Royal Enfield continues to enjoy a monopoly in the 200cc to 700cc motorcycle segment in India
Rivalry in the mid-segment retro classic motorcycles has heated up quite a few notches higher in recent years. The segment which only had Royal Enfield motorcycles on offer a few years ago, now has players like Bajaj, Jawa, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, etc. In spite of this, Royal Enfield has a market share of over 81% in the 200cc-700cc segment motorcycles in India.
In recent years we have seen more and more new motorcycles getting launched, with the aim of eating into the market share of Royal Enfield. Apart from launching motorcycles in a similar price and engine size segment as Royal Enfield, some rivals are even launching motorcycles which look similar to Royal Enfield.
Benelli launched Imperiale 400. Mahindra formed Classic Legends to revive Jawa brand. And one of the biggest blow / surprise came from Honda Motorcycle India; when they launched the H’Ness CB350 a month and a half back. Amidst this growing competition Eicher Motors MD, Siddhartha Lal has made a frontal attack.
In an interaction with Times of India, Siddhartha has stated that “imitation and trying to copy doesn’t work”, thus taking a shot at his company’s rivals. He further added that his firm is “ten steps ahead of the market”. Royal Enfield currently retails 350cc bikes such as Bullet, Classic and Meteor, 410cc Himalayan and 650cc twins Interceptor and Continental GT.
Foreign Brands setting up JVs in India
Rivalry is set to intensify in coming years with the joint venture between American bikemaker Harley Davidson and Indian manufacturer Hero MotoCorp. The latter will develop, manufacture and sell motorcycles under the former’s brand name in India which will specifically target the mid-segment displacement bikes.
Although, this is not the only joint venture that will come in future. It is already known that Bajaj had partnered with Triumph to develop bikes under the latter’s name in the country which will be more India-specific. Both locally produced Harley and Triumph motorcycles could generate great interest in the premium bike segment.
Royal Enfield’s strong points
However, Siddhartha added that every time some other two-wheeler brand comes up with a new product in the mid-displacement segment, it has turned a habit for everyone to sound a death knell for Royal Enfield. Although he claims that the brand has the experience and expertise in sales, dealership walk-ins, after-sales and marketing which have kept the brand going strong.
In the last few years, Royal Enfield has shown a tremendous resurgence after many years of dull performance in the market which has seen a huge surge in sales thanks to its solid products on offer. The company is looking to further solidify its position in the automotive sector by launching as many as 28 new bikes in the next seven years.
It is definitely hard for any other manufacturer to displace Royal Enfield from its position in the premium motorcycle segment and the Chennai-based bikemaker in all likelihood will continue to dominate this segment. However, with strong products from rival brands at competitive prices would mean that RE will no more enjoy a clear monopoly.