Manufactured in Redditch, UK, the Bullet was the culmination of designs that date back to 1933. The classic 350 cc model made its debut at the Earl’s Court motor show in 1948 and was an immediate success. Its big brother, the 500 cc came along later, in 1953. In 1955, a satellite factory was established in Madras, India, to meet demands from the Indian Army. When the UK factory closed in 1970, the Madras plant continued production. In 1994, Enfield India was acquired by the large engineering group, Eicher, which has since made a number of improvements to the bike.
However, despite these, its distinctive appearance remains unchanged and provides an opportunity to enjoy the privilege of riding a “classic” reproduction bike. First World War (1911–1920) Inter-war years (1921–1939) Second World War (1939–1945)
1913 Enfield 425cc 1923 Royal Enfield 225cc 1941 Royal Enfield 250cc
Royal Enfield in Nepal
All the Royal Enfield motorcycle in Nepal is imported from India by Dugar Brothers and Sons. It is manufactured in Chennai, India and by 2013 its Pune branch will also start manufacturing and the facility will be of same capacity.
Currently 70,000 to 75,000 units of motorcycle are manufactured in a year. Dugar Brothers and Sons is the sole distributor of Royal Enfield in Nepal. It branches are in Kathmandu, Narayanghat, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Biratnagar. Among these branches Narayanghat and Biratnagar branch has the highest number of sales. It has many distributors spread around the nation. Among all the branches and distributor the most number of Royal Enfield motorcycle is sold by the dealer in Pokhara and dealer in Butwal’s sales volume is the second highest.
The highest number of sales is usually during festival season. Royal Enfield Bullet Electra/classic 350 cc are the two most selling brand here in Nepal and the same product of 500 cc is the second highest selling Royal Enfield bike.
Royal Enfield’s most popular brand of today is Bullet and it is often taken as synonymous to Royal Enfield. And this is the only bike in the 350 cc and 500 cc segment of bike here in Nepal. And thunderbird segment is least popular and not sold currently. Royal Enfield was first manufactured in England more than hundred years ago. It has a long legacy and a war history as this motorcycle was used in both first and second world war. It has always been perceived as a quality product and it has been able to retain the same perception even after a century and it has been able to position itself as a Luxurious, Premium and a quality product. Royal Enfield’s target customers for Nepal are upper middle and upper class segment. It faces competition from new brands like KTM Duke, VR and others sports bikes. But it has its own set of loyal customer and these competitors are of very little threat to them as the model and performance both vary largely from other bikes. It is a premium brand and its part and maintenance cost is high as well and it even consumes more fuel as its millage is about 20-25 Km per liter of petrol and petrol in Nepal is expensive too. It is a luxurious item for Nepalese people and hardly used by a middle class commuters.
There is no age limit for the product like Royal Enfield Motorcycle as people from teen to older generation of 45 and above still have the love for the bike. Customers of this bike can be adventure rider, traveler, once that have the love for classic things or admirer of a legacy it carries. Royal Enfield has become very popular among the youngsters of Nepal. They seem to prefer this brand among other. Although it does not have a proper showroom in city area where most bike showrooms are located instead it has only one show room inside the industrial state of Kathmandu but still it has been selling the same unit of bike as it used to when it had its showroom in New Baneshwor as well. Its market share is only about 1% of total market share in the two wheeler segment. People buying Bullet usually find the place to buy the bike as it is a premium product here in Nepal and people generally come prepared through research in internet visiting www.royalenfield.com of India and as same bikes are imported and sold here in Nepal adequate information can be gathered from there and they find the place to buy the bike through friends and relatives or from NTC call centre which will provide the phone number of the distribution centre on demand.
The point of difference for the Royal Enfield with other two wheeler motorcycle is its physical strength, quality assurance, retro look and traditional system still incorporated and above all it is the oldest two wheeler company. The price of the motorcycle is not over charged as well for the segment of the bike it lies in. Royal Enfield has not changed with advancement of the technology. This bike is still very similar to the bike that was produces decades ago. But this is what customer mostly like about the brand and it even has even advertised its classic chrome saying “old school magic, recreated” and this brand has really done well in the market in terms of sales. Nut there is still that segment in the market that would like to own a Royal Enfield but want it with a change and new technology incorporated; keeping this in mind Royal Enfield has come up with a Thunder Bird 500 cc with led light, double disk brakes and other various changes which will soon enter the Nepali market as well. There are various clubs like Nasa Bullet Club (managed by distributor themselves), Himalayan Enfield and Sector Summit in Nepal that unites Royal Enfield owners and organizes tours and rally.
These rally and tour are also a source of promotion and it has been able to lure more customers to the showroom. People like to get associated in such events and to do so they even buy the motorcycle. When other clubs organize such events the distributors mostly participate through sponsorship. They participate in different auto show like NADA Auto Show. They publish print advertisement in popular national daily newspaper every fortnight and even influence some magazines to cover a story of the Royal Enfield. They do not do television commercials but appear in programs like Wheel Factor in news 24 where over all description of the motorcycle is given. The main reason for the company not being able to tap all the potential market is its age old technology which requires special knowledge for the maintenance of the Motorcycle.
Customers have different types of problem and most number of customer complain is about the limited number of service centre which makes it very difficult for customer to have their motorcycle repaired and moreover private workshop owner are not capable to repair the bike as it has a very complex engine, and its engineering is also very different from other motorcycles of today which make it very difficult for every motorcycle mechanic to have idea to repair the motorcycle so customers had suggested them to have service centers in different location rather than having a single service centre. Keeping this in mind the Dugar Brother and Sons even had a workshop and training program for the existing workshop owner and the interested new people who want to open a motorcycle workshop. The training was for free and it had a good number of enthusiasts joining the program.
Customer’s attitude towards Royal Enfield
I had interviewed few Royal Enfield owners and there was mixed comments on the motorcycle. Pride, power and superiority was something that everyone pointed out. They were satisfied with the functionality aspect of the bike and loved the sound emitted by the bike. On asking what made them buy the bike I found out that it was the retro look of the bike, the sound it emits, the powerful engine and the pride that comes with the bike. they even shared their experience they had joining different tours from Royal Enfield owners club, they found such tours very interesting and exciting as they would mostly travelling in a group and in the rest point they would have various activities for entertainment and they could socialize with the likeminded people on the tour as well. Riding Royal Enfield gives them a certain level of satisfaction, joy, pride, excitement and confidence. They said it was very comfortable on a highway; bike really gets lighter as you race it and even turning will be easy. The main problem that everyone indicated was the limited number of service centers and workshops.
People have faced many problem due to unavailability of service centers that could fix the Royal Enfield bike and due to the complex nature of bike every mechanic cannot repair and maintain the bike thus the owners really gets in trouble when there is problem in the bike as they have to take the bike to some limited number of service center of Royal Enfield. They said it would be better if the bike adopts some new technology like led headlights, fuel indicators, tubeless wheel etc but without changing the appearance, as it has already introduced self start on the bike and is of huge success. Another well recognized problem was the high maintenance cost and expensive parts of the Royal Enfield. Where normal bikes that run in the street of Kathmandu run on an average of 1 liter engine oil it needs 2.5 liters which makes the regular maintenance cost double the cost of normal bike. Moreover the costly part that is not readily available and takes long lead time for arrival and the labor cost associated with it is also higher making it more expensive to keep and maintain. It is because of this reasons people despite their outmost love for the bike had to sell their beloved possession, and some don’t even buy the product when they know all these about the product.
Positioning of Royal Enfield as a brand
Royal Enfield has positioned itself as a premium brand in Nepal and targeted upper middle and above class of people but it is actually for middle class people in India. It is perceived as a quality product. Although it is made in India people because of the age old legacy it carries people are confident on its performance and quality. It is targeted for travel enthusiasts and adventure riders more than for daily commuters. Although its price with reference to its engine cc is not that high its spare parts and maintenance cost is definitely high which makes it more attractive to the upper middle and above class of people. It spends very less in advertisement and promotion, still people find their ways to learn about the bike and buy it even if they have to search for the vendor. People find pride in owning the bike. There are different clubs started by the authorized dealer and likeminded people who love to ride and own the bike.
Aaker’s Brand Personality Scale
A sample size of 16 responded were asked to fill the questionnaire, which included the five major factors (i.e. sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness) with their underlining facets as suggested by the Aaker’s model. Respondents were asked to rate how descriptive each
personality trait was for Royal Enfield on a 7 point scale (1being extremely not descriptive & 7 being extremely descriptive). The summary of the result is shown below
Factors| Ratings |
From the obtained result we can say that Royal Enfield as a brand has received high scores on all except the sophistication. The reason behind the brand to score low point in the sophistication factor might be because the customers are actually looking for the age old traditional antic bike which has very less modification to its original design thus making it less sophisticated and people like it that way.
Here in the research I have used a comparison task to uncover the true feelings of the respondent about the brand. The respondents were asked to compare Royal Enfield with animal, activity, car, music, perfume, profession, sports, emotion and fabric and provide reason for their selection as well.
Royal Enfield and animal
Most of the respondent has compared the Royal Enfield with animals like Lion, Tiger, Rhinoceros, Giraffe and Dog. The highest number of respondent however has compared the brand with Lion because of its appearance, its power and king’s status in jungle and the roar which is comparable with the sound emitted by the bike. It is compared with tiger looking at its strength and toughness. Rhinoceros was mostly selected for classic and huge body of the bike. One respondent has even compared the bike with dog keeping the sound in mind he has compared it with the dogs barking.
Royal Enfield and car
Royal Enfield has been compared with different cars. The highest number of respondent has compared Royal Enfield with beetle because of its classic look. The respondents have a feeling that Royal Enfield is classy and are totally different from other bikes. Similarly, it has been compared with several other cars like Hummer, Ferrari, and BMW because of its sound and advanced technology.
Royal Enfield and occupation
All the respondents have come up with an individual occupation. Fashion Stylist as an occupation is somewhat mentioned by most of them. Royal Enfield however is compared to Fashion icon because of its classy, antique look and because of its individuality. Moreover, Royal Enfield is also compared to the job of Army, engineer, drilling mining because of the effort and power it possess.
Royal Enfield and Sport
The highest number of respondents has compared Royal Enfield to Football because of the enthusiasm and excitement it possesses while playing it. Moreover, Golf is the next highest sports that have been compared to Royal Enfield because of its nature. The respondents has revealed that playing golf shows your standard similarly riding Royal Enfield shows your Status and shows your living standard. Royal Enfield has been somewhat been compared to bike racing, ping pong, rugby, swimming, Marathon and Baseball.
Royal Enfield and TV Show
The highest respondents compared Royal Enfield to a TV show” FRIENDS” and “ How I Met Your Mother”, which has revealed some different opinion towards Royal Enfield, which says that these shows makes you feel so attached to each other and so delighted everytime you watch it, likewise riding Enfield gives you the same feeling of delightness and attachment .One of the respondent has compared Enfield to a show ‘ Mind Your Language’ where the show makes you laugh loud and this laughter has been compared to the sound that Enfield emits. Similarly, Enfield has also been compared to a show like ‘Kofee with Karan’ where I see no relevance . Moreover other shows like Larry King Show, X-factor, Pimp my ride has been compared to the Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield and Perfume
Most of the respondents have compared Enfield to ‘GUCCI’ because of its unique fragrance and its brand which depicts that Enfield has its own uniqueness in every other way. Moreover, Enfield has also been compared to AXE because of its strong attachment. Enfield has also been compared to other Perfumes like VERSACE, Channel, Playboy, Hugo Boss, Brut, Euphoria because of its masculinity.
Royal Enfield and Fabric
Some of the respondents have mentioned silk because of its softness and smoothness and some have compared Enfield with RUG which depicts its roughness meaning the bike is rough and tough. Some other respondents have mentioned that Enfield should be compared to such a fabric which shows its masculine power being very tough one. Some have compared Enfield with leather jackets and some have compared it with Wool and Raymond.
Royal Enfield and Emotion
The highest number of respondent has compared Enfield with happiness which reveals the fact that riding Enfield makes you feel happy and pleasant. Most of the respondent also has compared Enfield with aggression and violence as the bike itself shows the attitude and the aggression.
In a nutshell, Royal Enfield is viewed as a tough bike with the class of its own having features totally different from other bikes. Many respondents seemed to like Enfield because of its classy look, because of the sound it produces, its individuality and the attitude it possess. Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET)
ZMET is used to have an understanding of how brand is perceived by the customers. The study is conducted with 5 participants who were shown the collage of pictures related to the brand and asked to follow the following steps to bring out their true feelings about the brand. Step 1: The participants were asked to describe the content of the pictures. Step 2:The Participants were then asked to describe the pictures that they thought would be appropriate and asked to explain its relevance. Step 3:The Participants were then asked to sort the images into three meaningful groups and provide a label or description for each group. Step 4: The respondents were then asked to indicate the most representative picture among the 12 pictures. Step 5: The respondents were then asked to indicate the picture that signifies the opposite of the brand.
Step 6: The participants were then asked to indicate what does or doesn’t describe the Royal Enfield in terms of color, emotion, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Step 7: Participants were then asked to create a mental map using constructs and relationships. Step 8: Participants were then asked to create a summary image with a final story. After collecting the responses I found out that people related these pictures do reflect the image of Royal Enfield. They found pictures to be rough and tough, cool, showed some attitude, bad boys, junky, biker, loud, stylish, masculine, strength, classy and legendary. Most of the respondents felt that had I included something related with the bike tours and antique bikes as this brand is closely related with bike tours and carries age old history with it.
Most of the respondent arranged pictures like bike and its parts in one group and labeled it like cool bikes, antique pieces, old school etc. pictures of bull skull, sword, key rings etc were mostly placed in different group and labeled as bad boys toys, strength and masculine, classy and dangerous. Pictures of jacket, shoes, gloves etc were grouped in one group and labeled as harness, protection, save with speed. Most of the respondent did not find the picture of helmet and leg guard to be related as they felt it off the beat whereas they felt jacket, flag and antique bike to be most related with the bike. On asking the participant to construct a mental map they made up a story using these pictures and made a story full of actions and adventure, some were a lead character in the story and some were just a spectator.
Fournier Brand Typology
Fournier has indentified fifteen different types of relation a customer can have with a particular brand. Among these fifteen my relationship with Royal Enfield would be Committed Partnership. I wanted to own Royal Enfield bike since very long. I love the sound that the bike emits, its appearance and except for the complex engine structure that needs specially trained mechanic to fix it I love everything about the bike. Even though the bike makes loud sound it is not disregarded in the society and moreover the sound is high only when the bike is started and as it starts to run it gets smoother and emits lower sound. With the century long legacy and a history that beats all the two wheelers of the world trust over bike is definitely high. Its performance on both off road and black top road is very good and could be trusted to function very well even in adverse situation like low temperature. It gives a different feel when I ride it, I feel like I rule the street itself.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Royal Enfield as a brand has still not lost its charm among the youngsters even after a century of its operation. It has tried to position itself as a bike for a bike lover, a premium brand and a quality product. It has targeted the upper middle class and above class of people, but there is no as such age bracket of people that are targeted as people of different age from teen to old tend to like the bike. It has captured a large share of bike market in the upper middle and above class segment. It follows a differentiation strategy and focuses itself to the specific target market only. The bike is a sole player in the 350 cc and 500cc segment of bike in Nepal. Its age old legacy has been able to attract a good pool of enthusiast to its show room although its presence in the market is not that visible. People generally investigate well ahead and make contact to the showroom via various sources like from NTC call centre, asking people who own the bike etc. People also perceive it to be a premium brand. People mostly associate it with long tour, loudness, biker, bad boys, adventures and masculinity.
It still has the power to stand out from the crowd of bike. People like the classic look and features that the bike offers but some small changes like led headlights, disk brakes etc are suggested by the customer, but largely it is preferred in its original state. Various programs like bike tour and different events are organized by the different clubs like Himalayan Enfield which enhances the brand value and keeps the charm for the bike alive. The engine of the bike is very complicated and cannot be fixed by all the mechanics of Nepal and it has very limited number of workshops and service centre that provide the facility, thus customer get into trouble every now and then when they find they need to fix a problem in their bike.
Keeping this into mind the company has now started training the local workshop owner to make them capable of working on Royal Enfield and fix the problem. Royal Enfield as a brand is positioned very well. They have targeted the right segment of people. But they are not being able to provide good service after sales. With all the huge investment made on the bike people want it to be in condition and find a feasible location for maintenance. But there are very limited numbers of service centre that can repair and maintain the bike.
Moreover the spare parts are not readily available and customer has to wait for week or more for the parts to arrive from India. This has certainly hampered the brand equity. The technology like LED headlights and disk brakes are in huge demand after it started producing the bike with self start and shifted gear in the left side. But bringing in these changes should not affect its original look as people have special love for the appearance itself. Thus the company should look into these aspects to enhance the brand image.