The Future of Royal Enfield !

Getting the inside track from Royal Enfield is hard. With its huge influence on the Indian stock market, you’ll likely hear about a new model from the financial press before the motorcycle media gets wind of it. The company has opened its second exclusive store – designed to look "like a biker’s bedroom" – which Enfield hopes will expand its hold on the UK market; we took the chance at the event to ask what’s next...

We speaks to Royal Enfield’s CEO Siddhartha Lal, and the company’s new president, fresh from Unilever – Rudratej Rudy Singh.

Royal Enfield’s CEO Siddhartha Lal
Royal Enfield’s CEO Siddhartha Lal

Siddhartha – You’re moving to the UK for a year. Is that to push this market harder?

Siddhartha Lal : We have a lot of operations happening out of here. It’s still small–we currently have about 20 people employed in the UK – and we’re building our new technical centre in Leicester. Plus we’ve acquired Harris Performance; that’s another 12 people or so. Our lead industrial design for some of our… or one of our platforms certainly…is out of the UK.

On the product strategy front, we figured that as we’re going international, we want to be in the UK, where it all started. Certainly some of the people here have a very deep understanding of the brand and British motorcycling. That’s also part of my reason to come here – to just sort of absorb that and to ride in your lovely weather (laughs – it’s a damp, cloudy day).

Royal Enfield’s President, Rudratej Rudy Singh
Royal Enfield’s President, Rudratej Rudy Singh

Rudy Singh : I think the UK, Europe, Australia and North American markets–what we call the heritage markets – are quite similar in the higher involvement in motorcycles beyond commuting. If you were to look at the average Joe on the street, their attitude to motorcycling, DIY – their ability to do stuff, expectations of what the bike should do for them is remarkably different, or more mature than in the developing or emerging markets like India. It’s happening, but it’ll take maybe a decade to get there.

We need to make sure we have the right people, so Siddhartha is here to ensure we expand the market, and continue to make Royal Enfield relevant.

Royal Enfield's Mitcham Store
Inside the new Royal Enfield's Mitcham Store.

Siddharta Lal : We’re going to have new platforms, but the general vibe is not going to change. It’s naked and simple – old-school, simple, fun. You don’t mind tinkering around, doing things yourself – you don’t get scared.

The first thing we want to do is build a strong foundation – the retail, the service, the aftermarket. All of that is extremely important, so you get confidence when you’re buying – it’s not just some, you know, Asian fellow out there, who’s like, sort of, sending a few bikes in. We’re here to stay, and we’re investing in this market.

We’re also planning new motorcycles for 2016, 2017 and 2018 – a lot of the work is going on here in Leicester. We’re going to stick to middleweight motorcycles between 250cc and 750cc – we don’t plan to extend beyond that at all for the foreseeable future. Any platform that we make is going to be relevant for the UK, US and Europe but also emerging markets, as we think they are moving up from commuting to middleweights, and that spot is quite vacant.

If we can use the same platform for India, Latin America and South East Asia that’s when we get the economy of scale. And with that scale we can have a very good offering for UK and Europe that no other manufacturer can. Today, we’re the largest manufacturer of a single platform of middleweight motorcycles in the world. Last month we did 28,000 on one platform of engine. We can invest tremendously in that platform, and get cost structures that nobody else can.