Royal Enfield plans to discontinue its 500 cc range of motorcycles from next year, claims a new report from LiveMint. The report quotes sources close to the developments, stating that the BS-VI emission norm upgrade will make the production of the 500 cc engine powered motorcycles ‘unviable for the domestic market’. Does it mean that the two-wheeler brand will continue to offer the range in the international markets? Not according to the website's sources.
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One of the sources told the website:
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… 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.
Another person close to the developments added that company’s new 650 cc range will become the export volume drivers for the brand. The source said:
The twin-cylinder, 650cc motorcycles – Interceptor and Continental GT – were designed and developed primarily for the export markets. Secondly, the intent of launching the new 650cc bikes was also to upgrade the existing pool of Royal Enfield riders in the domestic market. As the 500cc line-up will be discontinued, the 650cc Twins will become the company’s export volume drivers.
Regular followers would know that while Royal Enfield's year-on-year sales performance in the domestic market have witnessed negative growth for 11 consecutive months, exports have delivered promising numbers. The exports started showing positive performance since late 2018, which incidentally is the same time when the company introduced the new 650 Twins.
The company did not comment on the developments. A Royal Enfield spokesperson told the website that all its products are future-proof and that the company does not comment on speculative news and product pipeline. Royal Enfield will make announcements in a timely manner, added the spokesperson.
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data suggest that the domestic sales of the 500 cc bikes grew by three-fold (36,093 units in FY19 vs. 12,216 units in FY13) while the 350 cc range reported a seven-fold growth (764,012 units in FY2019 vs. 108,478 units in FY2013).
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Royal Enfield did not reveal any new products at this year’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. Instead, it presented custom motorcycles and existing models at its stand in the show. The Euro-V and the BS-VI transition will take place in 2020, and we expect to hear more official details in early next year.