Royal Enfield Sets Up Shop In Harley-Davidson’s Hometown
Last year, Royal Enfield Motorcycles hunkered down in Milwaukee with its first North American flagship dealership, and for the time being Harley isn’t losing any sleep over it. At least not yet, since Harley and Royal Enfield make different types of motorcycles for mostly different markets. However, if Royal Enfield’s US sales aspirations are achieved, that could mean nabbing a piece of the Harley demographic. At present, Royal Enfield aims to bolster sales via 60 domestic dealerships and several new models. As Harley is gunning for a younger millennial demographic in hopes of establishing some life-long customers, largely as a result of brand loyalty, the cruiser powerhouse may have an uphill fight ahead of them.
With a lineup that includes multiple bonafide entry level machines, Royal Enfield already has a leg up on Harley in one aspect. Despite their massive global presence overseas, Enfield has yet to establish itself as a formidable force in the US. President of Royal Enfield North America, Rod Copes, who was previously an executive at Harley-Davidson, explained part of the strategy.
“Phase two, which we will hit next year, is really about introducing new products.”
Though there are some blatant differences between Harley and Enfield – engine size, engine type, bike type, a wildly different price-point, etc. – the two manufacturers do share several significant traits. Both churn out modern scoots that are heavily based on classic models from yesterday that boast an old school simplicity and vintage aesthetics. Both companies also started within just a couple of years of each other over a century ago too. Similar to how Harley is revered in the US, Royal Enfield enjoys that same status in India, and the same way Harley sells a ridiculous amount of units in its native land, Enfield does too.
Royal Enfield is far from an immediate threat to Harley-Davidson, but they shouldn’t be discounted out of hand. Back in India, Enfield sells hundreds-of-thousands of bikes per year, demonstrating that the company has the organization and know-how to set-up competent and effective dealer-networks. Here in the States though, they’re largely unknown. This could mean Enfield struggles as a result of marketing to an objectively smaller market, North America, in which high-volume low profit sales isn’t a strategy often employed….