CGT 650 and Interceptor quality will be much better, claims the company…
So the Himalayan has been a debacle in terms of quality and it would go down as THE most sub-standard motorcycle ever launched by such a big brand! The issues were terribly rampant and the problem is that they were not minor widespread niggles but affected almost all the parts of the motorcycle, including the chassis, engine etc. Now that Royal Enfield is venturing in a new era with their 650 cc twin cylinder engine, with a very infamous product lingering at the background, it becomes imperative for the company to speak on what went wrong and more importantly what have been the learnings…
In a recent interview with Visordown, Simon Warburton, Royal Enfield’s head of product development admitted that Himalayan was withdrawn from the Indian market to address the enormous issues users reported. He elaborated that..
“I don’t think there was one particular issue. There were too many issues.”
This is what was the reason the motorcycle was delayed for the European market. Himalayan was to go to the market in end 2016-early 2017 but it could only make way very recently.
Mark Wells, Head of Product Strategy admitted that the pre-launch promo video which featured a Himalayan’s footpeg getting snapped from a small jump should not have gone out! We have listed it as one of the two indicators that suggested a lot was wrong with the Himalayan even before its launch! You can read the story here.
They, however, promise that the upcoming Twins will be better in quality since there is a lot they are doing to improve upon their shortcoming. Simon elaborateed that they have better systems embedded in; equipment and the manufacturing processes have been upgraded. Overall there is an enormous focus on quality.
“We’ve improved vastly in the last 18 months. We’re not burying our heads in the sand.”
Earlier, Royal Enfield’s CEO Siddharth Lal, in an interview to Autocar Pro, said that they have learnt from the Himalayan project. He revealed that the product and part finalisation decisions were taken very late in the development program (of Himalayan). This resulted in a lot of part changes towards the closure of the complete process. It was their default process that time.
However, as a learning the final freeze on production parts of new motorcycles – Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650, is much earlier in the process. Apart from this, he said that they will now produce a small batch of motorcycles and test them thoroughly. And until the fault frequency comes to ‘stable’ levels, they will not go for mass production.
He elaborates that he can recall 10,000 motorcycles (figure is an example) before final customer delivery if, for some reason, he is not satisfied with the batch. This may cause a delay in the launch/delivery of the eventual product but he is okay with that.
Because of these tightening measures on the product development side, Siddharth feels that Continental GT and Interceptor’s quality will be much better and they will be niggle-free. Royal Enfield has officially announced that they have tested both the engine and chassis of these motorcycles rigorously. They have been put through lab and bench tests apart from race tracks and actual public roads.
In another recent interview Siddharth Lal accepted that BS3 Himalayan had ‘failures’ whereas the new batches of BS4 Himalayans are fault-free (more details) which is not entirely true though! If despite all of this Interceptor and CGT 650 are similar or only marginally better than the Himalayan, then they may not be third time lucky!