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Royal Enfield’s Siddhartha Lal is unperturbed by the incoming competition in its stomping ground of 350-500cc motorcycles in India. Photo: AFP
Royal Enfield’s Siddhartha Lal is unperturbed by the incoming competition in its stomping ground of 350-500cc motorcycles in India. Photo: AFP

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 aimed at pulling customers from other brands: Sid Lal

  • The newly launched model is an all-new platform Royal Enfield engineers have been working on for the past 4 years, the management had said recently
  • The company said it’s order book currently has over 125,000 bookings

Mumbai: Royal Enfield Meteor 350, the cruiser motorcycle that replaces the popular Thunderbird range, is aimed at pulling customers from the other two-wheeler brands, a senior company executive said on Thursday.

“Meteor 350 is positioned to appeal to the upgrading pool of two-wheeler customers from the other brands. These are those who currently ride commuter models (100cc-200cc) and want to upgrade to bigger and more premium bikes," said Siddhartha Lal, managing director, Eicher Motors Ltd, the parent of Royal Enfield, in the earnings call on November 12.

“The Meteor 350 will fill in the void left by the discontinued Thunderbird in our portfolio. When we were doing the market research for the Thunderbird 20 years ago, people said it would add more customers to the umbrella, especially those who do not buy the Bullet," Lal said, adding that the company has addressed the quirks around refinement and quality that existed in the predecessor.

The newly launched model is an all-new platform Royal Enfield engineers have been working on for the past 4 years, the management had said recently.

Powered by an all-new, BSVI compliant single-cylinder, 349cc engine, the Meteor 350, codenamed J1D internally, was launched on November 6 in 3 variants across a price range of 1.81 lakh to 1.90 lakh (ex-showroom).

Meteor 350 has amassed over 8,000 bookings in just 6 days of its commercial launch, the company management said on the call.

This came as Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd (HMSI), country’s second largest two-wheeler maker, said on Thursday that it has delivered over 1,000 units of its CB350 in 20 days of commencing deliveries.

Honda’s CB350 is the Japanese bikemaker’s shot at competing with Royal Enfield’s 350cc Classic and Bullet range. Honda had launched the CB350 in two variants in a price range of 1.85 lakh to 1.90 lakh (ex-showroom).

“We study competition, we understand what they are doing and we don’t copy. We do something entirely different," Lal had said last week.

Meteor 350 is a strategic model that marks the beginning of RE 2.0 plan that entails new products and platforms replacing the old model range, addressing concerns around product quality and aftersales experience, penetrating deeper in the domestic and overseas markets and adopting digitization to build new customer experiences such as the newly launched mobile app where bikes can be configured.

Vinod Dasari, chief executive officer, Royal Enfield recently said the customers can choose from more than 500,000 permutations on the Meteor 350 alone.

Lal expects Meteor 350 to also pull up volumes in export markets. “It could be our mainstay product in several developing countries where it can be used as a capable entry-level cruiser for city rides," he said.

The company said it’s order book currently has over 125,000 bookings with a waiting period for adventure touring Himalayan as high as 5-7 months.

Eicher on Thursday posted a 40% YoY decline in its net profit at 343 crore for the September quarter. The revenue from operations for the last quarter slipped 3% YoY at 2,134 crore on account of lower motorcycle sales and muted demand for the commercial vehicles (CVs).

While Royal Enfield sold 149,120 motorcycles, down 9% YoY, the CV unit, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) sold 8167 units in Q2, down 28% YoY in Q2FY21.

The management expects the improving consumer sentiments and new launches to drive volumes for Royal Enfield as it looks to iron out the supply chain challenges in Q3. Meanwhile, it also has a positive outlook for CV volumes in H2FY21 on the back of pick up in economic activities including demand from niche segments such as construction, mining, agriculture and e-commerce.

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