The saga of Norton Motorcycles continues. The demise of Stuart Garner’s Norton is a long and convoluted story. A story ending with the company entering administration (bankruptcy). Ultimately, Indian manufacturer TVS purchased the company’s remaining assets in an attempt to resurrect the brand.
And it is making headway. A new factory and rehired employees mark TVS’s intent to bring Norton back to its former glory. TVS even said it would look at ways to assist those affected by Norton entering administration.
More V4 SS problems
But since that time, several issues have arisen. Unfortunately, these issues are making it more difficult for the new Norton to assist purchasers of V4 SS bikes.
In May 2021, Norton sent a letter to V4 SS owners/depositors. The letter said that it had discovered many defects in the V4 SS. Unfortunately for owners, many of the defects are serious safety issues. In total, Norton’s letter identified a list of 35 defects. Twenty of those defects are safety-critical. With that information, Norton urged V4 SS owners not to ride their motorcycles.
Letter to V4 SS owners/depositors
In part, the letter said:
“…the Liquidators have notified you that in addition to the Oil Line recall and the Battery concern, we have found further defects in the V4-SS. The current list of 35 defects, including these two, is attached. As you can see, there are 20 items that we consider to be safety critical and are likely to be referred to the [U.K. Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency], a further 10 that require a check which could reveal further problems, and the last 5 that are Service Items that should be completed when your bike is being repaired.”
“These issues have been identified during our V4-SS test and evaluation programme, which is now nearing completion; however, there is a possibility that we will find more problems before it is complete. As you know and as confirmed in BDO’s letter, we did not take on the liability for any bikes made by NMUL [the legal name under which the previous Norton iteration went into administration] and that responsibility may remain with NMUL in liquidation, hence the invitation to you from BDO to make a claim in the liquidation,” the letter continued.“However, because of our commitment to the brand and our desire to assist Norton bike owners we will continue to support you and the Liquidators in the process of both identifying concerns and seeking to find technical solutions but will not take on responsibility by doing so. We appreciate that in circumstances such as this a lack of information is very frustrating. As part of our support both to the Liquidator and affected owners we will send out an update
As promised, Norton sent a follow-up letter in June 2021. And that letter may not contain good news in the eyes of V4 SS owners. According to RideApart, the new letter says that Norton is unable to reliably source all the parts needed from NMUL suppliers (NMUL is the previous Norton administration’s present legal name) .” And so it seems that owners of the Garner era V4 SS motorcycles will not get their V4 SS motorcycles repaired or replaced.
“As we have mentioned in our previous letters, from the moment we found evidence of the problems with the NMUL V4-SS, we have been searching for the best way to support you with a solution that is practical and safe. I hope you will understand that our view of the likely best solution has changed over time as more material defects were identified. The legal responsibility for the defects remains with NMUL which is now in liquidation. You should have received a claim form from the liquidators of NMUL regarding this matter. Therefore, you may please be in touch with the liquidators of NMUL for settlement of your claims.”
Plan to support V4 SS owners
But the TVS Norton does go on to say that it wants to support current V4 SS owners. And they have a plan to do so.
“Following the completion of the liquidation, we will offer you a new Norton V4 motorcycle as a gesture of goodwill, at a special price and it will come with a 2-year warranty that starts from the date of handover. With regard to your NMUL V4-SS, as explained in previous letters, it should not be used or ridden on the road due to the number and severity of the defects. We have thought long and hard about the feasibility and safety of repairing the existing motorcycles.”
So TVS Norton will not repair/replace Garner V4 SS motorcycles. Instead, it will offer current V4 SS owners/depositors the newly re-engineered V4 SS “at a special price.” The new machine’s price is TBA.
When does production start?
As to when the new V4 SS will enter production, the letter says:
“I would also like to inform you about the current situation regarding our new V4 motorcycle. We are still working through what must be done to bring the new motorcycle up to the standard of safety and reliability we all expect from Norton. I should stress that the new V4 will be a re-engineered motorcycle and not a continuation of the NMUL V4-SS. We are committed to taking the time that is needed to validate the motorcycle’s safety and reliability which means that we cannot yet confirm a Start of Production date. Our current estimate is that we may be able to start production in Q4 2021, but you will appreciate that it will be very difficult for us to commit a very specific date at this point of time.”
It’s clear that TVS has taken on a large task. It will be a shame if The V4 SS debacle tarnishes Norton’s name. Let’s hope that they can overcome the latest obstacles. We’ll watch for more Norton communications in the future.
Photo credit: Norton Motorcycles