The Indian auto industry witnessed conservative sales off-take during a previous couple of months due to issues like the increase in insurance costs before the festive season and overall lowkey market sentiment. Sales picked up in the last few days of the festive season and October saw record-breaking numbers.
However, despite the Diwali season, the sales performance from October 2018 could not be repeated in November. While rest of the two-wheeler brands registered positive year-on-year sales performance, Royal Enfield suffered a 6 per cent fall in November 2018 against corresponding month last year. The fall in sales could be associated with the 50-day strike at the company’s Oragadam plant in Tamil Nadu, which began on September 24. The company reported a cumulative production loss of 25,000 motorcycles for September and October 2018 due to the worker strike.
In the domestic market, Royal Enfield clocked 65,026 unit sales in November 2018 as against 67,776 units sold in November last year – a decline of four per cent. Exports saw a 69 per cent fall, declining from 2,350 units in November 2017 to 718 units last month. Cumulative sales saw a six per cent fall as the company sold 65,744 units in November 2018 against 70,126 units in the corresponding month last year.
Now, with the strike called off, and the company launching the Interceptor INT 650 (INR 2.50 lakh*) and Continental GT 650 (INR 2.65 lakh*) at highly competitive prices, the company is expected to gain ground in the coming months. The Royal Enfield 650 duo were an instant hit and the waiting period for the motorcycles has shot up to three months. Royal Enfield has said in the past that the 650 twins have been designed and developed specifically for the global markets from the outset.
Siddhartha Lal – MD & CEO, Eicher Motors (Royal Enfield’s parent company), said in an interview:
It gives us the platform that can make us a global company in the next 5-10 years. In markets around the world, including in India, there are some modern classics, but they are with much higher capacity and much more expensive. There are no true middleweight motorcycles. In the true middleweight category, there are no such modern classics. So yes, there is a lot of opportunity for growth in the segment and that is why we are here for.
Lal expects the 650 Twins to reach annual sales of up to 1 million units globally within 10 years.