Monday, June 25, 2012

Motorcycle market in India heating up: how will Enfield fare?

This blog does not indulge frequently in wild speculation, so let's try to compensate a bit here. As has been widely reported, several companies are angling for the potentially lucrative motorcycle market in India. This is not new, there have been many different bikes on offer since many years ago, and Enfield has really occupied more of a niche market. But now Enfield is expanding and it is interesting to ponder what the competition will mean. Let us examine the various players one by one:

Harley Davidson, started selling imported bikes in India and is planning a local factory. This may detract a bit from the Enfield market. Right now Harleys are selling for 400,000 to 1.4 Million Rupees. When they have the local factory, which will produce the 800cc Sportster, one can expect the price to fall. It is difficult to guess how much. They currently pay 60% import taxes, but how much will it cost to produce the bikes in India? Since they will be assembled from complete knockdown kits, we can assume it will not be much cheaper than in the US. So say, a Sportster sells for 140,000 Rupees. That could become more serious competition for Enfields, which sell for 80,000 Rupees for the 350 model and 120,000 for the C5. No doubt there will always be Enfield fans, but we are trying to discuss how to expand in a market, which cannot be done only with fans but with people who comparison-shop.

Suzuki is bringing the baby version of the "naked Hayabusa" B-King. This is a parallel twin 250cc superbike-looking machine. They are talking of a price of 150,000 Rupees. This bike is very different than an Enfield in engine performance and looks, so I doubt this will represent serious competition.

Ducati is selling its bikes in India. Prices for the Monster are 700,000 Rupees and the Diavel sells for 1.7-2.2 million Rupees. These are clearly luxury items, and the importer is the same that brings Porsche, Maserati and Ferrari to India. So this will only appeal to a very small niche.

Triumph is also coming to India. Details are still sketchy, but they are preparing a new model, the "Street Single" which will be a 350cc four stroke single. Depending on pricing, that could be a threat to Enfield.

Finally, Enfield itself is preparing larger bikes, apparently a parallel twin and a multifuel model. It would be great to be a fly to peep into the discussions that must be taking place at headquarters at Thiruvottiyur about all this!


  1. Comparison shoppers consider not only price, but warranty, service, parts availability, familiarity, word-of-mouth and reputation. They may choose based on how close the dealer is or whether he is a relative or a friend. It starts with price and then it gets complex. But, in my experience, at least in the U.S., many "comparison shoppers" are lying to themselves, gathering data to support a fundamentally emotional decision: "I WANT it! And, besides, it gets the best gas mileage..."

  2. My one of favourite. That could become more serious competition for Enfields, which sell for 80,000 Rupees for the 350 model and 120,000 for the C5.



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