-controlled niche bike brand Royal Enfield is doubling production of the 650 twins as its waiting period has shot up to six months.
Launched in November, Royal Enfield's debut in the 650cc category with the Interceptor and Continental GT has been received encouragingly by all the markets including India, a top company official said.
Delivery numbers of the two bikes have been on the lower side at below 500 units a month. Company officials said this was because the first deliveries were for dealership display and test ride purposes.
"From the current rate of around 2,500 a month we will double production of the 650 twins to 4,500-5,000 units a month by end of March," said Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Eicher Motors.
Even before the twins were launched in India, Royal Enfield had introduced them in the US and Europe. Exports to Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and other markets have already started, company officials said.
The gradual ramp-up in output in addition to simultaneous demand from overseas markets has pushed waiting period of the two bikes to six months. "If you were to walk into a dealership today and ask for either of the two 650s then it will be six months before you get the delivery of the bike depending on the colour and dealership chosen," added Lal.
More than 70 percent of Royal Enfield's sales come from the 350cc models dominated by the Classic range. Bigger capacity bikes have failed to register healthy numbers for Royal Enfield even forcing the company to phase out a product (Continental GT).
The company, however, believes this was due to not enough product differentiation between the 350cc and 500cc products especially in areas such as engine power. This led consumers to choose the comparatively cheaper 350cc over the 500cc variants.
"If you look at the way the 350cc and 500cc bikes of Royal Enfield were built there was not much of a difference between them. The power delivery, fit and finish were largely the same. That is why the customers did not feel the need to upgrade as it wasn't really an upgrade at all. But the 650s give the first real chance for the Royal Enfield customer to upgrade from the 350cc range," Lal added.
To keep pace with its product expansion, Royal Enfield is expanding its retail reach not just in India but also overseas. After adding 20 dealerships during the quarter ended December, Royal Enfield hopes to add another 20 dealerships during the current quarter taking the count to 900 by end of March.
Outside India, the brand has 40 standalone exclusive dealerships and more than 500 multi-brand dealerships.