November’s sales numbers are in, and they aren’t the double-digit growth that CEO Vinod Darsari had hoped for. Instead, they’re double-digit decline: November’s sales were down roughly 10 per cent when compared to the same month the previous year. November 2018 saw 65,026 bikes sold, and November 2019 saw 58,292 bikes sold.
The bad news comes as Royal Enfield is in the middle of gearing up to reach more customers. There are several strategies at play, but the plan basically boils down to two main operations: a plan to sell more bikes in its home country of India, and a plan to sell more motorcycles abroad.
A big part of the “sell more bikes at home” plan revolves around opening new dealerships. Royal Enfield is in the middle of opening hundreds of new studio-style shops, aimed at meeting rural customers. These stores are 500-600 square feet, instead of the larger dealerships sized 2000-4000 square feet. They’ve opened up 500 of these locations in India this year, and hope to open hundreds more by March.
Another problem is India’s move to much stricter emissions standards; Royal Enfield bikes that don’t meet the new standards are having a hard time selling, and the company is supposedly hard at work developing a new engine for this reason.
The “sell more motorcycles abroad” plan relies heavily on getting global consumers to view Royal Enfield as a quality product, and also to provide motorcycles that meet emissions regulations in markets like Europe. Supposedly, that new single-cylinder engine coming out soon will meet the EU’s strict rules, which will be a big part of reaching this goal.
Royal Enfield has also taken other measures to improve the perception of quality, such as establishing a secondary quality control center in the US to examine bikes before they’re sold.