The two-wheeler manufacturing numbers for the previous year are in and they bring good news for retro bike maker Royal Enfield owned by Eicher Motors. The Indian company has left the Japanese giant Yamaha behind and has gone on to claim the number five spot in bike manufacturing in the country’s market for the year 2018. Now as the Indian brand has cracked the top five club of two-wheeler market, four spots in the club are now occupied by homegrown bike makers of India.
Retro bike maker Royal Enfield’s sales numbers for the last year stood at 8,37,669 units, contrast this to the year 2017 and one finds that the local brand sold 7,52,880 units in the year 2017. With this the brand Royal Enfield has registered a year-on-year growth of nearly 11 percent which is pretty impressive in itself. However this does not mean that the brand’s golden run will remain unchallenged in India as Royal Enfield will see older rivalry renewed once again with the recently resurrected Jawa Motorcycles starting deliveries of their bikes in the Indian market.
Classic Legends owned Jawa Motorcycles is also a retro bike maker with a cult following in India. The brand was relaunched last year and came back to the market with two retro bike models for the local market -- Jawa or Jawa Classic and Jawa 42. Royal Enfield sold 65,026 units in November and after old rival Jawa announcing the launch of their two new bikes for Indian market, Royal Enfield could manage only 56,026 units in December. Although December is considered a slow sales month, still the sales figures posted by Royal Enfield for December are a lot lesser than the average monthly sales of the brand.
Coming back to Royal Enfield’s growth figures in the Indian market, the brand managed a year-on-year growth of 11 percent, whereas the brand it replaced for the fifth spot grew only at 1 percent, which is pretty low. Yamaha’s sales for the year 2018 was at 7,96,234 units, as compared to the sale of 7,86,787 units in 2017. The reason behind this slump in sales could be that Yamaha has nearly given up on the high volume 110-cc commuter bike segment and instead has now turned its attention to performance oriented bikes such as the FZ25, Yamaha YZF-R15 among others, although the brand still focuses on its scooter range in India.
What makes Royal Enfield’s success even more remarkable is that the brand has posted such impressive figures without having any product in the high volume commuter bike and scooter segment as the brand solely makes bikes in and above the 350cc segment. RE’s product range starts in the Rs. 1.2 lakh range while Yamaha’s products start from around the Rs. 50,000 mark and the Japanese brand also makes commuter segment models. Retro bike maker Royal Enfield is now at fifth spot of the Indian two-wheeler market and its market share is 3.9 percent and on the other hand Japanese brand Yamaha’s share stands at around 3.7 percent for year 2018.
Record high fuel prices and stricter insurance costs saw the two-wheeler industry facing a relatively tough year in 2018 as the model prices continued to soar. With the upcoming BNVSAP set to kick in from 1 April 2018, the prices are set to go even higher. However, India still remains a two-wheeler dominated market and this holds some hope for the makers.