The ongoing revival of Britain’s historic brands continues, with the biggest and maybe the best saved until last. The rights to the dormant BSA brand have been purchased by the Mahindra Group, one of the top 20 companies in India’s Fortune 500 index.
In a deal signed on 20 October with CEO of UK-based Regal Engineering and holder of the BSA trademark David Bennett, Mahindra Group subsidiary Classic Legends Pvt. Ltd has aquired all 120,000 shares of BSA in a transaction totaling £3.4 million (145.5 million THB).
Classic Legends has also signed an exclusive brand license agreement for the Czech marque Jawa, but this is not acquisition, merely the license to use the name exclusively in India. Because of ongoing litigation between Regal Legends and another Indian company over the use of the name, Mahindra cannot use the BSA trademark in India, so the acquisition clearly signals Mahindra’s intent to target export markets.
The Indian firm has not yet declared how or where it plans to develop a new range of BSA models, but it’s understood it aims to establish its own BSA Research & Development center in the UK, just as its Royal Enfield rival has recently done, and to manufacture BSA motorcycles in the marque’s country of origin.
Mahindra is in a bit of strife and it’s high time for a radical rethink. The BSA acquisition and Jawa licensing deal are just that.
Mahindra is India’s largest SUV and utility vehicle manufacturer, with a global workforce of 200,000 staff.
In 2008 it expanded into the two-wheeled sector and has since invested upwards of US$ 200 million in two-wheelers. It also competes as a manufacturer in Moto3 racing, scoring its maiden victory at Assen this year in the hands of Francesco Bagnaia. Yet seven years on it is still the smallest of India’s five local manufacturers behind Hero MotoCorp, TBS, Bajaj and Royal Enfield. It has recorded a massive year-on-year fall in sales, and by April this year accumulated losses of US$148 million in gaining just one per cent of the overall Indian market.