British-bred Royal Enfield dashing forward in Asia

British-bred Royal Enfield speeding ahead in Asia

By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC News

picture copyrightGetty Images

picture captionThe firm is aiming to spice up its share of motorcycle gross sales in Asia

British-bred Royal Enfield is increasing aggressively because it goals to faucet into the world’s largest motorbike-buying market, in Asia.

One of the world’s oldest bike manufacturers nonetheless in operation has been owned by India’s Eicher Group since 1994 and has seen robust gross sales in its native market.

It is now embarking on growing gross sales throughout Asia, and lately introduced plans to open a brand new manufacturing facility in Thailand.

Asian prospects admire the fashion and heritage of its bikes, Royal Enfield chief govt Vinod Dasari tells the BBC.

“We make a significantly better bike for not a significantly higher price,” he says.

“Plus we design and produce bikes for the world, not just India”.

The new Thailand plant is predicted to be in operation inside the subsequent 12 months and would be the agency’s largest manufacturing facility exterior of India.

picture copyrightRoyal Enfield
picture captionRoyal Enfield’s Continental GT 650 – Ice Queen

It will function a hub to export to different nations in South East Asia together with Vietnam, Malaysia and China.

Mr Dasari has bold plans, aiming to launch one new bike every quarter for the subsequent three to 5 years. 

“Asia Pacific is a very exciting and important market for us, and our buyers tend to be aspirational, looking for something better.”

  • Harley-Davidson to exit world’s biggest bike market

Winners and losers

Asia has a robust custom of motorcycle driving. India is the world’s largest marketplace for motorcycle gross sales, adopted by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Motorbikes are the simplest option to navigate the area’s usually congested roads, notably in its massive cities.

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 yr.

picture copyrightGetty Images
picture captionRoyal Enfield is now owned by India’s Eicher Group

However, not all motorcycle manufacturers have been profitable in Asia.

US-based Harley-Davidson lately introduced its withdrawal from India, in stark distinction to Royal Enfield’s growth.

“Products of Harley-Davidson were considered oversized for India. The infrastructure, top speeds and traffic discipline is not very suited to cruising at high speeds safely,” says Vivek Vaidya, a transport knowledgeable at consultants Frost & Sullivan.

“They tried lower engine sizes but that wasn’t their forte. Trying to take on Royal Enfield in that segment was not so easy,” he provides.

Royal Enfield, in distinction, has merchandise which extra readily go well with the area’s bike patrons, say some.

“People are buying Royal Enfield machines based upon their ease of use, their simple design and their classic vintage styling,” says Scott Lukaitis, a motor sports activities marketing consultant.

“They provide the opportunity for new riders to enter the power sports community at a cost-conscious price point without the need to have a great deal of mechanical ability or knowledge to keep them running.”

Ask Mr Dasari and he emphasises Royal Enfield’s heritage as an attraction: “We are not just selling a product, we are selling an experience.”

Royal Enfield: A timeline

picture copyrightGetty Images
picture captionA restricted version Royal Enfield Classic 500 Pegasus motorbike was inbuilt 2018 to pay tribute to WW2’s “Flying Flea”
  • 1893. Originally a bicycle producer, Royal Enfield derives its title from making components for the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield
  • 1901. Produces its first motorised bikes in Britain
  • 1914-18. In World War One, provides motorbikes to British, Belgian, French, US and Russian armies
  • 1932. Builds the legendary “Bullet” motorbike, that includes the inclined “sloper” engine
  • 1939-45. Produces navy motorbikes in addition to bicycles, mills and anti-aircraft weapons in World War Two – most famously the “Flying Flea”, to be used by parachutists and glider troops
  • 1960s. The cultural heyday of traditional motorbikes, however many manufacturers battle 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 Limited
  • 2020. UK remains to be a key market – its Interceptor 650 is the best-selling middleweight motorbike
picture copyrightYoutube/Jay Leno Garage
picture captionFormer US chat present host Jay Leno is a fan of Royal Enfield

Next yr marks Royal Enfield’s 120th anniversary because it constructed its first motorcycle. Although with India nonetheless battling Covid-19 it has not introduced any plans but to have fun this milestone.

As for the way forward for the Asian motorcycle sector in a post-pandemic world, many see continued progress.

“The general consensus is fear of infection may shift people away from shared transport to individual mobility. Hence, the cheapest mode for rural areas is the motorcycle,” says Mr Vaidya.

Related Topics

  • Thailand

  • India
  • Asia Pacific
  • Asia
  • Transport

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