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Old 24th November 2015, 10:08   #1
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Default Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

Earlier this year, Royal Enfield set up a direct sales subsidiary in the US. The company has also revealed that it is planning to open it first branded retail store in the country. This store it expected to be operational in early 2016. What is significant is that it will be located in Milwaukee - the place where Harley-Davidson was founded and is headquartered.

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The retail store is expected to sell Royal Enfield's entire product line of motorcycles and gear. The company plans to open more retail stores in metropolitan areas in the US over the coming months.

Both Royal Enfield and Harley-Davidson are legendary manufacturers with large fan followings. Last year, Royal Enfield sold more motorcycles globally compared to Harley-Davidson. However, it must be noted that the Indian company's most expensive bikes are substantially less expensive than the cheapest Harley-Davidson offering.

Royal Enfield intends to become a major player in the 250cc-750cc motorcycle segment in the world. Last year, the company hired ex-Ducati designer Pierre Terblanche and earlier this year, it acquired Harris Performance UK. Royal Enfield will be aiming to enhance its design and engineering capabilities with these steps.

The company considers North America a priority market. Additionally, it has opened stores in Dubai, Paris, London and Madrid and appointed distributors in Spain, Germany and Australia. The company plans to open a retail store in Jakarta later this year.

Source: Financial Express
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Old 24th November 2015, 16:30   #2
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

Not only a dealership, but even Royal Enfield's USA headquarter is in Milwaukee. That's making quite a bold statement. Indeed, it's Harley's backyard.

Royal Enfield might just be onto something here. It keeps talking of the 'middle weight' category and there's surely a lot of potential there. With price & classic styling as the major factors, they can see some success abroad.

However, developed markets have their own expectations in terms of quality. Royal Enfield can't goof up. The early adopters will also be opinion makers, and if their bikes break down, the brand will be severely damaged.

Don't hurry, take small steps, but do it right.
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Old 24th November 2015, 17:24   #3
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So I know next to nothing about bikes other then I own a 1975 restored bullet and I have lived in the USA and I'm somewhat familiar with HD. One of their plant manager was a friend of mine. I visited his plant many times.

I don't see these two brands as competing for the same customers by a long shot. Also the cheapest real HD is already twice the price as a RE in the USA. HD quality isn't that great. Their shops are heavily unionised resulting in very limited room for quality improvement. If you find yourself unlucky you will have similar issues with your HD as your RE. Interestingly that doesn't seem to turn customers away. Bit like Alfa Romeo whose build quality and after sales service for many years was quite appalling. Still a very popular brand with many petrolhead a and I still own one too.
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Old 24th November 2015, 17:40   #4
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

It will also depend a lot on what engine RE offers.
I am not sure if RE has any well tested engine beyond their 535cc on the Continental GT.

One thing is for sure. The Americans are not going to like the 350's and the 500's cc engines. I once was having a talk with an American who owned a Kawi (he sold his HD for it). Casually asked me my ride and I told him about my Electra. His reaction was
He simply replied "My dirt bike has a 350 cc engine".
Those were the days when HD had just got the nod from the government for selling motorcycles with engines larger than 600 cc. (there was also a rumour of how the nod was agreed but that would be OT).

Me feels, most cruiser fanboys in the US will simply give it a pass as a joke just because of the size of their engines, unless they can come up with something at least 750 cc, and that too a reliable piece at that.

And lastly, should RE expect to sell in the US in decent numbers, they should be quick to learn from the customer feedback, which has been the sour point since inception now, so much to the extent that when I bought the RE 8 years back, I bought it assuming there will be oil leaks, few breakdowns etc.

HD has its own share of "dirty your own hands" thing but reliability is the only thing that will convince the HD buyer to look towards the RE. There are also other very reliable players like Triumph but they haven't yet managed to affect the HD sales much.
I think RE will have to first compete with the likes of Triumph. HD is a long way away.
"Delhi abhi door hai".

Last edited by vinit.merchant : 24th November 2015 at 17:52.
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Old 25th November 2015, 15:23   #5
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I don't see these two brands as competing for the same customers by a long shot. Also the cheapest real HD is already twice the price as a RE in the USA.
Nope. Harley has the Street line-up starting at $6,800. Enfield is talking about a price of $5,000 odd.

Quote:
If you find yourself unlucky you will have similar issues with your HD as your RE.
But the main difference being, Harley Davidson is an iconic homegrown brand for the Americans. Royal Enfield is a relative unknown, with none of that American heritage. People will tolerate problems with a Harley. They won't with a newbie.

Quote:
Interestingly that doesn't seem to turn customers away. Bit like Alfa Romeo whose build quality and after sales service for many years was quite appalling.
Very true. Closer home, the Mahindra Thar manages to pull it due to the Jeep heritage, styling & image. It sure has its share of niggles.

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Originally Posted by vinit.merchant View Post
I think RE will have to first compete with the likes of Triumph. HD is a long way away.
"Delhi abhi door hai".
Great post, thanks!
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Old 25th November 2015, 15:32   #6
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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But the main difference being, Harley Davidson is an iconic homegrown brand for the Americans. Royal Enfield is a relative unknown, with none of that American heritage. People will tolerate problems with a Harley. They won't with a newbie.
That is very true mate. Hoping against hope I was thinking if our fellow Indians residing in USA would take the plunge to buy a RE there. I mean I am just thinking out loud here, as what the HD is to the Americans is what the RE is to us Indians. If it comes true then RE for sure will have some numbers as there is a sizeable chunk of Indian population residing in the US. But as you rightly said it will be difficult as the cheapest Harley Davidson street series is just 1.8K dollars dearer than RE.

If Sid Lal is targeting the Indians living in the US then he should think about offering them an RE at a competitive price with top notch quality to match.
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Old 25th November 2015, 15:41   #7
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Default Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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Nope. Harley has the Street line-up starting at $6,800. Enfield is talking about a price of $5,000 odd.

!

I said real Harley. No proper HD fan would consider the street line a proper HD. You buy a Streetline in the US, you might as well put a sticker on your forehead proclaiming, "I'm to cheap/poor to buy a real HD".

That doesn't mean the Streetline might not sell in big numbers. Its just that those who consider them real HD fans, whatever that is, will always look down on these cheap bikes.

To go with my AlfaRomeo analogy. "Real" Alfisti and Spider owners were horrified when Alfa brought the then new front wheel driven Spider 916 to the market. At the time I was a board member of the Dutch Alfa Romeo Spider Register and we had members calling and mailing us about banning 916 Spider owners from joining the club. because a front wheel drive Spider can not be considered a real Spider. And to date, they still complain bitterly about it.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 25th November 2015 at 15:50.
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Old 25th November 2015, 16:39   #8
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

As an Indian, I appreciate the chutzpah demonstrated.

Ghar mein ghus kar maarna is a phrase I usually hear on India-Pakistan defence forums.

I wish Royal Enfield all the luck in the world in this new venture.
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Old 26th November 2015, 14:49   #9
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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Originally Posted by navin_v8 View Post
Hoping against hope I was thinking if our fellow Indians residing in USA would take the plunge to buy a RE there.
Some could, but Royal Enfield can't depend on a small minority for any noticeable share of sales.

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I said real Harley. No proper HD fan would consider the street line a proper HD.
Lets leave all this talk of 'real' and 'fake' off the forum. The fact is that the Street 750 is a Harley Davidson and is an important product for the company. What you posted earlier about 'not competing by a long shot' is simply incorrect because, if Royal Enfield comes at a price of $5,000+, there is definitely competition between the two.

Quote:
Harley-Davidson's (NYSE: HOG) new Street 500 and Street 750 bikes were the brightest spots in the motorcycle maker's fourth-quarter earnings report, recording a 20% sales gains for the division, more than double the growth of its touring bikes segment, and infinitely better than the custom division, which experienced a sharp decline in sales.
Harley on a roll with the 750

Quote:
That doesn't mean the Streetline might not sell in big numbers. Its just that those who consider them real HD fans, whatever that is, will always look down on these cheap bikes.
So what? I know a lot of people who look down upon all Harley-Davidsons. No one should buy a car / bike because others will look up / down on them.

Quote:
And to date, they still complain bitterly about it.
Purists will always whine - no one listens to them and no one should either. Remember how Porsche purists whined about the Cayenne? A car manufacturer is in the business of making money and if it makes business sense, they will do it.

Heck, purists should be happy that the volume products keeps the company they're fans of strong & viable. If it weren't for the Cayenne, Porsche would be dead. The Cayenne also indirectly led to a better 911 Turbo .
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Old 26th November 2015, 15:25   #10
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

Jay Leno had inerviewd an Indian origin guy who had designed a 1L twin cylinder royal enfield. I think this would be the perfect time for the RE to pickup their phones and start making a deal with that person. The video is still on youtube. I remember reading it on team bhp .
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Old 26th November 2015, 16:19   #11
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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Lets leave all this talk of 'real' and 'fake' off the forum.

I know a lot of people who look down upon all Harley-Davidsons. No one should buy a car / bike because others will look up / down on them.
.
Well, real or fake, or looking down or up, those are real buying criteria for some.

I have said it many times on this forum, just because some have different buying criteria from one-selve, doesn’t make his or her choice better or worse.

If you want to buy a certain bike, because it will make a colleague at work jealous, fine be me. You buy a Mercedes because the neighbours will look up to you, go right ahead. Your wife want to buy the latest Range Rover, because that’s what all the other mummies have for the schoolrun, I say go for it. You believe MPG is relevant, go get yourself the most fuel frugal car you can find.

What I don’t think we should do, is being dismissive about what other people like and why. As long as it doesn’t affect anybody else, have fun. After all, we are just discussing cars and bikes on this forum. Nothing serious, no harm done in what wheels you choose, for whatever reason takes your fancy.

I find the selection criteria of some people amusing, maybe remarkable. I think it’s good to understand what makes the world go round. Lots of different opinions!

I like RE as a company and I think they have done quite remarkable over the last years, so good luck to them with their State side adventure. HD is a remarkable brand though. For many owners and admirers, it stands for all that makes the USA the greatest nation in the world. This is where I usually got into an argument with my HD owner friends, as I don’t believe the USA is the greatest nation in the world by any stretch of the imagination.

Just shows how you can go from an innocent hobby, bikes, to something very serious, what constitutes a great nation in the space of one sentence? Maybe I’ll open a thread on that last question!

Jeroen
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Old 26th November 2015, 19:27   #12
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

This is definitely a smart move by RE and I think there is an opportunity waiting to be captured. I do not agree with posters here that RE would be competing with the likes of HD or portraying its Indian links.

RE's competition in its chosen niche of sub $6k motorbikes would be the Chinese/Korean players - Kymco, Hyosung, Qlink, maybe even Daelim, the usual Jap. bike makers Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki & niche American players like CCW & Vento. The now defunct Buell would have been competition too.

In this category, a heritage British vintage brand not only sits very well, but it possesses an exquisite DNA and appeal to the targeted customer base of predominantly city bikers making trips to the local cafes and the occasional hobby weekend rider who prefers the back roads over expressways.

Note that none of the usual Euro & British vintage brands currently operate in this category - Triumph, Norton, Moto Guzzi to name a few.

In fact there could be some cross-upgraders from the scooter category too if things work out favourably for RE.

RE already got a taste of what to expect with the unprecedented media response & generally favourable reviews of the Continental GT cafe racer in the American & British press a couple of years back.

So I say well played Mr Lal once again. As an Indian and a RE fan, I'm rooting for this venture to scale new heights.
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Old 27th November 2015, 15:09   #13
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I have said it many times on this forum, just because some have different buying criteria from one-selve, doesn’t make his or her choice better or worse.
Quote:
What I don’t think we should do, is being dismissive about what other people like and why. As long as it doesn’t affect anybody else, have fun.
Exactly, I'm glad you agree. There's no need to look down upon or dismiss the Street 750 as not being a 'real' Harley Davidson.

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Originally Posted by outofthebox View Post
I do not agree with posters here that RE would be competing with the likes of HD or portraying its Indian links.
Totally! Not saying they are with Harley entirely, however there will be some overlap with the Street 750.

Quote:
In this category, a heritage British vintage brand not only sits very well, but it possesses an exquisite DNA and appeal to the targeted customer base of predominantly city bikers making trips to the local cafes and the occasional hobby weekend rider who prefers the back roads over expressways.

Note that none of the usual Euro & British vintage brands currently operate in this category - Triumph, Norton, Moto Guzzi to name a few.
Good point! There's a marketing opportunity right there.

Royal Enfield can anyway afford to take risks in the USA market as its investment there is very little (bikes will be sourced from India).

They had better get the quality right though. Else, Royal Enfield will be seen just as we see cheap Chinese motorcycles.

Last edited by GTO : 27th November 2015 at 15:13.
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Old 27th November 2015, 20:05   #14
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Exactly, I'm glad you agree. There's no need to look down upon or dismiss the Street 750 as not being a 'real' Harley Davidson.

It's a bit more subtle than that. I don't think it is a proper HD, neither is the Alfa916 Spider a proper Spider or is the Jaguar x class a proper Jaguar.

No reason to look down or up on the owners, just a different opinion on what I expect from a HD, An Alfa or a Jaguar. If they don't meet my expectations I discount them as the real McCoy.

Jeroen
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Old 28th November 2015, 11:34   #15
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Default Re: Royal Enfield to open first USA store in Harley-Davidson's backyard, Milwaukee

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They had better get the quality right though. Else, Royal Enfield will be seen just as we see cheap Chinese motorcycles.
Yes that will be one of the issues to watch out for sure.

Although I suspect RE has been manufacturing to two differing standards of QC for some time - A few years back I test rode the export model of Classic 500 (the military green version) abroad.

I couldn't put my finger on it but the overall ride quality and the general fit & finish of the bike felt better to me compared to my Classic Chrome back home.

I don't know if it was just the general lack of third world grunge all around, quality of roads or the fuel but it sure felt very smooth & special.
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