by Abhinand Venugopal from https://www.rushlane.com
Royal Enfield’s Japan operations were carried out by the importer, Wingfoot
Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield operates in more than 50 countries across the globe. The automaker has a huge fan following in many parts of the world, especially for its single-cylinder ‘Classic 350’ model.
In India, the company has updated most of its products to BS6 specifications while readying to launch the next-gen ‘UCE 350’ models, starting with the Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (which replaces the Thunderbird range).
Wingfoot Co. Ltd., Royal Enfield’s official importer in Japan has announced a business termination with the British-origin motorcycle manufacturer. The official statement stated that it has “finished all business related to the import and export of Indian-made Royal Enfield motorcycles” after ending the contract with Eicher Motors — the parent company of Royal Enfield.
In other words, Royal Enfield has temporarily withdrawn from the Japanese market until a new importer takes charge. Royal Enfield Japan’s official website will be taken down by the end of this month while its social media handles will be deleted on May 15. In a matter of days, Eicher Motors might announce a new partner to commence operations in Japan.
Royal Enfield has not been a strong player in Japan since the country has its own compelling alternatives from the likes of Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki. Even in India, Japanese two-wheeler brands often come at the top of monthly sales charts while Royal Enfield mostly remains at the bottom of the top 10. However, it is no secret that India is a volume-sale market and six-digit numbers need not always tell the story of a brand’s success or struggles.
As mentioned before, Royal Enfield has already made a smooth transition to BS6 emission norms. In the process, the company has discontinued the higher ‘500’ models on account of poor sales. As a tribute to the decade-old model line, Royal Enfield had introduced the limited-run BS4-compliant Classic 500 Tribute Black. The next-gen ‘350’ models are currently in the works. Various reports state that they will be a huge improvement over the current ‘UCE 350’ range since Royal Enfield has employed a completely new platform.
The Indian automotive market is currently going through a rough phase due to the COVID-19 lockdown protocols. Owing to this, Royal Enfield faced a sales decline of 44% in March and is expected to witness an even more drastic fall this month. Experts predict that the entire scenario of buying a new vehicle would change once the Indian government withdraws its lockdown policy — know more details.