Bullet built the Royal Enfield Empire, will go global in its new Avatar: Siddhartha Lal

Growth in the Bullet franchise will also be helped by the overall premiumisation trend in the marketplace.

By Ketan Thakkar and Chandan B Mallik calendar 02 Sep 2023 Views icon14274 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Bullet built the Royal Enfield Empire, will go global in its new Avatar: Siddhartha Lal

Having lived for over 9 decades of presence, Royal Enfield Bullet, the world's oldest motorcycle in continuous production, has been launched in its new avatar and within a month it will make its way to its first home or a place of birth in Britain after almost half a decade.

With its new slogan “Bullet Meri Jaan”, the model will make its way to all evolved markets of the world to reignite its legacy.

Relaunched with a new generation of J series engine which meets the highly stringent Euro V norms, the new Bullet codenamed J1B comes on an all-new chassis and Royal Enfield promises to retain its iconic character of thump and easy riding from the new heart (the engine) and the body.

The model that traversed from Redditch in England to Tiruvottiyur in Madras in 1955, has evolved from a hand-built motorcycle to the one that goes through an automated assembly line with 550 bays to deliver a world class motorcycle.

Launching the new Bullet, Siddhartha Lal, MD of Eicher Motors paid tribute to its most iconic brand and said, it is on the back of Bullet, the entire "Royal Enfield empire" has been built and it is the Bullet model that brought Royal Enfield to the party.  

"This motorcycle is unwavering; it does not change. It is our north star that keeps us honest and real. The rest of RE can go a little bit further left, right, a little bit more adventure, or touring, Bullet retains its essence and it is a product that we are going to sell globally. Bullet made the modern Royal Enfield - the one that is the world's largest mid-size motorcycle company today," explained Lal on retaining the form factor of its oldest motorcycle and its importance in Royal Enfield 's existence.

Mark Wells, the chief design officer Royal Enfield said that the key attributes of tiger eyes, teardrop tank, the bench seat, the thump – all of that has been retained, "the proportion, stance, straight back riding position is the same, yet it is an all-new motorcycle, virtually nothing is being carried forward in this 2023 motorcycle from the UCE model."

Very soon the brand will hit the shores of the UK, Europe and other parts of the world.

Lal wants to take this storied brand with "Bullet Meri Jaan" tag line globally underscoring how Bullet has been an icon of India, having been part of the culture, tradition, and part of many generations within one family.

Lal recalled how he and the CEO of Royal Enfield, B Govindarajan took it upon themselves 25 years ago to seriously address the quality issues - which had impacted the brand.  

RE International facts - 

  • Retail growth in international markets ranged between 27% to 45% across regions in FY23.
  • Our market shares and positionings are increasing in all the regions - In middle weight – #1 in the UK, Korea | #2 in Thailand | #3 in France, Italy, Australia .
  • Middle weight market share: >20% in the UK | ~8% in North America & LatAM | ~9.1% in the APAC | 9% in the EMEA region 8.9%.
  • Along the way the company has transformed from a motorcycle maker with a series of teething issues to a company that delivers world class motorcycles competing with the best, if not bettering them.

"We have made quality an obsession at Royal Enfield, we are truly deeply obsessed about quality, about manufacturing, about kaizen – continuous improvement. We have been at it for 25 years, today we have emerged as the number one in the world. We had taken quality to our heart and we are absolutely obsessed by it now," the MD said.

Lal recalled how Royal Enfield has single handedly driven the mid-size motorcycle market which stood at about 50,000 units per annum company about a decade and half back to almost a million units currently, with the company enjoying a pre-dominant share of over 90%.

The Bullet will continue to play a pivotal role in the future in India as well as globally.

Royal Enfield is selling about 6,000 to 8,000 a month, this is likely to grow to about 15,000 units.

The average age of a Royal Enfield Bullet buyer is about 35-49 years old. With the updated product the company is hoping to appeal to a much larger audience across the country. This in tandem with global markets, the Bullet sales may potentially increase the monthly volumes to 20,000 units per month.

The growth in the Bullet franchise will also be helped by the overall premiumisation trend in the marketplace.

Despite the overall softness in the two-wheeler market, the premium sports segment is expected to grow at double the space of the mainstream market.

The rapidly improving road infrastructure, increasing product choices, the expanding riders club and growing community will continue to provide heft to the mid-size motorcycle segment in India.

In the last financial year, Royal Enfield posted a growth of 27% to 45% across regions. 

In the middle weight segment, the company was the number 1 brand in UK with a 20 per cent market share. Royal Enfield managed to garner 8 per cent market share in US and it enjoyed 9.1 market share of Asia Pacific Region.

Yadvinder Singh Guleria, the chief commercial officer of Royal Enfield said the Bullet carries the attributes of 5 Cs aptly - i.e. Craft, Culture, Character, Community and Charm - and these are the elements which is going to keep the motorcycle timeless.

"There is an element of human craft with its hand painted signature pinstripes on the vehicle tank. Bullet has a rich culture and heritage of over 90 years. Its unique thump and exhaust character resonates very well within the community of over 1200 groups and all this builds to a charm of Bullet," added Guleria.

The retro-inspired model will appeal to a much larger audience with its new generation highly refined J engine, superior build quality and attention to detail, both in India and global markets.

In India, the Bullet has very few rivals and the all-new retro-inspired model will compete against the likes of Benelli Imperiale 400, Honda H’ness CB350, and Jawa 42. However, the Bullet’s price range from Rs 1.76 lakh (ex-showroom) to 2.16 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top-of-the-line Black Gold edition brings it closer to recent new models launched by Hero-Harley-Davidson and Bajaj-Triumph at Rs 2.29 lakh (entry-level ex-showroom) and Rs 2.23 lakh (for the first 10,000 buyers) respectively.  

The model will appeal to a much larger audience with its new generation highly refined J engine both in India and global markets.

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