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Author Topic: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community  (Read 1236 times)

virginiamudbrick

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some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« on: July 08, 2013, 10:19:59 PM »
As an American, we are surrounded by companies, both import and domestic who have gone above and beyond to expand their network and grab their part of the niche market. Honda, BRP, Harley Davidson, Jeep, and several other manufacturers have cultivated that following because they are available. if you have an issue with these units, you call and they have a contact with the factory. even if you are the first one to ever notice/ experience a certain issue. The brand loyalty that royal Enfield could take especially in the mid-Atlantic area seems infinite. Some questions i have for royal Enfieldís American division are:

1. I understand royal Enfield has a relatively low export percentage, but where is the American support? The dealers seem to feel lost, there are no literature downloads and ebay can be barren for parts. is there no true "division" here with parts warehouses, technical lines and general dealer support.

2. To piggy back with number 1, where is the aftermarket? no cross referenced oil filters, cables and other things.

3. Has royal Enfield ever considered expanding this type of network or is it  "just the way it has always been." with the brand?

I donít mean to sound critical, however as a new owner i am very curious about these things.

REpozer

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 11:30:51 PM »
EBay has over 5800  hits for "Royal Enfield parts About 1200 hits for RE spares.

What was the question again?
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virginiamudbrick

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 12:30:43 AM »
I consider ebay a great resource for finding parts, however i had a very specific engine issue and my dealership had no one to call for advice and had no common wisdom of the problem. they made it seem like they were in the dark and there was no real network. Having worked in a dealership for other major international brands, i know how business can be conducted on the Dealer/customer support side. KTM is an example of a company who has made huge strides in the American market and has become a force to be reckoned with in the off road industry, simply by improving their parts supply to the U.S. My question is; does this exist for royal enfield in the united states?  If not, where is the breakdown between here and India.

Arizoni

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 12:39:07 AM »
Keven Mahoney, the owner of this site imports the Royal Enfield into the U.S.A.
He often joins us here on the forum so I'm sure your questions will be read by the "man at the top".

His companies include Nfieldgear which sells hundreds of items for both the old Iron Barrel, the AVL "Lean Burn" and the UCE models here in the U.S.A.

I can't speak for his plans for future changes or expansion but after reading many of his posts on this site I concluded he has our interests uppermost in his mind and he totally supports us.  In fact, his comments and commitment were major drivers in my decision to buy my Royal Enfield.

More than once when one of our members have had a problem in the U.S.A., I know he personally got involved and resolved the issue although he never acknowledged it to us.

I'm only speculating but the Royal Enfields are not the bike for everyone so it is not a big seller in this country.  They are great bikes for those with an appreciation for the classics and the slower times in the past but they will never appeal to the crotch rocket people who want a motorcycle with power beyond their abilities to control.

This makes it difficult to find dealers who are willing to invest in a product with a low turnover and minimal financial rewards.  Dealers who remember and love the days and bikes from the '50's are getting harder to find. :(
Jim
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virginiamudbrick

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 12:51:22 AM »
I think it is great to find a community dedicated to the brand. i just see a huge potential with the current graduate age subculture who have an appreciation for vintage. ( yes "Hipsters") these are the people who keep re manufacture companies alive cranking out CB350  and 750 parts...talk about seeing ebay light up! every other aspect of royal enfield seems to be a classic aesthetic with a modern approach, why keep the old school import motorcycle stigma alive?

barenekd

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 05:25:05 PM »
When you only import about 700 (Yes, 700) motorcycles in a year, you don't exactly have the means to do a lot of "communitying" or massive advertising!
You gotta realize how lucky you are just to be able to buy one of these very rare in the US motorcycles! Especially at the price they are asking! How much "community" do you think this will support?
Bare
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 05:28:22 PM by barenekd »
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D the D

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 07:38:03 PM »
I'm not sure Hipsters should be encouraged to buy Enfields.  Their sense of style is bad taste.   ::)
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GreenMachine

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 07:42:27 PM »
I pretty knew what I was getting into when I brought back in 06...With  my dealer long gone, It didn't take me long to realize that I needed the parts, snidal manual and a keen interest in this board.  .That stated, if Bares estimate is accurate (and I have no reason to disbelieve him), I think Kevin and the community has done a pretty good job at holding things together in good and bad times...The Bike isn't for everyone and as such it is highly suggested that the purveyor collect copious amounts of information before making a decision to purchase any of these fine machines...The subculture (is that what we are)is a bunch of cranky over the hill men (excluding Bare) ,  Can't leave shit alone motorheads, finicky anal retentive types and people who think tools are for playing (sometimes  to their detriment)..Sometimes it seems to gets stuck in the mud but normally it comes back to life with new blood in the mix.......Good people and lost of fun here..GM
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barenekd

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 05:31:50 PM »
Quote
The subculture (is that what we are)is a bunch of cranky over the hill men (excluding Bare)

Which part am I excluded from?
Quote
Can't leave shit alone motorheads, finicky anal retentive types and people who think tools are for playing (sometimes  to their detriment)

I thought this is what it as all about. Keep screwing with it until it doesn't work anymore!
Bare
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Kevin Mahoney

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 06:43:22 PM »
I am really sorry that your dealer didn't know who to go for to get help. I believe you but find it mystifying. We (myself included) answer questions technical and otherwise all day long from dealers and customers, mostly calling on my nickel using our 800 number which is published all over the place. 800-201-7472. There is no substitute for calling your dealer usually though.
The dealer network sometimes leaves something to be desired but this is not as easy as it looks from the outside for us or for the dealer. If I had a penny (not even a nickel) for everyone that told me they could sell thousands of these I could have retired by the time I was 50. The overall market share for "traditional" bikes (upright seating position etc. ) is only 2.5% of the overall "On-highway" market in the US.(This niche included the Bonneville) If you further subdivide that market down to 250cc-499cc it is infinitesimal. On the other hand we are the only company selling the type of bikes that we offer. The Bonnie is a nice bike but is a "retro" bike, while we are the real deal having almost never changed. URAL can probably say the same thing although they are much younger company and are in a totally different part of the market.

To give you an idea of the difficulties in upping market awareness for a national
product, an ad in Cycle World runs between $5,000 and $15,000 per issue. The next tier down is at least $2,500/month. One IMS show is in the neighborhood of $7,000-$10,000. In years where we done these things our sales have not been impacted AT ALL. Logic would tell you otherwise, but I have been doing this a long time. We are better off with local and regional promotions and the more dealer specific the better.

We have size limitations being a 499cc product, especially in the western markets. We can all dream about what could be but we have what we have.
 It takes a specific type of dealer to be successful with this product. This bike can only be sold where the dealer AND his/her staff are fired up about the product. There are many other bikes that are easier to sell than an RE. If they do not have passion and are not able to truly deliver customer service they will not survive. Most of the major brands expect to replace at least 20% of their dealers every year although it has been higher since the economy went south. Some estimate that 30% of the dealers in the country went out of business during this time.

Our best dealers do not have the words "no" or "can't" in their vocabulary. It is interesting to me that we rarely if ever get anything but good feedback about both the dealer and the product from this type of dealers customers. Other times we have issues with every customer or bike a dealer touches. It has always been like this. The former thrive as dealers and the latter languish or go out of business.

Our customers are interesting, they will come to the showroom well armed with information (more than the dealer has usually) and look and kick tyres for months sometimes. I recently heard from a customer who was looking for 7 years. We get many that walk in the door and walk out with an RE but on average that is not how the buying process goes for our brand. If you are a big-box store sometimes putting that much effort into a sale is not always appealing or it is not something a salesman understands. We need to have a product champion in every store that is going to be successful. There is no "spec" for a good dealer, I wish there was. It is totally dependent upon the dealer himself and not on what other brands they carry size etc. While it seems logical that young "hipsters" would be a great demographic it has not proven to be true. We are getting a somewhat younger crowd overall but not as young as you might think.

The Cafe Race will be a game changer for us though as we expect that to appeal to a much younger audience (on average).

There are a lot of parts available on EBay and from overseas but it is a buyer beware market for certain. There are thousands of products that "come from the same suppliers that RE uses" or come in RE packaging from India that are counterfeit. This may seem strange to us here but it is the truth. I have NEVER seen a filter, gasket, brake shoe etc. that "comes from an RE supplier" that is anywhere near as good. You don't see many cross references because most parts do not cross over to anything. The oil filters for example are sold by Purolator but not in the US. Same with cables. Try and find a Ducati air filter in Auto Zone. The market is far too small for someone like Parts Unlimited to get involved. Getting the "correct" parts is also not as easy as it might seem. Even with the older products there are many many nuances to the parts. RE does running changes and not model year changes. Some are well documented and some are not. We carry most every part you might need for your bike. If it is a pre-UCE bike we sell the parts direct. If it is a UCE bike they are sold through dealers but come from us. We do run out of things sometimes given our long supply lines, but we keep after it normally until we do get it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:13:16 PM by Kevin Mahoney »

GreenMachine

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 08:51:30 PM »
To give you an idea of the difficulties in upping market awareness for a national
product, an ad in Cycle World runs between $5,000 and $15,000 per issue. The next tier down is at least $2,500/month. One IMS show is in the neighborhood of $7,000-$10,000. In years where we done these things our sales have not been impacted AT ALL. Logic would tell you otherwise, but I have been doing this a long time. We are better off with local and regional promotions and the more dealer specific the better.


Kevin: Go figure. Just goes to show you that main stream advertising isn't always productive in terms of immediate sales..
...
Oh Magoo you done it again

ROVERMAN

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 04:08:36 PM »
Kevin, i believe you have it "in a nutshell". Excellent explanation of how the MC market works, thanks.
Robert & REnfield. 8) 8) 8)

virginiamudbrick

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 02:03:10 AM »
thank you for the wonderful replies on this thread. I apologize for my absence here and was stunned at the amount of relevent information you guys have sent my way. I presume that my take on the subject was naivety at its best. However in my little area (Between Richmond V.A. and D.C.) it is hard to ignore the amount of sheer intrest in which just my little bike generates in passing. In fact a coworker of mine almost bought a R.E. after seeing mine but chose a Harley at the last second. I believe in the brand and I and i cant, for the life of  me, leave well enough alone. . I am a gearhead I understand the point that standard mainstream marketing does not apply here, and had not taken that perspective into account. Maybe my way to do my part is ride to shows and other motorcycle community events, although this seems insignificant compared to some of the ideas i have tossed around in my brain. 

windhorserider

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2013, 03:01:15 AM »
Our customers are interesting
And that, Kevin, is why you import and we buy. If we wanted ordinary, we wouldn't be here.
Thank you.
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heloego

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Re: some questions about royal enfield as a brand community
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 10:38:31 PM »
+1 to all!
And thanks Kevin for the clear concise explanation.
I've been called a lot of things, but "interesting" hasn't been one of them.  ;)
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