Royal Enfield sales increase by 79.99 percent in July 2014
In July 2014 Royal Enfield sold 27,314 motorcycles. The sales figure for July 2013 was 15,175 units. Since then the company gained traction and sales have been on an upward swing, with July 2014 figures marking an increase of 79.99 percent. The company sold 26,796 motorcycles in India in July 2014 compared to 14851 units in July 2013, an increase of 80.43 percent. Even exports have grown by 59.87 percent.
The turnaround is incredible considering the Tiruvottiyur plant was in doldrums with the advent of high fuel efficiency 100 cc Japanese bikes. Eicher stepped in and took over the company in 1994 but still the venerable Bullet languished despite introduction of several models and a revamped engine. The Royal Enfield, along with BSA, Triumph and Norton, are classic British Motorcycles. All of them went into a decline but the Triumph and Norton have resurged in recent years under changed ownership. Likewise, India saw a rising demand from the youth who were attracted by the mystique of the Bullet. In the USA the Bullet is proving to be a popular bike in the 500 cc segment and provides competition to Harley. Harley Davidson on its part has entered the Indian markets hoping to capture a segment of the 11 million bike sales in India. However, for the moment, Royal Enfield rules. The company offers various models in Café Racer styles, Cruisers, Retro street models and standard street models in 350 and 500 cc variants. Though pricey, the Royal Enfield bikes cost far less than Harleys, Triumphs, Indian or other imports in the same class with the same classic exhaust note, fuel efficiency, ride quality and retro styling.
Back in 2000 the board of Directors of Eicher Motors held a meeting to decide whether to shut down Royal Enfield or sell it off since the bike had quality problems and sold only 2000 units. If the company survived, it is due to the efforts of Siddhartha Lal, a member of the board of Eicher Group of Companies. He was 26 years old then and a Bullet fan. He argued for it and the board decided to give him a chance. The rest, as they say, is history. The engine was totally revamped due to the efforts of Siddhartha and CEO Mr. R L Ravichandran, and all complaints were resolved. The engines are mated to five speed gearboxes, have a wet multiplate clutch and feature fuel injection. In 2008 the company launched the classic 500 cc model, which the market received with enthusiasm.
At one time it was feared the Bullet would be history but today, Royal Enfield is creating history of another kind.