Iconic motorbike maker Enfield eyes new markets to rev up growth

Thu May 28, 2015 2:20pm EDT
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By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Iconic motorbike maker Royal Enfield, owned by India's Eicher Motors (EICH.NS: Quote), is planning to push into Latin America and Southeast Asian markets to boost profits, CEO Siddhartha Lal told Reuters on Thursday.

The company, which makes the cult Bullet bike and is one of the world's oldest bike manufacturers, already exports its middleweight motorcycles to countries in these regions, but it now plans to boost local sales networks there and could even consider setting up production units in the future, said Lal.

"Whatever it takes, in our belief, to become successful in that market we will do," Lal told Reuters at the group's newly-opened retail store in New Delhi.

"We want to take a strategic approach which is not about shipping a few motorcycles from here. It is about being a significant player in that market," he said, without detailing how much the company will invest.

Royal Enfield plans to spend 5 billion rupees ($78 million) in 2015 on its global expansion, building two new technology centres, of which one is in Britain, and increasing its Indian production capacity by 50 percent to 450,000 vehicles.

The company last year started selling the motorbikes in Colombia, which Lal says could soon become its biggest market outside India, and it now plans to enter Indonesia and Thailand.

It is also looking at ways to enter Brazil, though high import duties mean it will need to look at setting up its own plant or partnering with a local manufacturer.

"Eventually, if we want to be a big player in Brazil it is   Continued...

Eicher Motors Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Siddhartha Lal (L) speaks as the President of Royal Enfield, Rudratej Singh (C), watches during the launch of their limited edition motorcycle at Royal Enfield's new flagship store in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi