The Indian auto industry slowdown has hit Indian motorcycle brand Royal Enfield hard, with the company's sales volumes falling below the 50,000 units for the first time since May 2016, more than three years ago. The last time Royal Enfield sold below 50,000 motorcycles was in May 2016, when the company had despatched 47,232 units in the domestic market, and overall sales (including exports) being at 48,604 units. In July 2019, Royal Enfield despatched 49,182 units, a massive drop of 27 per cent over July 2018, when the company had despatched 67,001 motorcycles.
In the period from April to July, 2019, Royal Enfield's overall sales are down 19 per cent, while in the domestic market alone, sales have slipped 22 per cent from the same period a year ago. The only silver lining is that Royal Enfield's exports seem to have taken off with the company pushing aggressively at newer markets with its new 650 Twins - the Royal Enfield Interceptor and the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650.
Exports for July 2019 is at 5,003 units, a whopping 143 per cent growth from 2,062 units exported in July 2018. Cumulative sales in July 2019 is at 54,185 motorcycles, down 22 per cent from 69,063 units in July 2018. And exports in the April to July, 2019 period have grown 84 per cent, when the company despatched 14,162 motorcycles, up from 7,698 units in the same period a year ago.
Royal Enfield is currently working on upgrading its bestselling models with a new Royal Enfield Classic and Royal Enfield Thunderbird, which will meet the upcoming Bharat Stage VI (BS6) emission regulations. Apart from having new fuel-injected engines, the new models will get significant cosmetic upgrades, as well as a new chassis and possibly even a six-speed gearbox. With the upgrades, the new models will be expected to be expensive than the current models available on sale. The coming months will be crucial, as the festive season kicks in, as well as some pre-buying before the BS6 norms come into effect from April 1, 2020.