Indian billionaire to revive iconic BSA motorbike in Banbury - and manufacture electric bikes at a factory in the town
BSA, one of Britain's iconic motorcycle brands, is to bring a manufacturing plant to Banbury - making its first electric bikes in the town.
The revival of the BSA by Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra will start with the traditional internal combustion (IC) version to be followed by an electric BSA. The company has told the Banbury Guardian the IC engine will be revived first during 2021 and the electric variants next year.
The planned factory will create 100 jobs and could start this summer. The 'resurrection of the British motorbike industry' is an ambition of Mr Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group conglomerate, who is said to be worth £1.3bn.
The BSA Company is to build a research facility in Banbury prior to the launch of the IC engine bike which will be followed by the electric bike next year.
Mr Mahindra said he wanted to invest in the UK because of its history of motorcycle production. The electric bike project is expected to cost £9.2m and the company has been given a £4.6m grant by the Government to develop electric bikes. The hope is that eventually, over 250 jobs will be created.
A spokesman for the company said BSA hopes that the battery for the electric version could be manufactured in the UK, with a strong partnership being developed to work on the battery technology as part of the electric BSA project consortium.
The company hopes that forthcoming trade deals, international economics and government support will ensure the realisation of the project.
The Mahindra Group owns the Reva electric car company and is the world's biggest producer of three-wheeled electric rickshaws as part of its giant vehicles production empire.
In 2016 it took a controlling stake in a company that bought the BSA brand as well as a Czech brand, Jawa. The Jawa production was officially relaunched two years later and sold 50,000 bikes in its first year - a success Mahindra Group wants to see repeated with its BSA bikes.
The project is being organised by a former investment banker, Anupam Thareja, who originally bought BSA. His ambition was to continue the 'quirky English charm' of this iconic brand.
Once the world's largest maker of motorcycles, BSA (Birmingham Small Arms), which was based in Small Heath, Birmingham, ceased production in the 1970s after going bankrupt.