years from now we will see three premier dealerships servicing the three major centres in South Africa, with a fourth and maybe more in the pipeline.
This does seem to be the new global business trend in motorcycling, where a more consolidated dealer network takes preference over the previous model of many smaller dealerships. The downside is obviously further for customers to travel, but this is a where the problems end. A larger dealership, with more stock on the floor, more demos to test ride, more spares in stock and more accessories on the shelves, plus a large workshop that does nothing but service one brand all day, looks promising.
Behind the scenes, it has other benefits also. This model of importing and retailing with less dealers means that the price of bikes requires less room for profit margins, with less stake holders having to take their piece of the pie. Also, this means less warehousing, and less transportation. All of this should mean better control of product pricing by the seller, which should translate to cheaper Triumphs.
Prices of new models have not yet been confirmed, but they are hoping to have more details next week. They are planning on importing around two sub-models of every model line, which is similar to what we are used to in South Africa.
With everything else seemingly in order, there is the small matter of non-biking people taking over a biking business, something that has been looked at with a suspicious eye by motorcyclists in the past. There is the old expression that states “only a motorcyclist understands the motorcycle industry” and there is some truth in this, however there is also much to be gained from new blood in the industry. Examples of this include Johnny Araujo, who was previously in the automobile industry and the restaurant industry before that, who is making a success of Ducati South Africa, and Craig Langton from Fire It Up who started his motorcycling career sitting in the corner of a 4×4 shop with a few quads and now runs the largest motorcycle dealership in South Africa.
There will be some learning from Bruce Allen and the Fury Group with a few hiccups, no doubt, but then they have made a success of various other dealers of various sorts, and maybe we in the motorcycle industry can learn new things from them.
As part of the meet and greet, they had compiled a FAQ sheet to hand out to everyone. Read their FAQ sheet below:
Triumph South Africa Frequently asked questions
Since the media announcement by Triumph Motorcycles South Africa on 1 March 2018, there have been questions from customers and the general public regarding Triumph’s way forward in South Africa.
Hopefully the following questions and answers will assist with creating more certainty.
The single point Triumph Flagship facility does not provide a sufficient footprint for representing the Triumph Brand in Gauteng, how does this help me as a Triumph owner?
Globally Triumph is going through a process whereby the brand is being positioned in the premium manner it deserves.
In assessing the requirements for reestablishing the Triumph business in South Africa, while at the same time following the global direction of premium representation, we had to balance the investment required against the ability to still have multi point representation in a city.
For this reason, we have positioned the site for the new facility in Woodmead as geographically central as possible in order for current customers to be able to access us from the various freeways.
Current Triumph volumes unfortunately do not allow for the multiple dealers to invest at the required level, so there is a compromise between an ongoing presence for Triumph in SA and a single point facility.
I live in Gauteng, but Triumph SA does not yet have the service capacity to look after my needs, what do I do?
The transition time between the previous distributor in SA and Triumph SA being appointed, has been extremely brief and has not allowed for adequate capacity to be established to take care of customers’ needs.
Triumph SA has entered into an agreement with previous Triumph dealers in Centurion, Edenvale and Boksburg to service and maintain Triumph motorcycles until December 2018.
Triumph Johannesburg’s service facility will be ready to take care of customers’ needs from April 2018 at its (temporary) South Road Sandton facility. The service capacity of this facility will be gradually increased over the next 9 months to ensure that we are in a position to fully accommodate our customers by the end of the year.
What do I do if I live in Cape Town and own a Triumph, who will look after my motorcycle?
As is the case in Port Elizabeth and Durban, Cape Town customers will continue to be supported by the same agents who currently look after their motorcycles in these cities.
When will Triumph open other dealerships in other cities in South Africa?
We have made an initial commitment to have a retail presence in Cape Town next year (2019) and Pretoria the following year (2020). Durban will be considered over the next couple of years, but we are unable to make a commitment at this stage.
When will I be able to buy a new Triumph motorcycle again?
We are planning to commence retailing motorcycles in May 2018. This will depend on time required for homologations and any potential cooperation from the previous distributor.
I am interested in the new Speed Triple, will you be bringing it to SA?
Yes, the New Speed Triple is most definitely amongst the models on offer in SA. The full model lineup will include the following:
Adventure & Touring
-Bonneville Bobber (+Black) Bonneville Speedmaster Bonneville –T100 Bonneville T120 Thruxton
-Street Scrambler Street Twin
When will you be announcing retail pricing for the range of motorcycles that you plan to import?
We are still busy finalizing our pricing strategy on a couple of the new models and will be in a position to announce our pricing in mid-March 2018.
I live in Durban and would like to buy a Bonneville Speedmaster, how do I go about this?
In line with our strategy of only retailing from a facility that is in line with Triumph’s global standards, motorcycles will only be available for sale from our Johannesburg store initially. However, should there be a requirement from an out of Gauteng customer, we would be happy to facilitate the sale and arrange delivery and handover where you live.
Your service support is in place in Durban (Cape Town & PE).
I am the owner of a 2016 Triumph Explorer XCa, and am concerned about the effect of the September 2017 “fire sale” on the resale value of by bike. I am led to believe that the used values have dropped badly.
We believe that whatever has happened is very short term, and only has an impact on someone who wishes to sell their recent model triumph between the “sale” and when we commence retail of our new bikes.
A used motorcycle price is a function of a willing seller and willing buyer, if the used bike hasn’t been sold at a reduced value, the value has not dropped.
When we come back into the market with the same bike that was discounted last year at the relevant retail price, the used values will be pegged off relative value to the new bike. i.e. how much less than a new bike should a one-year old bike be?
The market will correct itself in the short to medium term.
Our take on the entire effect of the “sale” is that those that bought the cheap bikes really benefited, but not at the expense of current Triumph owners.
Are Triumph parts readily available in South Africa?
Our first parts orders were placed on 1 March 2018 on commencement date as the new distributor for Triumph Motorcycles.
Prior to this we requested the dealers that would continue as Authorised Triumph Service Centres stock up with fast moving parts in order to minimize the effect of a gap between distributors.
We have ordered sufficient stock of the most frequently needed parts to ensure our customers are well supported.
What effect does the change in distributor have on my warranty on my 2017 Daytona?
Your Daytona is still well covered in terms of the original warranty conditions set out by Triumph, and can be taken to any one of the Triumph service centres convenient to you.
I am looking for a new Rocket III, but I don’t see it as an available model on your media release?
Globally Triumph has ceased production of the Cruiser models, being the Thunderbird and Rocket, in order to focus on the segments where the opportunity lies for Triumph to be economically competitive.
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