Norton CEO confirms it will return to racing and develop electric models

Norton CEO Dr Robert Hentschel confirms the company will return to racing and plans to invest heavily in new electric models

John McGuinness - Norton Isle of Man TT

New Norton CEO Dr Robert Hentschel has given a hint of what the future holds for the invigorated British marque as it looks to move away from the scandals that almost drove it into bankruptcy.

The historic marque has spent the past 18 months re-organising itself with fresh investment from new owners TVS Motors after the Indian firm spared Norton from collapse in March 2020 in the wake of a pensions scandal embroiling ex-CEO Stuart Garner.

Such was the impact of Garner’s corner-cutting and penny pinching - which among the many shocking practices exposed included owners’ bike being stripped of parts for use on new models to cover up financial issues - Norton and TVS have spent months attempting to meet order backlogs and upgrade machines that were found to be unroadworthy.

The BEST Motorcycles You Can Buy in 2021 | Part 2 | Best 1000cc+, Best A2 License, Best Commuter

Nevertheless, the future is looking a lot brighter for Norton under TVS’ and Dr Hentschel’s steer, with the plans being drawn up for fresh models - with one hinted to be revealed in December - and an opportunity to get the jump on some rivals by investing heavily in electric platforms.

“It’s important to consider that the motorcycle industry typically follows the automotive industry by about five years,” Dr Hentschel told Superbike News in a lengthy and wide-ranging interview you can read HERE

“If we look at the four wheeled industry we can see that by 2025 almost half of the vehicles on sale will be electrified in some way. We cannot avoid looking at this kind of technology, especially when legislation dictates that we must look at these requirements. 

“But I also think that motorcycles are an emotional product and the noise and feel of a petrol driven combustion engine is something special, so we have to look at both parts and find the right mixture within our legislation.

“I think I would like to achieve a sustainable future for Norton. If you look at the past there have been moments of success and then obviously moments of failure. It has been quite a rollercoaster  over the last 120 years. 

“I would like the management team to provide sustainability, which will come from having quality product and happy customers. In 2030 Norton is a technology driven and relevant player in the market.”

Norton will definitely return to racing

With a long history of motorsport activity in Norton’s history, Dr Hentschel says the plan definitely to return to the racing arena, though he doesn’t confirm whether the Isle of Man TT - where the firm races with its most recent V4 - or maybe even a foray into the British Superbike Championship is on the cards.

“For me it’s very clear that racing is part of the story of Norton. I can confirm today that I intend for Norton to go racing again. I echo John Russell’s thoughts here and we are completely aligned with regards which steps to take next.”