Author Topic: What happened to BSA?  (Read 672 times)

Offline BSA_54A10

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What happened to BSA?
« on: 25.12. 2015 01:01 »
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Sadly all dismantled to assuage the wrath of the bean counters in the 1970/80s (at about that time the apprentice school was closed too).
Yes, I too saw all this happen when I worked at Thorn EMI. Sir Jules Thorn built the company up from nothing, and while he was alive he had a policy of expansion and aquisition. Now there is nothing left of this once great company. In quick succsession the apprentice school, and the research and development department was closed, followed by the sell off of all the assets. That is the British business model unforunately. Now the only thing that we make in the UK is redundancies. If you wanted to bring Honda for example to is knees, then all you have to do is hand over the management of the company to to British managers and accountants. Job done!

yes it goes like this.
The founders had a clear idea where the company was heading and the drive to get it there.
Once gone the new directors have only one objective which they are legally obliged to do.
maximise the investor returns for the current period
So doing something like withholding dividends to reinvest in the company is a no no and in fact can leave the directors open to a law suit should the share price drop.
OTOH, dumping every part of the company that is not returning a profit is almost mandatory and the easiest way to bump up the profit to equity ratio, one of the bench marks driectors renumeration is calculated against.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

Offline BSA_54A10

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #1 on: 25.12. 2015 03:29 »
can't recall at the mo just what did come out of the ashes of BSA. BSA Regal still do stuff (other than the attempt to get back into bikes)
http://www.bsa-regal.co.uk/?category=none&page=aboutus
and I had an idea alloy wheels came about from BSA-  could be way off tho
I've read somewhere that Dennis Poore hived of the metal expertise the BSA were known for although I think he himself knew a bit about that side of things - dunno.
Yes management went from brilliant from   WW1 and WW11 to allowing the follies of the Dockers.
BSA were way ahead of government in both wars, having  foreseen hostilities and pre ordered vast amounts of stock.

Full alloy wheels had been around for a while, but it was Yamaha who brought about the mass use of cast alloy wheels on bikes.
When the RD series came out one of the slogans was "Too Powerful for Wire Wheels ".
The BSA car wheel company has no connection to The BSA other than the letters of their name.

Dennis Poore was and always was nothing more than a corperate raider who bought up companies where the share value was less than the liquidated assets value.
The fact that he had bought and destroyed AJS and Matchless ( rolled them into AMC ) Villiers ( sold off manufacturing rights to any one who would buy them ) and eventally Norton was just a part of the long list of undervalued companies he bought up & liquidated.
The fact that he kept Norton was just because he liked owning Norton, he still stole millions from the business and stole millions from the UK government, manipulated the Triumph Co-operative , again pocketing millions in the process got lost in his own pr machine image of being the "saviour " of the UK motorcycle industry.
Manganeese Bronze was also an amalgamated group of assets picked up dirt cheap prior.
And yes he conviently transferred all of the non motorcyclig assets of BSA, the ones that had been running at a very healthy profit and were subsidising the loss making motorcycle division, into his own private company for a small fraction of their actual worth seems to have been overlooked also.
In time , when all the profiteers have died I would not be suprised if he was found to be behind the short sell of BSA which resulted in the 1 UK motorcycle company plan being reversed in favour of Norton. This is one of the smelliest government backed deals ever done, but hardly likely to get undone now. BSA had 100 time the asset base of NVT , even if you include the share vale of each company.

The downfall of BSA started way way back.
BSa never saw themselves as a motorcycle manufacturer.
They were a gun maker and all the other stuff was just a way to pay the bills when no one wanted large amounts of weapons.
Thus they diverted profits into whatever was fashionable and profitable at the time, pushbikes , motorcycles , trucks , radios, fridges, airconditioners .
In order to conserve capital they also practiced vertical intergration owning the entire supply chain from mining the coal to distributing the motorcycles.
Under an investment regime like this acquisitions were oft made to the direct financial benefit of individual members of the board thus BSA paid a lot more for Ariel , Sunbeam, Triumph, Daimler, Carbodies & Jessops than they should have.
The M series was obsolete before the war and both the B series and C series were obsolete by the end of WWII. The technical department of BSA knew this but the board would not OK the tooling up for brand new models so the labour intensive, under powered, over complicated, unprofitable B , C & M series went back into production basically the same as they were prior to WWII ignoring all of the materials & manufacturing advances made during the war. For two stupid & ultimately fatal reasons.
Firstly the government looked favourably and made benefits available to companies  that employed lots of people, particularly demobbed military.
Secondly the government activly discouraged retaining profits and in particularly buying production equipment from the USA increasing the UK's foreign debt and devaluating Sterling.

Thus things like the A 250 ( 1/2 an A7 ) never went into production despite the secret prototype being seen , orders being placed and it being substantially more profitable to make, because "we are selling all the C series that we can make". The fact that they could make 2 times the number of A 250's in the same time and for same total cost thus 3 times the priofit did not interest the board.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

Online Greybeard

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #2 on: 25.12. 2015 10:38 »
Well, that was educational but very depressing this Christmas morning!

Offline BSA_54A10

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #3 on: 25.12. 2015 11:57 »
There have been around 1/2 dozen papers done on the decline of British manufacturing using BSA as an example.
All rivitingly interesting once you get through the gobblldy gook.
Then there were a few specifically on the history of BSA & their downfall.
Roll them all together and a fairly clear insight into the thinking of the boards emerges .
The original board formed the company for no other reason than to save their own jobs.
Thus finding work was paramount and these men were all tradesmen except the members from the council and East Midlands Bank who were underwriting the whole shooting match.
One by one the men of iron & steel got replaced by the men of gold & silver, from the upper classes who had a God given right to profit from the labour of the working class and the direction of the company slowly turned towards oblivion.
Thus you end up with a "modern style" board full of men who know everything about money but nothing about how the company actually makes the money, like their inheritance it will just always be there.
Because of British Class structure senior management came from the "right" family & school thus few with engineering understanding got to any significant managerial level.
This also explains why thing like the Hopwood plan was ignored,( he was not one of us ) why the Trident / Quadrant project got shelved for near 20 years ( again not the brainchild of the right person) and why things like the A 250 never saw the light of day, ( again off the shop floor not from one of the enlightened).

The really dissapointing bit is that we have not learned anything and boards still practice the same policies that sent BSA down the gurgler.
An example obvious to most in the US is Harley. Went from strength to strength, then went no where once the family was voted off the board.
Under a non motorcycling board went downhill at a rate of knotts till a buy back by motorcycle enthusiast and now gone back from strength to strength.
Bike Beesa
Trevor

Online bsa-bill

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #4 on: 25.12. 2015 12:16 »
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Because of British Class structure senior management came from the "right" family & school
(not much changed then Trevor)

Apart from Lady Norah Docker who although from lowly beginnings (Publicans daughter - barmaid) soon grasped the need for an upper class hubby and manners to match  *smile*

on the bright side If BSA had continued making bikes we probably would have let the old stuff rot, got disillusioned with riding around at 150 picking up speeding tickets and having no servicing to do on them  *sad2* - or in the case of some of you here maybe not  ;)













All the best - Bill
1961 Flash - stock, reliable, steady, fantastic for shopping
1959 Rocket Gold Flash - blinged and tarted up  would have seizure if taken to  Tesco

Offline nimrod650

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #5 on: 25.12. 2015 17:45 »
as well as the demise of the british bikes we have  now lost  all the production of the steel that made them a sad xmas for all the workers

Online RichardL

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #6 on: 25.12. 2015 19:33 »
With the current extended discussion of the downfall of  BSA, I thought I'd  start a new topic for ongoing posts on the matter. Maybe admin will move some of the recent stuff over here.

The question that I have right now is, what happened to all the tooling? Could it be tracked from records of sales or auctions? Is it stored in some forgotten basement at Small Heath? Was it melted for scrap in BSA's (or Manganese Bronze's) own foundries? Any ideas?

Richard L.
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Offline metalflake11

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #7 on: 25.12. 2015 20:29 »
It was auctioned off, somewhere in the video section there is footage of it being done. An American bloke being pushed around on a mobile auction plinth by two blokes in brown coats. He looked like Davros off Dr Who crossed with a Morecambe and Wise scetch.
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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #8 on: 25.12. 2015 21:36 »
Not all BSA specific tooling was actually owned by BSA. BSA bought in quite a few parts of course, so some parts at least continued to be available, using tooling of that era in some cases I guess, Aerco Jig and Tool (Of the Midlands) made a lot of BSA parts for BSA, and continue to do so today I have been told by a reliable source (who has seen around their factory). Maybe Aerco bought some of the tooling?

Nowadays Aerco make economic sized batches of BSA parts by consolidating orders from the various suppliers of BSA parts around the world (which I am also told leads to all suppliers having quality problems when Aerco stuff up). They are difficult to deal with and do not accept returns of duff parts they supply, at all willingly!

Aerco also make parts for other brands and allegedly can make a virtually complete velocette single from parts they make.
New Zealand

1956 A10 Golden Flash EA7-168x, CA10 913x, left BSA together for Liverpool, 5th Dec 1955.

1949 B31 rigid “400cc hot rod” (favourite bike)

1949 C11 rigid, but why!!! (cos it was cheap)

1937 B21, missing parts so mission impossible?

1952 Armstrong Siddeley Whitley for rainy days (with wife).

GL1800 Goldwing not sure why, maybe cos it always starts

Offline metalflake11

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #9 on: 25.12. 2015 21:49 »
Not all BSA specific tooling was actually owned by BSA. BSA bought in quite a few parts of course, so some parts at least continued to be available, using tooling of that era in some cases I guess, Aerco Jig and Tool (Of the Midlands) made a lot of BSA parts for BSA, and continue to do so today I have been told by a reliable source (who has seen around their factory). Maybe Aerco bought some of the tooling?

Nowadays Aerco make economic sized batches of BSA parts by consolidating orders from the various suppliers of BSA parts around the world (which I am also told leads to all suppliers having quality problems when Aerco stuff up). They are difficult to deal with and do not accept returns of duff parts they supply, at all willingly!

Aerco also make parts for other brands and allegedly can make a virtually complete velocette single from parts they make.

Aerco went bump years ago, Burton Bike Bits bought a lot of Enfield tooling off the liquidator as far back as 1981 (eighty one)

This might explain the reluctance to take duff parts back though! *smile*
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Online KiwiGF

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #10 on: 26.12. 2015 01:34 »
Well it was a few years ago that my contact went around the factory! However Aerco was a a strange outfit and my contact said you never really knew who you were dealing with and he showed me invoices showing multiple company names and/or brands (invoices dated not that many years ago by the way).

 Aerco acquired a few British motorcycle companies during the period they were all going bump, or at least part of those companies assets....books on the topic are understandably hazy on the topic, not least because back then the importance of transferring rights to brand names etc was not so well understood, particularly when the manufacture of the bikes had ceased and there was no real thought of making them again.

Aerco or its variants owned to some extent the remains of Scott, Velocette and Enfield. Aerco were disputing the rights of the Indian maker to to use the Enfield brand in the UK around the year 2000, but I think lost they resulting court battle. Details below.

https://www.ipo.gov.uk/t-challenge-decision-results/o25100.pdf
New Zealand

1956 A10 Golden Flash EA7-168x, CA10 913x, left BSA together for Liverpool, 5th Dec 1955.

1949 B31 rigid “400cc hot rod” (favourite bike)

1949 C11 rigid, but why!!! (cos it was cheap)

1937 B21, missing parts so mission impossible?

1952 Armstrong Siddeley Whitley for rainy days (with wife).

GL1800 Goldwing not sure why, maybe cos it always starts

Online muskrat

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #11 on: 26.12. 2015 10:49 »
G'day Richard. I muffed up a bit but it's all together now. *red*
Think Trevor should change his name to BSApedia  *smile*.
Cheers
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Offline nimrod650

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Re: What happened to BSA?
« Reply #12 on: 26.12. 2015 15:59 »
i think  royal enfield were low on parts towards the end my father bought a new constellation minus the gudgeon  pin circlips