Royal Enfield 500cc Bikes See Massive Drop In Sales — The 650 Twins’ Effect

Royal Enfield's 500cc motorcycles have seen a huge drop in terms of sales. The biggest blow has been dealt to the Classic 500 with sales dropping by 74.16 percent. The slowdown in the automotive sector as well as increased competition from other manufacturers and internal competition from the larger 650 twins are being seen as the cause for sales to drop.

Royal Enfield is one of the most favoured motorcycle manufacturers in the country and has been in the business of producing motorcycles for ages now. For decades, Royal Enfield's motorcycles were raw and basic and yet sold very well.

In 2018 though, Royal Enfield entered a new dimension with the launch of the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor 650, fondly called the 650 twins thanks to the few differences between them.

The 650 twins were launched at an extremely competitive price and were brilliantly engineered. Hence, we deduced that it would be segment disruptors and that it would cannibalise the 500cc motorcycles that RE sells.

Sales figures from the last few months prove that our deductions about the 650 twins were right. Sales of the entry-level bikes from Harley-Davidson and Triumph fell because the 650 twins offered similar performance and quality at less than 50 percent of the price.

Now, the sales figures from May 2019 when compared to that of May 2018 show that the cannibalisation of the 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycles too is taking place. In May 2018, Royal Enfield sold 383 units of the Thunderbird 500, 397 units of the Bullet 500 and 2,368 units of the Classic 500.

In May 2019, these figures have dropped drastically to just 133 units of the Thunderbird 500, 140 units of the Bullet 500 and 612 units of the Classic 500. This corresponds to 65.27 percent, 64.74 percent and 74.16 percent losses respectively for each brand.

Well, owing to the competitive prices of the 650 Twins, it was obvious that this would be the case. The 500cc motorcycles sold by Royal Enfield are bare basic motorcycles and it was only recently that RE added ABS as a feature thanks to the government mandate.

The motorcycles come with an old-school engine that produce lots of vibrations and noise, not a lot of power and use a clunky old 5-speed gearbox. The new 650cc twins on the other hand are smoother, more comfortable and refined and produce a lot more power. They feel great and are well-built.

Despite having so many advantages over the old 500s, the 650 twins are priced just around Rs 50,000 more. Hence, it is obvious that buyers would pay the little extra and go for the 650cc motorcycles instead of the 500s, and that is exactly what is happening.

Thoughts On Royal Enfield Classic 500, Thunderbird 500 & Bullet 500 Sales Down By Upto 75 Percent

Royal Enfield as a brand has registered low growth volumes as compared to the same period last year. This can be attributed to the slowdown in sales across the entire industry and also due to the sheer drop in the 500cc motorcycle sales, especially of the Classic 500.

The Thunderbird is due for a makeover and the new Thunderbird will be launched soon. However, it remains to be seen if Royal Enfield sees sense in continuing sales of the Thunderbird 500.

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Article Published On: Saturday, June 22, 2019, 15:21 [IST]
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