Royal Enfield to focus on rural markets to sell more motorcycles in India

Retro motorcycle maker Royal Enfield has been hit by its worst sales slowdown ever since the Classic 350 was introduced in India. The motorcycle maker has now charted out a new path to beat the sales slowdown. It plans to focus on the vast Indian hinterland by setting up mini dealerships. These dealerships will be aimed at taking the Royal Enfield brand to every corner of India, and the motorcycle maker hopes that it would not only grow sales but also make the brand stronger for the years to come.

Royal Enfield to focus on rural markets to sell more motorcycles in India

Lalit Malik, chief financial officer, Eicher Motors, told LiveMint

These will be one-sixth the size of a typical Royal Enfield showroom in a metro. We don’t expect these small stores to sell more than 12-20 bikes per month. This is our first rural foray in India. Under our big distribution thrust, we aim to touch 1,100 towns via 1,350 stores this year.

Meanwhile, the response to the recently launched Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 has been nothing short of phenomenal. Both motorcycles have become India’s best sellers in the Rs. 2 lakh+ premium segment. A lot of Royal Enfield 350cc and 500cc riders are upgrading to the twins. Royal Enfield intentionally priced the Interceptor and Continental GT 650 very sharply, and this is giving the brand good numbers.

Royal Enfield is now preparing to comply with Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms that will come into effect from April 2020. The motorcycle maker will upgrade the Classic 350 and 500 by moving to an all-new platform. The motorcycles are expected to become a lot more refined and also get brand new designs. The new range of motorcycles could also get more powerful.

Higher fuel efficiency is also a given as tighter emission norms will require lesser fuel to be burnt, and fuel to be burnt more efficiently. These factors will result in a boost in fuel efficiency. All Royal Enfield motorcycles with BS6 compliance will get fuel injection as standard. The Thunderbird, Bullet 350/500 and the Electra range are also likely to move a generation ahead next year, once the BS6 norms come in.

Future plans of Royal Enfield include deploying the 650cc twin cylinder engine in more motorcycles. There’s an 830cc Bobber motorcycle that’s in the works, and the brand even showcased it recently. The motorcycle maker plans to remain in the 350cc-800cc mid-segment space, and wants to dominate this segment globally. Even future products from Royal Enfield are likely to have engine capacities in this range.