These are golden times for Indian vintage bike maker Royal Enfield. It corners a lion’s share of the Indian mid-size bike market, numbers do speak of about 90% share! The company is in an upbeat mood, having inaugurated a new facility at Oragadam in Chennai very recently.
The new plant will help them increase their production capacity for exports, as well provide them the necessary muscle to help deal with the issue of long waiting periods back home. The company is also adding finishing touches to it’s fastest ever bike, the Continental-GT aka Café Racer.
After having made it to the last two Auto Expos, it appears that Royal Enfield is finally launching it in the Indian market. The Continental-GT will be powered by a 535 cc EFI engine which will produce power output of over 35bhp. The bike will be produced at the new Oragadam facility near Chennai, and enthusiastic officials speak of introducing the bike in the market by the end of this year. Mr. Siddhartha Lal, CEO and MD of Eicher Motors Pvt. Ltd. which is the parent company of RE, also reiterated this statement.
Continental GT will be Royal Enfield’s most technically sound bike and will also be the fastest ever produced by the Chennai based manufacturer. According to Mr Lal, the new plant at Oragadam is crucial to their growth in more overseas markets. It will crank up the production capacity of RE to 1,75,000 units, up by an impressive 55% from last year’s 1,13,000 units. The plant will be gradually scaled up to hit a peak of 5,00,000 units. He mentioned that the second phase has infact been initiated to ensure that the capacity touches 2,50,000 sometime in 2014.
Surprisingly, Mr. Lal shook his head when asked about a cruiser with an engine displacement in excess of 650 cc. He is of the opinion that they have plans for a bigger cruiser, but it’s not included in the current scheme of things. He feels that right now they should concentrate on the 250-650 cc segment, and their profit margins would reach skywards if they can replicate the Indian chapter of RE in atleast 5 overseas markets. Currently, RE exports it’s Bullets, Classics and Thunderbirds to 40 countries including the USA and the UK.
Royal Enfield will be engaged in a tug-of-war with Harley Davidson, Triumph, and quite a few other lifestyle brands if it decides to scale up to a displacement greater than 650 cc. These manufacturers focus on faster, bigger and higher-end bikes. But RE’s identity lies in slower, smaller-displacement machines that let one appreciate the greenery as he/she cruises by.
The Continental GT has also been spied testing in India.
Source: Economic Times