Royal Enfield is setting up shop in North America, opening its first wholly-owned direct distribution subsidiary outside of India. Royal Enfield North America will be based in Milwaukee, Wis., (home to another long-running motorcycle brand established in the early 1900s) and will handle business operations including marketing, service, financing and dealer development.
Until now, Royal Enfield worked with separate distributors in North America: Minnesota-based Classic Motorworks for the U.S. and Origin Motorcycles of Edmonton for the Canadian market. Classic Motorworks will be transitioning out of its distributor role through the rest of 2015.
Royal Enfield’s current model lineup consists of the 500cc Bullet and Classic line and the 535cc Continental GT. The company is rumored to be developing new models in the 400cc and 750cc displacment levels, including a new adventure-styled model called the Himalayan. Royal Enfield President Rudratej Singh says the company will continue to focus on “mid-sized” displacements, believing there is a gap for such models in North America.
“North America is a key international market for Royal Enfield, with a rich history of riding enthusiasts,” says Singh. “Given the lack of attractive options in the mid-size segment, we are well poised to fill the gap and serve potential customers at a close, intimate level by localizing our operations in North America.”
Royal Enfield North America will be led by Rod Copes, a former Harley-Davidson executive. Copes says the firm will open its first retail store in Milwaukee before adding other stores in metropolitan areas across the U.S. over the next 18 months. Royal Enfield North America will also be establishing an independent dealer network.
“In a post performance era where American riders are looking for machines that are easy to own and maintain, Royal Enfield offers evocative and unintimidating modern classic motorcycles, with timeless appeal,” says Copes.
Manufacturing will remain in India at Royal Enfield’s Chennai factory. Royal Enfield produced more than 300,000 motorcycles in 2014 and is expected to reach a total of 450,000 by the end of this fiscal year.
[Source: Royal Enfield]