After a couple years of basically no activity in North America, Royal Enfield says it’s going to start pushing its bikes hard in our market.
Since Royal Enfield went with a directly-owned subsidiary in 2015, with ex-Harley-Davidson man Rod Copes at the helm, we haven’t seen much action from the made-in-India manufacturer. That hasn’t been the case anywhere else; Royal Enfield has gone from a company making novelty machines to a serious player in the global market. Now, Royal Enfield is selling hundreds of thousands of bikes a year, and is gearing up to sell more.
What does that mean for North America? It’s hard to imagine a quick impact here, as Royal Enfield’s bikes are desirable, but have a reputation for unreliability. It has very few dealers, and pricing isn’t bargain-basement; if you want a retro machine, the Japanese can sell you a cheaper one, with a better warranty. But Royal Enfield is undercutting Harley-Davidson, and is selling to many of those customers who want vintage style on the cheap (read: hipsters). As the MoCo muscles up for the future, with seemingly little interest in customers with lighter wallets, will Royal Enfield swoop in to pick up some of that business? We shall see.
As part of the expansion in North America starting next year, Royal Enfield is supposed to bring in the Himalayan adventure tourer, which could be a big part of a North American sales push, if pricing and quality is competitive with established machines like the KLR650 and its ilk. CMG readers have told us they’ve already seen some demo Himalayans over here, but we haven’t heard anything official from the company yet.