A New Chapter for Norton
In a recent interview with Superbike, interim CEO of Norton Motorcycles, John Russell, talked about the future of Norton. While the conversation ranges across many things, there’s one thing that’s certain, Russell wants to make customers happy with Norton again.
One of the first topics that caught my eye is that previously Norton only made about one motorcycle a week. Russell said that number would go up considerably. He also said that while the company would like to make bikes for all deposits that are out, the agreement TVS signed said there is no legal obligation for them to do so.
“Under the terms that the company was sold, there’s no legal obligation on any of these deposits. [Venu] has said he wants to get to a point where all of the customers who had placed a deposit are satisfied with the outcome. Our hope is that we get to build the bikes,” said Russell.
In relation to the numerous reports of bikes that were sold under the Norton brand in recent years being poor quality, Russell had this to say:
“We want to be fair and consistent, the last thing we want is for people to go away with a negative view of Norton. We want to make sure there isn’t a feeling that there are second class Norton owners who feel they missed the boat because they didn’t get the treatment that future customers will get. We’ll go through a technical review to discover what the challenges might be. Future bikes will go through the best quality assurance processes on the planet. If there are historic issues, we’ll seek to do the best we can.”
If you’re unfamiliar with John Russell, that’s probably because you either haven’t been paying attention or are outside of Europe. Either way, he is a man who has the experience to make what needs to happen at Norton Motorcycles actually happen. He was the vice president and managing director or Harley-Davidson Europe from 1998 through 2007. Before that role, he worked as a key executive with Land Rover. During his time at both companies, there was growth.
His role with Norton might be the most challenging yet, but I think his previous work experience has prepared him well, and I hope he with the help of the rest of the Norton team and TVS can turn things around.