5 Questions With...Triumph CEO Tue Mantoni

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Tim Keeton

Q: How is Triumph faring in these tough economic times?
A: The global market for 500cc-and-larger motorcycles has lost about 500,000 unit sales since 2007. That's an almost 30 percent decrease. During the same period, Triumph's market share has increased in every market around the world. In the UK our market share has increased to 14 percent. Our market share is 3.2 percent in Japan and 2.1 percent in the U.S., so Triumph is still a relatively small player, but this across-the-board increase makes us cautiously optimistic.

Q: To what do you credit this continued growth in market share?
A: We made a conscious decision to treat this recession as an opportunity. We knew everyone else would cut budgets and new projects would stall. I had a discussion with John Bloor [owner of Triumph], and we decided to push on. Now is a time to bring out new models, which create excitement and attract attention to our brand. We have introduced 10 all-new models since '06, and more are coming soon.

Q: What is Triumph's business strategy for the coming year?
A: New model investment will continue to be our priority. During this recession we've reduced costs everywhere but in new product development, where we've actually increased our investment. We've got 165 design engineers here in Hinckley, and all they're doing is working on new models. It's the biggest motorcycle design department outside of Japan, and we're trying to recruit another 15 design engineers over the next six months.

Q: Where do existing models fit into this development strategy?
A: Another core principle is regular updating of existing models. We want the product line to always remain fresh. We've introduced 10 new bikes over the last five years, but we've made many updates to existing models, too. There's not one single bike in our range that hasn't changed significantly since '06.

Q: What developments can we look forward to in the coming year?
A: More new models, as you see the effects of our stepping up R&D. You've already ridden the 2011 Sprint GT. Four more new models are coming yet this year. We will introduce motorcycles where we don't have any today. We will increase the speed of the development cycles, of replacement and updates to existing models. And hopefully, we will be a bigger, better motorcycle company than before.

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