Royal Enfield Set to Launch New Bike in London
Sept. 29 – Royal Enfield, the classic British motorbike brand snapped up by India’s Eicher Motors in 1994 following a long British decline and eventual bankruptcy, is set to launch its first new bike in the UK since the brand effectively left Britain.
Royal Enfield, which was purchased lock stock and barrel and relocated to Chennai, now dominates the premium bike sector in India’s market, selling about 113,000 bikes last year – 95 percent of those being larger than 350cc. Eicher is increasing production of the brand to 250,000 units in 2014 with eyes on a significant export sales – including back to Britain. The brand is profitable, making profits last year of some US$168 million as revenues increased 56 percent on 2011.
Royal Enfield has long been considered a heritage British brand and its bankruptcy in the early 1970s was met with dismay by many British aficionados. Yet the brand had originally opened a factory in India in 1956, and despite the British demise of its operations, the Indian plant survived. The bike is revered for its classic “Café Racer” lines, low slung handle bars and motto – “Made Like A Gun, Goes Like A Bullet” – which is still in use today.
“Indian manufacturers have a long track record of rescuing heritage brands and re-positioning them for the Asian and then global export markets,” comments Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates. “Royal Enfield is a primary Indian brand and it is welcome news that finally it will be seen once again on the streets of Britain – its original home. Like Tata have accomplished with Jaguar and Land Rover, Eicher have done with Royal Enfield and it is both romantic and pragmatic to see these classic marques being maintained and developed by Indian businesses.”
The new Royal Enfield Continental GT will sell in the UK for £5,200.
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