Royal Enfield: Marque on a mission

As we’ve told you several times this year, Royal Enfield is on a mission, and if the sales figures we’re seeing are correct, they’re succeeding.

With European and North American manufacturers trying desperately to break into the lucrative Indian motorcycle market, Royal Enfield is in turn trying to grow their own export sales both in India and outside their home country. Last year’s new Continental GT model was a big part of that push; they’ve also opened a new plant, are working on other new factories, hired famous designer Pierre Terblanche and dropped prices in export markets.

Now, reports say all that work is paying off. Supposedly, Royal Enfield’s October sales rose 47.45 per cent, from 17,659 units to 26,039 units. Then, November sales jumped even more, from 18,131 units to 27,542 units, a 52 per cent increase. In a world where Japanese marques are mostly treading water and the European manufacturers are mostly seeing only slight gains, that’s an incredible feat, especially when considering how dated the Royal Enfield lineup is.

But, if reports are true, the best is yet to come. Royal Enfield is supposedly working on a new mid-displacement motor and a plan to become the world leader in that segment. While it might seem unrealistic to expect Royal Enfield to unseat the Big Four, or even to consider themselves as players on the same level, there’s no question the Indian manufacturer has a huge following in their home country, which is one of the world’s largest motorcycle markets – much of their recent sales boom has come in-country, although their retro-styled models still have plenty of international appeal.

Another big reason for their sales boom is simple availability. While buyers still have to wait weeks to purchase a new machine, wait times have decreased rapidly, thanks to their new manufacturing capability. With their new factories, Royal Enfield seems to be improving at building the bikes necessary to meet demand, so maybe they’ll actually achieve their goal of becoming a major industry player.


    • I think you’re right. I suspect their new venture, if it’s modernist in design, will always be viewed as secondary to their classic designs. There is certainly a desire for affordable, reliable retro-styled bikes and if Royal Enfield can keep on making bikes like the Continental GT, then the hits will keep on rolling.

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