A foundry business has won a contract to supply engine parts for the rebirth of one of Birmingham’s best-known automotive brands.
Wednesbury-based Alucast has agreed a deal worth more than £200,000 to supply five engine parts to the current range of Norton Motorcycles (UK).
The rocker, sprocket, oil filter, left and right side engine covers for the new motorbike – which represents the return of a marque founded in Birmingham in 1898 – will be made by the firm using aluminium alloys.
Tony Sartorius, managing director at Alucast, said the deal was part of a successful six months that has seen it win more than £1 million of new business.
He said: “Norton is recognised the world over and we are delighted to be playing a small, but important part, in helping the new company re-establish the brand and ultimately build unique motorcycles that are in demand all over the globe.
“We were already supplying castings to the motorcycle industry, when a mutual contact arranged for us to meet with the people who had bought back Norton from the Americans in 2008. They were determined that the motorbike would be reborn and that the UK supply chain would account for over 85 per cent of its parts.”
Alucast, which is part of the unique MAN Group collaboration, will manufacture all of the parts at its gravity casting foundry before being finish machined at the company’s in-house facility in the heart of the Black Country.
Norton, which is about to double its existing site in Donnington, currently produces around 1,000 motorcycles every year across its Commando range, which includes the 961 SE, Cafe Racers and Sport models.
The clamour for the hand-made motorbikes is huge and the company is already reporting a 3,000-strong advance order book that will see it increase manufacturing to 1,500 by the end of 2011.
If achieved, this is set to more than double the existing workforce of 35.
Having gained full European type approval, Norton should also secure full vehicle type approval in America this year, which will significantly open up the worldwide market.
Simon Skinner, head of design at Norton Motorcycles, said: “When Stuart Garner bought the company off the Americans in 2008, all we were left with was a small facility and a half-made bike in the corner. I joined in February 2009 as the first employee and we immediately set about re-engineering the bike and getting the brand back into the marketplace.
“We had to build a completely new supply chain and were adamant that every part, where possible, should be sourced from the UK. This was once a great British manufacturing brand and we were determined to restore it back to its former glory.”