Royal Enfield is the largest motorcycle maker in the country, in the 350-500 cc segment. They offer 4 motorcycles in the 350cc segment – Classic, Bullet, Thunderbird and Electra. In the 500 cc segment they offer Classic, Thunderbird and Bullet.
The 4 motorcycles in the 350 cc segment are the best selling motorcycles of the company, while the three motorcycles in 500cc segment, are their lowest selling motorcycles. Last month, Oct 2019 saw RE register total sales of about 67,538 units. Of these, the top 4 – Classic 350, Bullet 350, Thunderbird 350 and Electra 350 – registered sales of over 64k units.
While sales of the 500 cc trio of Classic, Bullet and Thunderbird stood at just about 500 units. And this is not the story of just last month, it is the same story every month. Demand for 500cc motorcycles from Royal Enfield have sharply declined, especially after the arrival of the 650 Twins.
Thanks to aggressive pricing of the 650 Twins, more people want to buy the 650 Twins, as compared to the 500 cc RE motorcycles. Now, a report now claims that Royal Enfield will discontinue their Classic 500, TB 500 and Bullet 500 motorcycles in the coming months.
India is moving to BS6 emission norms from 1st April 2020. All vehicles sold post that date, will have a BS6 engine. This is the reason every car and bike brand is busy updating their products to BS6. Even Royal Enfield has been spotted testing their new motorcycles. New gen Classic and Thunderbird motorcycles, as well as 650 Twins BS6 have already been spied on Indian roads.
Updating the 500 cc engine to BS6 emission norms is not cost effective, as the volumes are really low – both in domestic as well as export market. On the other hand, 350cc motorcycle sales are huge, and will get the BS6 update. So will the 650 Twins, which is seeing huge demand in India as well as export market. Royal Enfield is producing about 4,500 units of 650 Twins every month, about half of them get sold in India, while the other half is exported in multiple countries outside India.
In their report, Live Mint says – “The push rod architecture of the existing 350cc and 500cc engines do not meet the stringent emission norms. As a result, the existing model lineup will be phased out.” This means, not only the 350cc engines will be BS6 compliant, they will also feature a completely new architecture – which will most likely result in better riding dynamics, acceleration, lower vibrations, higher fuel efficiency, etc.
The report adds, “Royal Enfield plans to restore the 350cc segment with an all-new powertrain as that accounts for the bulk of sales. Meanwhile, it would quit the 500cc displacement.”