Royal Enfield has had increased competition in the last two years and Siddhartha Lal says copying his brand would “just boosts the original”
There is no denying the fact that Royal Enfield has stood the test of time. Being the world’s oldest two-wheeler manufacturer in continuous production, Royal Enfield has certainly etched a niche in the minds of the Indian customers. Combined with its nostalgic appeal and retro appearance, the Chennai-based brand has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years with Classic 350 being its best seller.
It is quite natural that when a segment grows, more manufacturers will step in and try their luck at the space. With RE’s popularity and the volumes achieved by its 350 cc range, it has come under increased competition in the last two years. Classic Legends revived the Jawa brand in November 2018 with a trio of motorcycles that has been performing well in sales.
Honda stepped in and introduced the H’ness CB350 last month to directly compete against Classic 350 and Meteor 350. Speaking about competition, in a recent interview, Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director of Eicher Motors that owns Royal Enfield said: “It surprises me that people are not charting their (own) route and are going for imitation..”
He further explained that “imitation and trying to copy doesn’t work, it just boosts the original. It’s in a way them (rivals) saying that we’re putting out hands up and we can’t do it, and so we will copy you”. Mr. Lal reckons his brand is “10 steps ahead of the market”. Jawa and Forty Two entered the market with liquid-cooled 293 cc engine and they are underpinned by a double cradle chassis.
Taking about facts, Royal Enfield, on the other hand, ditched the single downtube frame for a double cradle chassis only with the Meteor 350 and it only has an air and oil cooled 349 cc engine in the cruiser. Honda went with the same approach as the 350 cc REs in the H’ness CB350 with a lot more refinement and lesser vibrations in the 348 cc engine, higher torque and better features to its advantage.
Classic Legends is expected to resurrect the Yezdi brand as we exclusively revealed recently and it will be interesting to see the kind of lead RE has in the coming years, as Bajaj-Triumph and Harley-Hero combo will more likely spawn products in the midsize segments as well.