Royal Enfield’s half a million comeback
In news that will raise a smile from many a classic biker and modern aficionado, the relaunched Royal Enfield line is going strong and the sale of an impressive 508,099 bikes between April 2015 and March of this year has been officially announced. That’s not half bad considering that Royal Enfield went bust all the way back in 1971.
Comfortably exceeding the half a million sales per year mark is an impressive comeback for the classic name that became a high-profile casualty in the flatlining British motorcycle industry of the 1970s. It was a sad end for the company that could trace its history back to 1890, but Royal Enfield’s Indian arm survived the fall of its UK-based parent and that part of the world-famous marque survived intact all along. In an amusing symmetry, Enfield India bought the defunct Royal Enfield name in 1995 and started a bold modernisation programme complete with a new line of engines, updated production processes and a confident international expansion.
Royal Enfield show no signs of resting on their laurels, however, and CEO of parent company Eicher Motors, Siddharha Lal has promised further gains. “In FY 2016-17, we plan to manufacture 675,000 motorcycles,” said Mr Lal, who moved from India to the UK last year to be closer to the Royal Enfield R&D centre in Leicestershire. As the man behind the revival of the Royal Enfield name and the company’s spectacularly successful modernisation programme that brought the Royal Enfield name into its third century of production, Mr Lal has famously set his sights on making Royal Enfield a global heavyweight again “hopefully coinciding with the end of my career”.
Along with a new series of models, plans for new engines and a new investment programme, Royal Enfield have also purchased the Hertfordshire-based motorcycle design and engineering firm Harris Performance – the firm originally responsible for the chassis of the iconic Royal Enfield Continental GT Café Racer.
Keep an eye out for our Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic road test in the next issue of BMF Rider.