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Rumor: BMW to Revive the Triumph Brand

We’re experiencing some serious déjà vu here at MotoringFile headquarters. We reported as far back as early 2006 that BMW had plans for the Triumph brand. At the time it was for a two seat roadster based on the MINI platform that never saw the light of day (or did it?). Now AutoCar.co.uk is reporting that there’s life yet in the classic British brand.

For those who are new to the history of Mini, BWM acquired MINI, Triumph, MG and a handful of other marques in its purchase of Rover in the mid 1990s. Early Triumph rumors centered around the brand coming back as a front wheel drive roadster. A car that either became the MINI roadster or (ironically) the MINI Coupe. Now there are reports that BMW has quietly applied to use the laurel wreath badge on a wide range of goods. Aside from vehicles, the application covers jewellery, watches, books, leather goods, luggage, cleaning materials, textiles and even Christmas tree decorations. Sounds a lot like the range of MINI accessories doesn’t it? And since BMW isn’t in the business of bringing back dead brands to make Christmas tree ornaments we suspect that they are seriously looking at reviving the brand to bolster BMW’s offerings in the lower part of the market.

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More specifically BMW needs more volume out of its front wheel drive platforms for them to get the buying power that companies like VW and Ford get. Do you want a dual clutch transmission in the MINI? Than BMW needs to be able to guarantee millions sold to get the price down to appropriate levels. Want a 250 hp JCW? Again it all comes down to volume that drive prices down and makes them viable. And that’s where we believe Triumph enters.

Why now and not the middle of the last decade? BMW’s front wheel drive plans are fully formed and just a year away from bearing their first fruits with the UKL based BMW 1 Series GT. After that we get the 3rd generation MINI and then the entire MINI line slowly turns over. Within that time-frame we could imagine BMW reviving and using the Triumph name to sell a product to the masses brings a new angle on the same front wheel drive three cylinder formula that will be a mainstay of the UKL front wheel drive platform.

What about the Saab rumors? We’d be surprised if the two aren’t connected in some way. Stay tuned.

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Written By: Gabe

  • minimalist

    4 door saloon ukl platform sold as Triumph Dolomite?

    • Bilbo Baggins

       Good sense of humor

  • Anonymous

    Did Triumph ever make anything but two seat roadsters?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wolfgang-Gullich/100001637967903 Wolfgang Gullich

      Dolomite, Stag and a few other 4 door sedans

      • Anonymous

        ok, so they had a range of fwd sedans, then it all makes sense if BMW is really committed to making a product that competes in lower price ranges. If they want to do a roadster however, they really ought to make it rwd.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    Would much rather see a front engine rear drive platform if they are going to make a sport coupe or roadster with a Triumph badge on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312390153 John Welsh

    I think I agree with the supposition of bolstering the offerings in the lower part of the market.  When you look at the other players in the market (Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti, etc.) BMW still needs its plebian counterpart.  MINI is not that counterpart.  I don’t agree with the FWD logic for Triumph.  Not only would it alienate most Triumph fans and veer from its heritage, Triumph wouldn’t make sense as MINI’s counterpart.  Triumph could leverage BMW’s RWD tech and also, as you suggested, make additional use of the 3-cylinder engines.  I think the logic regarding the FWD offerings fits best with the potential SAAB acquisition.  It might be a little stretch, but SAAB may even be seen as MINI’s counterpart.

  • Rfritz

    @lavardera – Triumph had a long history of producing all sorts of cars other than two seat roadsters.  Triumph Stag was meant as a competitor to the M-B SL, Triumph Dolomite was a serious competitor to the BMW 2002….there were Triumph saloons / sedans like the 2000 and 2.5 PI / petrol injection … lots of history with Triumph.

  • Greg

    When I was in high school, I really wanted to buy a brand new TR-6, but didn’t have the money. I would sure love to see a modern version of this car brought back by BMW.

  • http://www.r59roadster.com/ Tony at R59roadster.com

    ‘…since BMW isn’t in the business of bringing back dead brands to make Christmas tree ornaments..’ LOL this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wolfgang-Gullich/100001637967903 Wolfgang Gullich

    Could a Triumph revival and possible SAAB purchase bring the Sonnett nameplate back to life? hmmm

    • that.guy

      I hope not.  The Sonnet was a terrible car.

  • Benner3kj

    Build it and they will come and I’ll be the first in line. (My Spitfire could use the company in the garage.) BMW should build a Triumph roadster concept car and gauge the reaction at auto shows. This may ease MINI dealers minds about having a Triumph in a MINI dealership

    • Big matt

      I really hope they call it spitfire. Would be great symmetry – Germans building spitfires

  • JBFromOZ

    I’d be more interested in the revival of the Austin Healey, along the lines of http://carscoop.blogspot.com.au/2007/06/nanjing-auto-announces-deal-to-revive.html but looks like that part of the leyland/rover brand is well gone from BMW…

  • R50

    Can they still make wire wheels? RWD and wire wheels – that says Triumph to me.

  • Jollyrogers33

    Yes they still make wire wheels.  IN fact you can get a set for your MINI right now.  High price.

  • Dalboyne

    My first ever car was a Triumph 1300 – a 4-door FWD saloon built in 1969 by the “Standard Triumph Motor Company”.

    I always wanted a Triumph Herald Convertible……but now I have a MINI Convertible instead!

  • 115hp
  • Bob Hayhurst

    While the BMW Z4 coupe is/was a beautiful car, the Triumph GT+ Mk II remains one of the most brilliant coupe designs ever. While it was deemed a fastback, it was a lovely bit of design, kind of a spitfire but with a stiff chassis.

    While I would love to see BMW revive the Triumph brand, I hesitate to imagine which model would be best to resuscitate. I would like to think they would do as well for the Triumph as has been done for the BMC Mini.

    As far as Saab goes, the Saab 96 was the only model that ever did anything for me. I loved the sound of the 2 stroke motor and the beautiful lines of the body.

    • Anonymous

      TR6 would be my vote!

  • Chris Underwood

    The thought of a FWD Triumph raises bile in the back of my throat.  Proper roadsters should be RWD.  Would be interesting to see them make a RWD Triumph roadster to compete against the Miata, but if they slap a Triumph badge on a FWD car they’ll just be showing that they have a complete lack of respect for the marque.

  • Anonymous

    Nice. My parents bought a new white/red ’63 TR4 in Europe and brought it back to the States after driving it there for about a year.  My dad drove it through the 1980′s, when the wiring harness shorted, effectively killing his relationship with the car (the cost to replace it inspired him to try a few other collectables).

    I recently asked him if he hand any interest in finding a restored TR4/TR4a, and he said after driving a 911 for as long as he has, getting back into a TR4 wasn’t terribly appealing.  I didn’t say anything, but I immediately thought it would be fun to have a TR running modern technology. This could be as close as we get.

  • Benner3kj

    If BMW does decide to do a modern Triumph I hope they bring back Frank Stephenson to design it. This time I would suggest giving him a free hand in it’s design. He did a nice job with the 1st gen MINI and a better job with the Fiat 500 (design wise).

  • JbkONE

    Isn’t the new MINI/BMW 3 cyl platform designed to be AWD?  So couldn’t they make a Triumph roadster RWD on it?  

    • m8o

      It may depend on if that design is capable of handling 100% of the engine torque, times 5 that you’ll get thru the torque multiplication of 1st gear.  I.e. can it handle over 1000 ft/lb of twist over and over again thru the life of the car?  If so, then it would indeed be possible.


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