Royal Enfield Makes ‘Big Push’ Into U.S.

Royal Enfield motorcycle (2)Royal Enfield North America is throttling up this year with the addition of ThunderRoad Financial as its retail financier and a quickly increasing dealer network.

Royal Enfield currently has 20 dealers in its network, and a goal to have 100 dealers by the end of the year. The Redditch, U.K.-based motorcycle manufacturer partnered with ThunderRoad to offer consumer financing options through its dealer network effective May 1, the company previously announced.

“We’re really excited about becoming a financing partner for Royal Enfield,” Donal Hummer Jr., ThunderRoad’s president and chief executive, told Powersports Finance. “I don’t think people realize that Royal Enfield is the oldest continuing manufacturer in the world. They are making a big push into the U.S., and we are really excited to be a part of it.”

Rod Copes, President, Royal Enfield

The Royal Enfield brand has roots dating back to 1901, when British arms maker Enfield branched out into motorcycles that were sold with the slogan, “Made Like a Gun.” The manufacturer returned to the U.S. market in August 2015, establishing headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis.

Powersports Finance spoke with Rod Copes, president of Royal Enfield North America and a former senior vice president of global sales and customer service at Harley Davidson, about the company’s initiatives going forward. Following are edited excerpts.

PF: Now that you have this consumer financing in place, what are your top priorities moving forward?

RC: Our top two focus areas are brand awareness. We have such a storied history that spans 100 years. Our motorcycles have affordable price points, classic styling, and we believe they are one-of-a-kind in the market. Brand awareness and marketing activities are first priority. Equal with that but our second priority is to continue to build and develop our dealer network in North America.

PF: Do you think dealers are more open to financing now that the economy is recovering?

RC: I think, in general, the consumers, as well as dealers, are feeling more comfortable with financing. You need both, and during the Great Recession — and the time after that — both sides were more conservative about providing loans. It seems to me the economy has stabilized and both sides are feeling more comfortable with retail financing.

PF: Will Royal Enfield participate in any special financing incentives or promotions this year?

RC: We’ll look at it as needed, but our plans at this point are to use retail financing as an option for customers to purchase a motorcycle at a dealership. We don’t see the need for promotions right away. We are excited to launch the brand with our new dealer network. We believe that all of those things at one point will be all we need to carry us, but we will continue to look at special programs and evaluate whether they make sense for our brand.

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