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Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA)


BSA Company Limited is the motorcycle manufacturer which purchased the rights to its BSA name from Birmingham Small Arms Company's successor, Dennis Poore's Manganese Bronze on the liquidation of Norton Villiers Triumph. When NVT Motorcycles Limited was liquidated in 1978, its management, then under William Colquhoun, formed a new company - BSA Company and bought from NVT the rights to the BSA Motorcycle brand.

Norton Villiers Triumph was a British motorcycle manufacturer, formed by the British Government to continue the UK motorcycling industry, but the company eventually failed.

Triumph had been owned by the BSA Group since 1951, but by 1972 the merged BSA-Triumph group was in serious financial trouble. British Government policy at the time was to save strategic industries with taxpayers' money, and as BSA-Triumph had won the Queen's Awards for Exports a few years earlier, the industry was deemed eligible for financial support. The Conservative Government under Ted Heath decided to bail out the company, provided that to compete with the japanese it merged with financially troubled Norton Villiers (the remains of Associated Motor Cycles, which had gone bust in 1966), a subsidiary of British engineering conglomerate Manganese Bronze. The merged company was created in 1973, with Manganese Bronze exchanging the motorcycle parts of Norton Villiers in exchange for the non-motorcycling bits of the BSA Group—mainly Carbodies, the builder of the Austin FX4 London taxi: the classic "black cab". As BSA was both a failed company and a solely British-known brand (the company's products had always been most successfully marketed in North America under the Triumph brand), the new conglomerate was called Norton Villiers Triumph—being effectively the consolidation of the entire once-dominant British motorcycle industry, thanks to the rise of the car and the japanese manufacturers. NVT inherited four motorcycle factories—Small Heath (ex-BSA); Andover and Wolverhampton (Norton); and Meriden (Triumph). Although Meriden was the most modern, its workers were the most militant and had the worst productivity of the four. Dennis Poore, the BSA CEO of Norton-Villiers was made Managing Director of NVT, while through his holdings of Norton Villiers shares and the need for reliance on their engineering expertise, a shareholder and director of Manganese Bronze.

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