Royal Enfield quality – this is what their president has to say on breakdowns…
Rudratej Singh (Rudy), President of Royal Enfield talked about various aspects of business in his recent interview with Autocar. He revealed that they are in the last stages of development of the Twins – Interceptor and Continental GT 650. He also informed about their showroom expansion plans and how they want to be ready before they will eventually launch new products (read earlier word from Siddharth Lal).
In a question on RE lagging behind in engineering, Rudy said that he doesn’t agree and the company now has a staff close to 100 at UK Technology Center alone, up from 9-10 people two years back.
When asked about the infamous technical/mechanical breakdowns, Rudy was quick to play it down. He responded by saying that their current engineering improves technical glitches and they are constantly improving. He elaborated by saying that they are not perfect but then nobody else is! He added that it takes 10 cycles after launch after which you constantly improve the platform and this is done by every manufacturer.
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However, in the wake of the Himalayan debacle, Royal Enfield should get serious with quality. They are brilliant with marketing – they are selling machines which are age old (in terms of quality). If, for instance, we forget international manufacturers and compare them with Indian manufacturers, even then the fault frequency with Royal Enfields is terribly high. And it becomes a bigger concern when we begin to understand that most bikes from regular makers purchased are used to commute from point A to point B but Royal Enfields are more often used as leisure bikes, for long distance journeys and expeditions.
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Himalayan was promoted as an ADV – a genre of motorcycles which is subject to more abuse than your regular Joes! And the kind of terrible issues it was loathed with, clearly puts a question mark on RE’s competence in quality check. Even if they take some time, let us hope their future motorcycles do not come with the same shoddy quality!