Gerry van Vlack raised some interesting points, though I have to agree
with Randall's view - even though I'm a 'distant' VTR member.
While it may theoretically be an idea to have one national club - this
rarely happens. In any case, more than one National club tends to keep
other clubs on their toes and makes for a more competitive spirit.
North America also has unique problems because of its sheer size and
on the face of things, VTR's structure of Chapters and Zones addresses
that situation because any successful club is the sum of individual
member activities at a local level.
Earlier this year, I met Mike Cook (VTR's magazine Editor) and spent
the better part of a day with him during which time we discussed clubs
as a whole around the world, their structures etc and this was not
limited just to Standard-Triumph. One thing that did surprise me was
Mike's comment that in North America, only a relatively small
proportion of members of local Triumph clubs are VTR members.
Interesting. I'd speculate that for as long as that sort of situation
exists, VTR members will continue to receive only a nominal number of
club magazines every year - and many people join clubs purely for the
Well, they do in Europe - maybe te States is different?
But on our side of the pond, it tends to work the other way about with
everyone being a member of a national club that provides either
funding or partial financial support to a plethora of activities at a
local level. Granted our distances are much shorter for national club
events but we don't have a commonality of language as in the US. This
makes cross-border meetings a little more difficult to
arrange/support - and there's a lot of nationalism as well. But a
vertically integrated structure also means that members receive a
bi-monthly 40-60 page magazine, though in the case of Triumph Sports
Six in the UK, it's a Readers Digest size publication, in full colour
and runs to about 110 pages per monthly issue. As Sports Six has a
membership of some 10-12k people it can do this sort of thing - but
I'd hazard a guess that VTR could attain that similar membership as
well, given time.
However, what of the future?
I'd suggest that Triumph Clubs are going to diminish in number (of
clubs) and this is already happening across a spectrum of British
makes around the world and only because the residual vehicle parcs
continue to age and diminish. The owners aren't getting any younger
either and its not at all uncommon to see a car for sale because the
owner is giving up driving. There is ample evidence of this and the
only way to ensure longer-term survival of the few remaining cars in
the hands of up and coming custodians is to either progressively merge
current independent clubs or let the smaller/weaker ones go to the
wall. This is exactly what some of te Austin, Riley and Rootes Group
clubs have had to do to ensure continuing viability - and
Standard-Triumph is not immune from this either - no matter what
certain committee people may say. My perception from the UK side of
things as it affects Triumph is that merger is anathema thoug I am
confident that over a number of years this is exactly what will
happen. It will be the only way to ensure the cars remain after their
owners of today are no more.
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