Royal Enfield Prepares for California, Scouts for Dealers, Launches Demo Ride Tour

Publish Date: 
Mar 3, 2010
By Arlo Redwine

Royal Enfield USA wants to sell more motorcycles to a wider variety of people in a wider area. The company recently hired two industry veterans for top executive positions, is completing CARB testing on all its bikes, and is looking to expand its network of retailers while conducting a yearlong demo tour.

“We are seeking new dealers in several key areas,” says Kevin Mahoney, president of Minnesota-based Classic Motorworks, of which Royal Enfield USA is a division. “There are some great opportunities right now as we begin to build our network to carry our new reliable, high-mileage Royal Enfields. The factory has several new models in the wings, which will make this a great ground-floor opportunity with a long-established brand and distributor.”

Mahoney is referring to the C5 and G5 models introduced last year. Like their ancestors, they have retro styling and a long-stroke single-cylinder push-rod engine. Unlike them, their modernized engine and transmission are housed in one unit. Add to this electronic fuel injection and a catalytic converter, and you have more power and better fuel economy, Mahoney says, without sacrificing the previous engine’s characteristic thump and torque.

New for this year, Royal Enfield’s Military model will move from the G5 platform to the C5. The model begins shipping this week.

Mahoney says CARB lab testing should be done in about a month. “Then it will be up to CARB to process the application,” he says. “Until then, we are not allowed to have any official dealers. We do have seven strong dealers, though, that we expect to sign up. They are strategically located in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Bernardino, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Clemente and San Diego. We are still interested in taking three or so more dealers in the Central Valley, Santa Barbara and the area north of the San Francisco Bay area.”

Mahoney says a dealer can get set up to carry the full Royal Enfield lineup for between $30,000 and $50,000. “This includes everything,” he says. “Tools, parts, accessories and training. We work with GE for inventory financing and Sheffield for retail financing.”

Royal Enfield is also negotiating to soon open a California warehouse. It has warehouses in Virginia and Minnesota, where Mahoney says the company stocks more than a million dollars’ worth of parts.

Mahoney declined to discuss annual unit sales, but last spring told us that 100 Royal Enfield dealers in the U.S. sell about 500 units per year. He did say that the number of dealers has remained about the same, after losses and gains.

Mahoney can share worldwide sales numbers for Royal Enfield Motors, the manufacturer founded in 1901 in England but based in India since 1955. Last year it sold more than 52,000 bikes, up from around 35,000 units the year before, or about 50 percent. “This is the rate of growth we have seen over the past few years,” he says. “Royal Enfield is at full capacity, and production is sold out for several months to come. They are now working on a second major factory expansion, which will double capacity and should be finished in two to three years.”

New Leaders, Demo Ride Tour
Helping in the expansion efforts are two new executives. Ron Greene is the company’s vice president of sales and dealer development. He’s said to have more than 45 years of experience working for such companies as Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Piaggio, Triumph and Yamaha.

According to a Royal Enfield press release, Greene’s focus will be in developing the dealer network by “strengthening existing dealers and establishing new distribution points in key markets. He will also oversee the development of an array of new dealer-focused programs to include grassroots promotional support, dealer sales training, retail financing and more.”

Thirty-year industry veteran Bill Stone is the newly appointed director of sales, marketing and dealer development.

The company’s biggest marketing push is the Royal Enfield Experience demo ride tour. The events will take place in key markets across the United States throughout the year.

“Few people know about us, and even fewer have had the opportunity to experience these outstanding new motorcycles firsthand,” Mahoney said in a press announcement. “We would like to share our story and product with them, and this tour will help us do just that.”

The tour will educate people on the modern features of the new motorcycle line. It also aims to introduce the heritage and rich history of the Royal Enfield marque. The events culminate in a 45-minute adventure ride.

People will be able to talk directly with nearby dealers and members of the Royal Enfield USA management team. “We’re a motorcycle company with motorcycle riders at the helm. We want our customers to know that and to know us,” Greene says.

The tour is kicking off now at Daytona Bike Week. The event is being hosted by Scooter Superstore of America/Royal Enfield of Daytona located at 1459 North US Highway 1 in Ormond Beach. The adventure ride will be through the Tomoka State Forest. The event is going on daily through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Future stops for the Royal Enfield Experience tour are scheduled for Americade, Laconia Bike Week and Sturgis, with additional stops and details to be announced throughout the year.