Triumph management said global sales got back to pre-Covid levels in the second half of 2020 after a big drop when the pandemic first took hold.
Last week the British motorbike maker put out a trading update showing losses of £40 million in the year to last June.
Following the update, Paul Stroud, Triumph’s chief commercial officer, told BusinessLive that the team at the Hinckley headquarters had been surprised at how quickly the global market had picked up in the second half of 2020.
He also said the business had completed a redundancy round announced during lockdown which had taken the global workforce from around 2,500 to 1,800.
And he said a tie-in with India’s biggest motorbike exporter Bajaj Group to create a range of cheaper bikes starting at around £2,000, was still on track.
Mr Stroud said: “The motorcycle industry is one of the industries that has bounced back since the initial lockdown across the world. Nobody could have foreseen that the motorcycle market would perform so strongly.
“There is not a market in the world where it has not bounced back. Yes, there has been some pent-up demand, but over and above that we have performed across the globe well ahead of the overall market.”
Only last week the business, which is headquartered in Hinckley and has its main manufacturing plant in Thailand, posted figures showing a 17 per cent drop in bike sales for the year to the end of June – from just over 61,000 in 2019/20 to less than 51,000.
Turnover was down £50 million for the year to around £480 million, while the £40 million pre-tax loss compared to a £9.5 million profit a year earlier.
In the early summer the business had warned it might be hard to bounce back from the predicted global recession, post-virus, as it announced a significant round of UK job losses.
However Mr Stroud said things were looking more optimistic now.
He said: “In terms of the first six months of the current financial year it looks like unit sales are up by 37 per cent year-on-year.
“We are certainly returning back to a level of performance which we were seeing pre-Covid, which is encouraging.
“Our business is highly seasonal so between last March and June we would normally have expected 40-45 per cent of our overall volume of sales, but that was at the height of the pandemic and the effect was that we lost 10,000 units across the year – all of that was during that period.”
He said the improvement in sales had been across the board, in pretty much all of its territories, with sales of the new Rocket, Tiger adventure bike and street triple helping.
He said: “We have not slowed down model development, releasing the Trident 660 which has been incredibly well received with phenomenal feedback.
“We will continue the growth of the business in 2021. In Asia our sales are up strongly, and in Europe and the Americas.”
Mr Stroud said the first bikes to be produced under the Bajaj partnership would arrive on the global market in 2023.
He said the range of mid-capacity bikes which will give the UK manufacturer a new entry point to high-volume emerging markets not just across Asia, but the rest of the world as well – including Britain.
There have been reports in the Indian press that the launch of the first bike – rumoured to be a 200cc model – had been put back from 2022 to 2023, due to delays in its development.
Mr Stroud said everything was fine as far as he was concerned.
He said: “In terms of the partnership it’s still very much on track and we are looking at launching our range of models in line with the initial timelines, so there have been no delays to that project.
“We have been talking about a range of low capacity models which will be sold all over the world.
“There will be a higher volume potentially sold in Asia, but effectively the range that will sit below the Trident 660, will be built in India and available in the UK and all over the world.”