A LiveMint report suggests that Royal Enfield may stop selling its 500 cc bikes in India namely the Bullet 500, Classic 500 and the Thunderbird 500. The reason behind this could be the low sales and the high cost of upgrading these bikes to BS6 standards. Upgrading such a range to BS6 may not exactly be viable for the company. Instead, Royal Enfield will be focussing on its new and updated range of 350 cc motorcycles in India. These models have already been spotted testing in India and the powertrain they will be using has been extensively revamped.
The most obvious changes in the new Classic 350 is the inclusion of a new catalytic converter right next to the engine, and oxygen sensors on the top of the exhaust bend pipe. The new generation Royal Enfield Classic 350 will almost certainly be a fuel-injected model to meet the new emission regulations which come into force from April 1, 2020.
"The push rod architecture of the existing 350cc and 500cc engines do not meet the stringent emission norms. As a result, the existing model line-up will be phased out." Royal Enfield plans to restore the 350cc segment with an all-new powertrain as that accounts for the bulk of sales. Meanwhile, it would quit the 500cc displacement," said sources of LiveMint at the company.
Data from Society Of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) shows that domestic sales of 500 cc bikes grew from 12,216 units in FY13 to 36,093 units in FY19, which is a three-fold growth. In case of 350 cc bikes, Royal Enfield sold 108,478 units in FY13 and the number increased to 764,012 units in FY19, which is almost a seven-fold growth.
The idea of introducing 650 cc bikes was to encourage 500 cc loyalists to upgrade and allow Royal Enfield to drive deep into other markets and firmly establish RE as a strong contender globally in the 350 -650 cc segment as well.
We have reached out to Royal Enfield and will update the story with a comment from the company as soon as we get one.