Norton Motorcycles: What Happened to All Their Money?


Norton Dominator Street

Norton Made £6.7 Million, So What Happened?

I’m not one with inside knowledge of Norton Motorcycles, but I will say that it seems like things should have worked, at least from what was out there in the news. But the company entered administration. According to MoreBikes, the company’s sales resulted in £6.7 million last year. The company also had dealings with the Chinese company Zhongshen, Japan (an export deal), a British government grant, and money from Santander. All of this stuff happened over the last few years.

Additionally, they started a crowd-funding campaign and then received £1 million from an anonymous investor. I’m sure there were other things that I don’t know about, too. So how does a company miss a payment of £300,000? Well, according to MoreBikes, despite sales accounting for £6.7 million, the company only had £33,701 pre-tax profit. 

That’s not a lot of breathing room. The company was investing heavily in future products and developing the future of Norton Motorcycles. All of that contributed to poor profits. Despite this, it still seems there should have been plenty to go around. The company had deposits on bikes and was failing to make those bikes, essentially not delivering on a product that customers wanted to pay money for.

As I said above, I don’t have an inside line on what was going on at Norton, but just from the little information I’ve outlined above, it looks to me like the company had good products priced right for their customer base, but was mismanaged and struggling to deliver. It sounds like it made too many investments and was focused on the future when it should have been worried about delivering the bikes it already had deposits for.

Let’s hope someone out there can take the Norton name and bikes and turn things around. A properly managed Norton seems to me to be a profitable a thriving one. I welcome anyone who has more information to share it. I want to hear where you think Norton Motorcycles went wrong. Tell me I’m right. Tell me I’m an idiot. Leave me a comment below. 

20 Comments

  1. Avatar
    darren-p
    January 31, 2020
    Reply

    I’m gobsmacked they lasted this long

    obviously garner and his pension stealing cronies need to go to prison.
    bet they get off with a puny slap on the wrist , even though a few of them have done this before and should be prohibited from access to other people’s money.

    • Wade Thiel
      January 31, 2020
      Reply

      Yeah, it sounds like some seriously shady stuff was going on. I’d love to see the Norton company taken over by the right folks and run the way it should be run.

      • Avatar
        Jay
        January 31, 2020
        Reply

        So that answers my question as to why McGinnis signed with Kawasaki for the TT. I have no doubt they would be successful again in the right hands at the right prices worldwide. Sounds like a bigger more established manufacturer needs to scoop them up, but keep it British built.

        • Wade Thiel
          January 31, 2020
          Reply

          Yeah, I could see them doing well again at some point down the road. It would be cool to see it stay British and British-built but you neven know what will happen now.

        • Avatar
          David W
          February 2, 2020
          Reply

          Great designs. I’ve had a two, a few races then a Domiracer. Compete mismanagement for years. No communication, very poor financial controls.
          Only assets are the brand and Simon Skinner the designer. Let’s hope Mr Bloor buys the name.

      • Avatar
        James
        February 2, 2020
        Reply

        End of Norton RIP

        • Wade Thiel
          February 3, 2020
          Reply

          I think once the dust settles, someone with some money and something to prove will pick up the brand. It will be interesting to see.

  2. Avatar
    Don
    January 31, 2020
    Reply

    I own a 2015 Norton Commando 961SE. I love the bike. But it’s not a long distance runner but it’s a modern classic. Being in the USA there isn’t really any support. One dealer, in Texas, does it’s best to supply parts. We haven’t had any bikes delivered to the USA since 2017.
    I wish I knew what Garner was thinking or was he just a crook?!
    It’s really sad.

    • Avatar
      Chris
      February 1, 2020
      Reply

      Keanu Reeves is a big Norton fan.. someone should give him a chance to buy it out.. the £1 million anonymous donation was probably given by him anyway.. they’d be perfect with his Arch motorcycle company.

      • Wade Thiel
        February 3, 2020
        Reply

        I’d really like to see Keanu Reeves pick it up, but I’d also be very surprised by it. Still, stranger things have happened.

  3. Avatar
    February 1, 2020
    Reply

    Yes afraied I had second thoughts about investing in the pension fund thou I am Norton believer I could make out
    why they could not get a bike good enough for the Senior TT being the flagship of which you could market the Norton brand I did email Norton on severely occasions but never did receive a reply there down fall is down to bad management and crooks with know history they need stripping of all there assets and there relation to make em all pay back the money that was stolen .

  4. Avatar
    Robin Brown
    February 1, 2020
    Reply

    A terrible situation and certainly the management (it has to be managements fault) should be held to account and treated accordingly.
    Meanwhile something has to be done.
    Come on Triumph post Brexit the world needs to be shown again how good we once were. There couldnt be a better name to help stop Norton finally disappearing.

    • Wade Thiel
      February 3, 2020
      Reply

      Triumph would be a cool company to see pick up the Norton name, but I doubt that will happen. I think it’ll be something else. I’d be surprised if Norton didn’t come back in some capacity, though.

  5. Avatar
    February 2, 2020
    Reply

    I suggest giving John Bloom a call he worked the magic for 😤 he would have no problem with sorting this out with his business acumen,

  6. Avatar
    February 2, 2020
    Reply

    The problem was Mr Garner spent to much time pushing the racing side of things instead of concentrating on the day to day running of the company, as we all know racing costs a lot and you need to be running your company well before you start a high profile race team, if you can’t get day to day sales going and spend it all on the racing you are soon going to go bust, yes racing does bring the sales side up but the bikes have to be reliable and finish a tt, but they just couldn’t they look a plush bike but they just couldn’t cut the muster, I feel sorry for the 100 and odd staff that won’t have a job now due to a over eager boss (race wise) and very poor management,let’s hope someone can bale them out, and get on with the day to day running of a well known mark of British make, and start selling some bikes, the hard works been done setting up and the custermers are there, on another note there should be a more affordable range within the budget of most normal people not just a top range of very expensive bikes which straight away limits your custermers base, not good economics for a successful business,,

    • Wade Thiel
      February 3, 2020
      Reply

      There were definitely mistakes made. However, even with the high-priced motorcycles the company had, it seems like they should have been able to make it work. The bikes were selling, the company didn’t deliver them and it spent too much time on racing and other things as you’ve pointed out. I’d have loved to see more affordable Nortons, but I don’t think they had to offer that to survive. Just totally mismanaged.

  7. Avatar
    Kenny robey
    February 2, 2020
    Reply

    Stuart Garner and some of his close associates are thieves and fraudsters, plain and simple !!! I’ve heard so many stories from customers and suppliers it’s hard to ignore what was blatantly under everyone’s noses for so long…… The stories of how customers bikes in for a service were kept for so long and parts off new customers bikes being built at the factory were stolen off them to put onto the bikes in for a service. Or the fact that Stuart Garner failed to pay many suppliers for his account at each of them then Mr Garner having to go to private second parties to get them to acquire parts off the suppliers he had already alienated and failed to pay his tab for, resulting in bikes waiting around to be built for customers who had already payed the majority for the said bikes. Consequently, no one Norton is the same…….for rather dubious reasons !!! This is no way to run a business and should have rang alarm bells to the rather salubrious manor with which Mr Stuart Garner and his associates were conducting and running their business affairs. Indeed, the suppliers and customers should’ve blew the whistle long ago in my opinion…… The real tragedy is of course for the customers, pension holders and parts suppliers who will probably never recoup their respective losses back…. And of course the death of one of the most famous revered names in motorcycling….. NORTON. Sad times….

  8. Avatar
    Roger Raymond (UK)
    February 3, 2020
    Reply

    Running a manufacturing business is not easy. Unless those critics have ever been in business they should shut the hell up. Neither do they know Stuart Garner. Stop blaming it all on him. It will all come out in the was but until we know the facts we should refrain from pointing accusing fingers at Mr Garner and speculate.
    One thing for sure, orders should have been given priority above all else. Hopefully Norton will survive this enormous glitch and carry on flying the British flag.

    • Avatar
      Keith Terry
      February 13, 2020
      Reply

      Roger Raymond, do some internet searching and look what is out there, Stuart Garner or somebody at the top level of Norton has given the OK and stripped customers bikes while they in for a service for warrenty work in order
      to build other new ones , that is theft pure and simple and hopefully soon they will be prosecuted.

  9. Avatar
    Emerson Raymundo
    February 18, 2020
    Reply

    Another meal for a billionaire from the east sees this….

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