Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Royal Enfield/Indian saga adds a new twist
Readers of this blog know, but between 1955-60 Royal Enfield motorcycles were sold in the US with the brand name Indian, after the Springfield, MA manufacturer closed its plant and stopped domestic production. After 1960 other bikes were sold under the Indian name but with the death of Floyd Clymer in 1970, the Indian brand became dormant. There were a couple of attempts of revival that were largely unsuccessful. Now the brand has been bought by Polaris Industries, makers of the Victory line of motorcycles. This attempt at revival appears serious. An entirely new engine has been developed and the bikes are announced as coming soon. Now Polaris is mulling a new alliance with Eicher, Royal Enfield's parent company to produce motorcycles. They already have a joint venture to produce light vehicles, and in a further twist of the Enfield/Indian saga, they are operating it in the old Royal Enfield factory in Jaipur. If the new venture takes place, Indian motorcycles are going to be sold in India, produced in the old Royal Enfield factory! It would be an immense boost to Royal Enfield if they could use the vast network of Polaris dealerships to sell in the US. I hope this also improves the attitude of the Indian Owners Club in the US, which explicitly excludes the Enfield made Indians. Both Enfield and Indian started producing bikes in 1901.