WHILE ROYAL ENFIELD ISN’T the largest volume motorcycle OE in India, it is immensely popular, and in the minds of Indian motorcyclists it holds an equivalent position as Harley-Davidson does in the U.S. Royal Enfield is an aspirational brand, and waitlists of six to eight months are common.
THE TOTAL MARKET for motorcycles in India has surpassed China, with 14 million units sold in 2012. Currently Royal Enfield distributes motorcycles to 40 countries in Latin America, the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
DOMESTIC DEMAND for Royal Enfields consumes about 98 percent of production. A new factory, which came online this year, will allow Royal Enfield to increase production from 175,000 units in 2011 to 250,000 units for 2014.
IN 2012 POLARIS and Eicher Motors signed a $50 million deal to “develop and market new products to meet the diverse vehicle needs in India and other emerging markets” but not involving two-wheeled vehicles. In September the Indian Express claimed that Polaris and Eicher Motors were contemplating a venture for two-wheel production. This arrangement would give Polaris an opportunity to compete with the likes of Harley-Davidson, KTM and Triumph, which have existing partnerships with Indian OEs that, among other things, allow them to avoid high Indian import duties. According to the Indian Times, a spokesperson for Eicher Motors indicated that an old plant in Jaipur would be used for passenger vehicles but that a partnership involving two-wheelers was “speculative and hypothetical.”
THE BULLET MODEL has been imported to the U.S. since 1995. In 1999 distribution was purchased by Classic Motorworks, which currently imports six versions of the 500 cc Bullet and, soon, the Continental GT500.
AND ONE MORE: Royal Enfield has about 100 U.S. dealerships and a fair amount of good open points. Dealers interested in the brand can contact Kevin Mahoney at 800-201-7472 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.