Full throttle! Brexit Britain motoring as BSA returns amid EU war on petrolheads
Sara Cox compares Brexit to leaving a party early
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The British brand is set to unveil the model next month at the Motorcycle Live show held in the NEC Birmingham. Further details will be released then but there are rumours that the firm – now owned by Mahindra Group – is bringing production to a site in the midlands.
While it remains unconfirmed, the speculation comes as the EU was accused of declaring war on petrolheads.
The EU Commission’s 2019 “European Green Deal” laid out its plans to knock emissions in the transport sector by a whopping 90 percent by 2050.
This could hit road transport, including motorbikes, hard through taxes to encourage people to use greener alternatives.
Michael Lenzen of the German Motorcyclists’ Association said a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles “would be a disaster” and would “lead to the death of motorcycling as a hobby for many”.
Restarting vehicle production would be music to the ears of many Brits – who fondly remember when BSA motorbikes were a common sight.
The firm boomed from its creation in 1861 – when it originally made weapons – until the 1950s when it was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
Bad management and competition from cheaper and more efficient Japanese firms saw it fall from grace in the 1970s before it finally stopped production in 1978.
Last November Indian billionaire Anand Mahindra announced that a new range of petrol and electric machines would be entering production in the Midlands.
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It was claimed that they would cost between £5,000 and £10,000 and be built at a factory in the Small Heath area of Birmingham.
Speaking to the Guardian at the time, he said: “The UK was the leader in bikes right from the start.
“That provenance is something that we really want to retain.”
He added that it is “very important” to have the bikes assembled in the UK “for the authenticity of the brand.”
In the longer-term the firm is looking to branch out into electric power.
Last year it was awarded a £4.6m UK government grant to develop electric machines.
This money will be used to build a research facility near Banbury, Oxfordshire to develop the technology which it hopes will create at least 255 jobs.
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