British-bred Royal Enfield is increasing aggressively because it goals to faucet into the world’s greatest motorbike-buying market, in Asia.
One of many world’s oldest bike manufacturers nonetheless in operation has been owned by India’s Eicher Group since 1994 and has seen sturdy gross sales in its native market.
It’s now embarking on rising gross sales throughout Asia, and just lately introduced plans to open a brand new manufacturing unit in Thailand.
Asian prospects respect the model and heritage of its bikes, Royal Enfield chief government Vinod Dasari tells the BBC.
“We make a considerably higher bike for not a considerably greater worth,” he says.
“Plus we design and produce bikes for the world, not simply India”.
The brand new Thailand plant is anticipated to be in operation throughout the subsequent 12 months and would be the agency’s greatest manufacturing unit exterior of India.
It is going to function a hub to export to different nations in South East Asia together with Vietnam, Malaysia and China.
Mr Dasari has formidable plans, aiming to launch one new bike every quarter for the following three to 5 years.
“Asia Pacific is a really thrilling and essential marketplace for us, and our patrons are usually aspirational, in search of one thing higher.”
Harley-Davidson to exit world’s greatest bike market
Winners and losers
Asia has a robust custom of motorcycle driving. India is the world’s greatest marketplace for motorcycle gross sales, adopted by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Motorbikes are the best solution to navigate the area’s typically congested roads, notably in its large cities.
Gross sales for Royal Enfield, which solely makes motorbikes within the mid-segment market (250-750cc class), have grown 88% throughout the area within the final 12 months.
Nevertheless, not all motorcycle manufacturers have been profitable in Asia.
US-based Harley-Davidson just lately introduced its withdrawal from India, in stark distinction to Royal Enfield’s enlargement.
“Merchandise of Harley-Davidson had been thought-about outsized for India. The infrastructure, prime speeds and site visitors self-discipline just isn’t very suited to cruising at excessive speeds safely,” says Vivek Vaidya, a transport knowledgeable at consultants Frost & Sullivan.
“They tried decrease engine sizes however that wasn’t their forte. Making an attempt to tackle Royal Enfield in that phase was not really easy,” he provides.
Royal Enfield, in distinction, has merchandise which extra readily go well with the area’s bike patrons, say some.
“Individuals are shopping for Royal Enfield machines based mostly upon their ease of use, their easy design and their basic classic styling,” says Scott Lukaitis, a motor sports activities advisor.
“They supply the chance for brand new riders to enter the ability sports activities group at a cost-conscious worth level with out the necessity to have a substantial amount of mechanical capacity or information to maintain them working.”
Ask Mr Dasari and he emphasises Royal Enfield’s heritage as an attraction: “We’re not simply promoting a product, we’re promoting an expertise.”
Royal Enfield: A timeline
- 1893. Initially a bicycle producer, Royal Enfield derives its identify from making elements for the Royal Small Arms Manufacturing unit, Enfield
- 1901. Produces its first motorised bikes in Britain
- 1914-18. In World Struggle One, provides motorbikes to British, Belgian, French, US and Russian armies
- 1932. Builds the legendary “Bullet” bike, that includes the inclined “sloper” engine
- 1939-45. Produces navy motorbikes in addition to bicycles, mills and anti-aircraft weapons in World Struggle Two – most famously the “Flying Flea”, to be used by parachutists and glider troops
- Sixties. The cultural heyday of basic motorbikes, however many manufacturers wrestle together with Royal Enfield
- 1970. Ceases UK operations, its Indian subsidiary takes over manufacturing
- 1994. India’s Eicher Motors buys Enfield India, renaming it Royal Enfield Motors Restricted
- 2020. UK continues to be a key market – its Interceptor 650 is the best-selling middleweight bike
Subsequent 12 months marks Royal Enfield’s one hundred and twentieth anniversary because it constructed its first motorcycle. Though with India nonetheless battling Covid-19 it has not introduced any plans but to rejoice this milestone.
As for the way forward for the Asian motorcycle sector in a post-pandemic world, many see continued progress.
“The overall consensus is concern of an infection might shift folks away from shared transport to particular person mobility. Therefore, the most cost effective mode for rural areas is the bike,” says Mr Vaidya.
- Asia Pacific