When it comes to motorcycles, Royal Enfield rules the market despite being more expensive than its contemporaries. Have you ever wondered why? Because of its Retro looks, Brand Value, Powerful Engine, running smoothly in harsh terrain, etc. Also, it is one of the oldest motorcycle brands that you see in the global automobile market.
All these facts boil down to one obvious question- “Why is Royal Enfield so successful?” Is it so just due to its powerful engine and bold looks? Well, no. There is a long story behind its successful journey which we will cover in this write-up.
So, let’s begin!
Royal Enfield: A Brief Overview
“Royal Enfield” is an iconic Indian motorcycle manufacturer renowned for its classic and rugged two-wheelers. Founded in 1901, the company boasts a rich heritage in producing durable and stylish bikes. Its distinct design and thumping engines have gained a devoted global fan base.
The powerful brand offers a diverse range of models, encompassing the classic, adventure, and cruiser categories. Embracing tradition while integrating modern technology, Royal Enfield stands as a symbol of timeless charm and unmatched riding experience. Thus, it became a cherished choice for riders seeking a blend of nostalgia and performance.
Before delving deeper, let’s have a brief overview of the company-
|Name of the Company||Royal Enfield|
|Operating Industry||Automotive industry (motorcycle)|
|Type of Company||Publicly Listed Company|
|Founded in||The year 1901|
“The New Enfield Cycle Company Limited”
|Established in India||1955 as “Royal Enfield India”|
|Parent Company||Eicher Motors|
|Headquarters||Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India)|
|Production Output (FY23)||8.5 lakh units|
|Royal Enfield Competitors||JAWA Forty-Two, |
Keeway SR 250,
Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220
What is Royal Enfield famous for?
Royal Enfield has gained its iconic status ever since it was established. It is famous for having the following features-
1. Classic Design
Royal Enfield is synonymous with “Classic Design.” If you have seen the bike in real then you won’t need any explanation! The brand is renowned for its timeless and retro-styled motorcycles, evoking a sense of nostalgia and heritage. The classic design language, including the signature thumping engine sound, has become a defining characteristic of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
2. Single-Cylinder Engines
Let me explain the concept of single-cylinder engines. See, the Cylinder is a vital part of the engine. It is a chamber where fuel is combusted and power is generated. Royal Enfield uses single-cylinder engines. How number of cylinders is related to the power and fuel efficiency of the vehicle? You may ask. See the points below-
- More cylinders lead to the quick generation of power but reduce fuel efficiency. It means that you need more fuel for twin-cylinder engines. The average/commonly used motorcycles use twin-cylinder engines. Royal Enfield also uses twin-engine cylinders in 650 cc engines.
- Single-cylinder engines have a simple construction and are easy to maintain but need a strong construction material. It has greater potential for airflow and air cooling. As a result, it is more fuel efficient and powerful as compared to dual or twin-cylinder engines.
That’s the reason for the usage of single-cylinder engines in the majority of Royal Enfield motorcycles. This unique engine configuration sets them apart from many other motorcycle manufacturers and offers a distinct riding experience.
3. Significance in History, Warfare, and Military
Do you know how Royal Enfield came into existence? Due to its powerful engine, it was highly used in World War 1 & 2 and in the Indian military. It increased the fandom of Royal Enfield among civilians at a global level. After all, who won’t love to have a powerful motorcycle that is used in the military too?
Also, Royal Enfield is over a century-old bike. Dating back to 1901, it has a rich history and enduring legacy that contributed to its reputation. People recognize the brand as a symbol of endurance and longevity.
4. Adventurous Spirit
What is the most common bike brand you see when you go to a mountainous region? Royal Enfield! The brand is associated with adventure and exploration, particularly due to the popularity of the Royal Enfield Himalayan model. It is designed for off-road and adventure touring. This has further enhanced the brand’s appeal to adventure-seeking riders.
5. Great Riding Experience & Fan Following
Royal Enfield motorcycles are often associated with a laid-back and relaxed riding experience. This makes them suitable for leisurely rides and long-distance cruising.
It has fostered a dedicated community of enthusiasts and fans worldwide. These passionate riders often form clubs and participate in events and rallies. Such factors contributed to the brand’s strong sense of community and culture.
Over the years, Royal Enfield has successfully expanded its reach beyond its home country, India, and established a global presence. It has garnered a significant cult following in various international markets.
History of Royal Enfield
As you have read above, Royal Enfield has great historical significance. How? Look at the timeline of Royal Enfield described below-
(1) 1892: Foundation
In the year 1892, two individuals named Albert Eadie and Robert Walker founded “Eadie Manufacturing Company Limited.” Initially, they were the contract supplier and produced parts of guns for “Royal Small Arms Factory,” Later, they began a new subsidiary to produce two-wheelers.
(2) 1896: Production of Two-Wheelers
This year, they established a new subsidiary company named “The New Enfield Cycle Company Limited” in Redditch, United Kingdom. They produced the following components-
- 1896: Bicycle and its components
- 1899: Quadricycle (Four-Wheeled Bicycle)
- 1901: Motorcycle (by fixing a motor on a bicycle. That motor was produced by Minerva Company)
- 1903: Cars
(3) 1907: Sold car business and focused on Motorcycles
In the early 1900s, the company faced humongous losses. Due to this the company had to sell its car business to “Alldays & Onions Ltd” in 1907. After that, they focused solely on manufacturing motorcycles. Thus, the company was renamed “Royal Enfield.”
(4) 1914: First Success of English Royal Enfield
Royal Enfield Motorcycles served in World War-1 on behalf of the British Empire. Seeing its efficiency to handle military operations, the imperial Russian army also placed orders for Royal Enfield. This popularized Royal Enfield Motorcycles. This was the first step of the company toward success.
(5) 1939: Served in World War-2
In the Second World War, British officials signed a contract with Royal Enfield for military motorcycles. This factor increased the significance of the company.
(6) 1949: Entry into the Indian Market
Royal Enfield entered India in 1949. The Indian government started using Royal Enfield Motorcycles (800-350 cc) for the Army & Police Force.
(7) 1955: Royal Enfield partnered with Madras Motors
The company “Royal Enfield Motorcycles” began its manufacturing in India by partnering with Madras Motors. The latter assembled the components of a 350cc motorcycle imported from England. Those parts were initially produced by Royal Enfield Motorcycles Redditch.
The motorcycles produced by the collaboration between Royal Enfield & Madras Motors were called “Royal Enfield India.”
(8) 1962: Local Manufacturing of Royal Enfield Motorcycles
All the motorcycle components were locally manufactured in India.
(9) 1970: End of British Royal Enfield
The British Enfield factory face huge losses and closed down due to high competition in the market. But the Indian counterpart was still running smoothly.
(10) 1990: Merging of Royal Enfield with Eicher Motors
The Indian counterpart of British Royal Enfield was facing losses too! So was it shut down? You may wonder. But thankfully, it didn’t. Instead, it merged with Eicher Motors. Was it beneficial for Royal Enfield? Yes! Eicher Motors is an Indian Multinational Automotive Company that helped Royal Enfield to grab a strong foothold in the Indian market.
(11) 1993: Eicher Motors acquired Royal Enfield
This year, Eicher Motors gained a majority stake in Royal Enfield. Thus, the former became a Parent Company of the latter.
(12) 2000: Entry of Siddharth Lal and the beginning of a successful journey
In the late 1990s, Royal Enfield Motorcycles weren’t contributing to the revenue. Seeing this, the parent company Eicher Motors decided to stop producing Royal Enfield bikes and shut down the whole segment. This is the phase when Mr. Siddharth Lal, a bike enthusiast entered as the CEO of the Royal Enfield. And revived the whole department.
How did he contribute to the success of the bike company? Go through the next section to find it out!
How did Royal Enfield make a comeback?
Royal Enfield made a comeback in the Indian market by upgrading itself! Really? Yes. Siddharth Lal tweaked the whole system of the motorcycle and presented a better version of Royal Enfield. He synched the motorcycles as per the need of the youths which led to the surge in demand for these motorcycles.
To know where Royal Enfield bikes were lacking, he himself went on a long bike ride from
So what changes did he introduce?
1. Rebuilding the Portfolio of Eicher Motors
This is the toughest decision made by Mr.Lal. The parent company was operating over 15 different subsidiary companies. It included the manufacturing of various automotive components, trucks, busses, consultancy, garments, etc. He shut down 13 businesses out of the 15. Wait… What? Yes, he asked the company to focus on two remaining businesses which were bike and truck manufacturing.
But why did he do so? Because those 15 businesses were in no loss-no profit condition. And according to him, it is better to become a market leader in a few segments rather than operating multiple non-profitable businesses. That’s why they solely focussed on bike and truck companies that included Royal Enfield.
2. Shifting the Gears
The new bikes had gears on the left side of the foot while the conventional Enfield bikes had them on the right. This caused a great dilemma for the youngsters who were not used to right-side gears. This affected the sales of Royal Enfields too. So, Mr. Siddharth Lal shifted the gears to the left side of the foot to provide similar comfort to contemporary bikes in the market.
3. Engine Upgradation
Siddharth Lal’s focus on research and development led to the development of new and improved engines. The company introduced the Unit Construction Engine (UCE) platform, which offered better efficiency, reduced vibrations, and improved performance compared to the older engines.
4. Product Development and Introduction of New Models
Under Lal’s leadership, Royal Enfield expanded its product range by introducing new models with modern features. These models included the Classic, Thunderbird, Himalayan, and Interceptor 650, among others. These bikes targeted different segments of the market and catered to the diverse preferences of motorcycle enthusiasts.
5. Focus on International Markets
Lal spearheaded Royal Enfield’s global expansion, and the company made efforts to establish a strong presence in international markets. This involved setting up dealerships, service centers, and localized marketing strategies to cater to the needs of overseas customers.
6. Adoption of Modern Technologies
While Royal Enfield motorcycles maintain their classic design, Siddharth Lal ensured that they incorporated modern technologies where appropriate. This included features like fuel injection, digital instrumentation, and anti-lock braking systems (ABS) in certain models.
Thus, with these changes, Royal Enfield touched the heights of success without looking back. Within a decade, Royal Enfield contributed over 80% of the revenue of the Eicher Motors Limited Group. By now you must have got the answer of why Royal Enfield is so successful!
In FY23, the production output was 8.5 lakh units. This was a record-breaking and astonishing achievement for the company.
Which is the most successful model of Royal Enfield?
The most successful model of Royal Enfield was the Royal Enfield Classic 350. Popularly it is called “Bullet.” It has been one of the best-selling motorcycles for the company. It enjoyed immense popularity in India and several international markets.
Its price in India is Rs.1.87 lakh and suitable for riding in harsh mountainous terrains. The Classic 350 embodies the quintessential retro-styled design and single-cylinder engine configuration that Royal Enfield is famous for.
Some other successful models of Royal Enfield are-
- Royal Enfield Electra
- Royal Enfield Meteor 350
- Royal Enfield Hunter 350
Final Thoughts: Why is Royal Enfield so successful?
Thus, as you have read above, the success of Royal Enfield is attributed to several factors. Firstly, the brand has a rich heritage and a strong emotional connection with motorcycling enthusiasts, which fosters brand loyalty.
These motorcycles exude a classic and timeless appeal, appealing to both nostalgic riders and modern trendsetters. Also, you get a diverse range of Royal Enfield motorcycles that caters to various riding preferences and markets. This factor ensures a broad customer base. Moreover, the brand’s consistent focus on quality, durability, and reliability builds trust among customers.
Apart from that, its effective marketing strategies and global presence also contributed to Royal Enfield’s sustained success in the industry. That’s why Royal Enfield is so successful globally!