Launching the Interceptor INT 650 Twin and Continental GT 650 Twin in Chandigarh, where the brand sells every third motorcycle riding on the city roads, Rudratej Singh, President, Royal Enfield, an avid motorcycle rider himself, in a chat with LifeInChandigarh.com said “Our strong bond with Punjab and Chandigarh has been an immense source of strength to the company. Valuing this love and support, here we are to launch our new offerings, which I am sure will take this romance to an all new level.”
Photos By : Life In Chandigarh
At the heart of the twins is the rebirth of Royal Enfield’s legendary twin cylinder engine. The air/oil-cooled all new parallel twin 648 cc engine is claimed to be simple, easy-to-maintain and built for real world riding, with sufficient power to make light work of city traffic or cruise effortlessly on the open road.
The twin engine has been developed at the company’s state-of-the-art UK Technology Centre in Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, near a World War II air strip, which is now a 120-plus employee strong facility working on multiple projects that include development of future products and platforms, in conjunction with Royal Enfield’s UK subsidiary, the legendary Harris Performance team.
Besides adding oomph to the bikes, the team has ensured that the frame and suspension, which has four adjustments, are among the best in the world for that breeze ride. An agile chasis and a simple but state-of-the-art air-cooled engine, producing a punchy yet user-friendly 47 HP, is a winning combination. With increase in weight of the twins being just 5-6 kgs, the company asserts that they are the most nimble and agile motorcycles globally across all segments.
The bikes having been torture tested across terrains in UK, Spain and India, both outdoors and indoors, the company feels that now it has world-beating products in its portfolio and appears confident it can roll out more in the future.
The 650 twins are touted to be by far the most important launch in the Chennai-based bike maker’s history, its first truly global line of products, which are expected to play a strategic role in ushering the next set of Royal Enfield owners across the world and powering the company’s global expansion. The company looks set to ignite the mid-weight bike segment (250 cc-750 cc) in emerging markets like India, South-East Asia and Latin America, while providing a new and disruptive option to buyers in Europe, Australia and the United States.
The company describes both new motorcycles as heritage-inspired machines built to carry Royal Enfield’s legacy and character into the 21st century. While the Continental GT 650 Twin continues the journey of evolution and is as much fun as the original British Continental GT 250, an ode to the cafe racers and cafe culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Interceptor INT 650 Twin marks the return of one of Royal Enfield’s most loved classic motorcycles.
The brand maintains that while both motorcycles are built around the same engine, the two couldn’t be more different – one is all about that carefree, easy-going feeling, and the other an authentic cafe racer, for the more committed ones.
Why Did Company Wait That Long?
Company President Rudratej Singh answers thus: “We were waiting to get the ecosystem right. Now that the product has been validated internationally, and the service infrastructure upgraded, we are even more confident of the products. We launched the bike first in California where the most renowned motorcycle writers either rode the bikes with our drivers or test drove the bikes themselves. The perception of the Royal Enfield brand went up several notches in their eyes, which gives us confidence of the twin bikes doing great globally.”
The 650 twins witnessed almost simultaneous launch in Milan and South-East Asia. In India, the new bikes first saw action in the Rider Mania – an annual gathering of Royal Enfield riders from all over the world at the lovely beaches of Goa, one of the many motorcycling events and rides organised and supported by the brand globally.
Available In 130 Dealerships
The 650 twins are already available for test drives in 130 RE dealerships, including 4 in Chandigarh and 7 in Punjab, and will be shipped to all 700-plus dealerships across the country by February 2019. With 11 options of colours and graphics and pricing competitive, Royal Enfield looks set to wow lovers of the brand who have been kept waiting for a new big wave of bikes from its stable for over a decade.
The Interceptor INT 650 starts from Rs 2,50,000 and the Continental GT 650 from Rs 2.65,000 (ex-showroom Chandigarh & Punjab), being the price for standard variants. Be prepared to shell out a little more for the custom and chrome variants. The twins come with a standard 3-year warranty and Roadside Assistance Service. Customers can also choose from a collection of 40 genuine motorcycle accessories, which again come with a 2-year warranty, and a wide collection of exciting riding gear.
Has the company ramped up?
Has the company ramped up its production line to meet the expected demand from within India and from the international market? Rudratej says: “We are still in a ramp up stage. Now that we have received a resounding thumbs-up for the twins we are going to move full steam ahead.”
Fastest Growing Automobile Brand
While the motorcycle industry has stagnated globally, Royal Enfield, the oldest bike company in the world in continuous production (for 80-plus years), is racing ahead to become the fastest growing automobile brand worldwide.
From selling 50,000 motorcycles in all of 2010, the company, which markets in 55 countries, claims to have leaped to mind-blowing sales figures of 75,000-80,000 bikes a month. Its turnover has also rallied remarkably well from Rs 3500 crore in 2014 and is close to touching the Rs 10,000-crore mark.
Says Rudratej Singh: “Royal Enfield has had a sustained track record of profitable, competitive and consistent growth, on the back of its single cylinder portfolio for many decades. We are proud to add the next chapter to what, we’re certain, will be the next wave of momentum to Royal Enfield’s growth story.”
3.5 Mn Owners & Counting
Boasting of 3.5 million owners of its 350 and 500 cc motorcycles in India, Royal Enfield commands 95% of the middle-weight motorcycle segment in the country, though its share in the overall motorcycle market in the country is 6.5%. In Punjab, it commands a 17% share among all segments, nearly three times the national market share, and 35 percent in Chandigarh (meaning every third bike sold in city is a Royal Enfield).
With such robust customer base, Royal Enfield is aiming to expand it further by roping in first-time RE buyers. “Our aim is to attract more and more youth to explore adventure and leisure biking to build on numbers. In recent times we have seen that breaking social and cultural barriers women are increasingly taking to biking for leisure. A few women’s riding clubs have also come up, which is heartening,” shares Rudratej, adding that “moving forward, we are expecting 25% of our business coming from first-time motorcycle buyers.”
More Vintage Stores
To facilitate existing owners of RE brand to upgrade to the new motorcycles, the company plans to open more vintage stores (different from pre-owned stores) to allow seamless transition. “We have plans to raise the numbers of our vintage stores from 7 to 10. One of these will be opened in Punjab soon. The changeover is planned to be friction-free through easy financing. We plan to sell 50% of our motorcycles though financing route,” says the company President.
Online Motorcycle Booking
Royal Enfield has also begun online motorcycle booking facility with the launch of the 650 twins. Interested riders from across the world can log into www.royalenfield.com and book any motorcycle of the brand for deliveries across 750 dealerships in India, to begin with.
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