Arun Sudhaman 04 Oct 2012 // 11:00PM GMT
NEW DELHI--Iconic motorcycle maker Royal Enfield is working with UK firm Unity on a project to shift global perceptions of the venerable brand.
The company, which now produces its motorbikes in the Indian city of Chennai, is aiming to appeal to a younger, international audience, rather than focusing specifically on traditional motorbike enthusiasts.
Founded in England in 1893, Royal Enfield is the world’s oldest motorcycle brand. The UK operation shut down in 1971, leaving an Indian-headquartered company that continues to produce the iconic Enfield Bullet.
Outside India, said Unity communications director Andrew Ferguson, Royal Enfield wants “a more global outlook”, with a particular focus on appealing to younger people.
To do this, said Ferguson, Unity has produced a brand film and exhibition presence for key international bike shows in Europe and North America.
The theme, continued Ferguson, is to tie Royal Enfield more closely to the culture of motorcycling, “like the culture of skateboarding or surfing.”
“They don’t want to alienate the core customer,” said Ferguson. “Everybody kind of wants a motorbike. And you don’t need to commit to leathers or hi-viz culture anymore. It can easily be about Vans and chinos if you want it to be.”
Now owned by Eicher Motors, Royal Enfield sales in India have recovered since 2000, when the company modernised its brand and successfully ushered in an ambitious turnaround programme. International sales have also risen, and currently account for around six percent of total revenues.