Following its October announcement that it had acquired the rights to the historic BSA marque through its subsidiary Classic Legends, Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group has outlined plans to relaunch the brand in developed markets within the next two years, with a range of BSA motorcycles it plans to design and develop in the U.K., as well as possibly manufacture there. A 500cc to 750cc single capitalizing on the classic Gold Star name is envisioned.
Mahindra is a major producer of all types of vehicles in India, and the largest tractor manufacturer in the world. Since 2008 it has attempted to forge a role in India’s intensely competitive two-wheeler market, without notable success. The deal with UK-based Regal Engineering, until now the holder of the BSA trademark, signals Mahindra’s targeting of premium sectors of the motorcycle business — in overseas markets only, as Mahindra can’t use the BSA trademark in India because of ongoing litigation there.
BSA folded in 1972, and what was left was merged with Triumph and Norton-Villiers. The BSA trademark was acquired in 1977 by partners Bertie Goodman and Bill Colquhoun. It was then merged with Andover Norton to become BSA Group Ltd. This was sold to Regal Engineering in 1994. BSA-Regal made hundreds of 400cc and 500cc Yamaha-engined BSA Gold SR motorcycles, primarily for the Japanese market.
Classic Legends has also signed an exclusive brand license agreement for the Czech marque JAWA, to use the name in India, and one year ago Mahindra also acquired 51 percent of Peugeot Motocycles [sic] from the French automotive manufacturer PSA. Until now there have been no obvious signs of its involvement, beyond rebranding its factory Mahindra Moto3 GP racers as Peugeots for the current season.
“We aim to create a lifestyle company, and allow customers to relive the experience of owning a classic motorcycle brand,” says Mahindra executive director Pawan Goenka. The JAWA brand enjoys cult status in India and will be used on products for the domestic market, whereas BSA will be exclusively used for motorcycles sold overseas.
— Alan Cathcart