Whether your a fan of retro-tastically styled pseudo-British motorcycles or not, Royal Enfield is the plucky underdog of the two-wheeled world that you just love to love. After
years decades of building torquey, single-cylinder engines with an old-school vibe and ultra-modern fuel efficiency ratings (often more than 80 MPG), Royal Enfield started to get serious with the introduction of the Rocker-inspired Continental GT a few years ago. Now, the company just announced its biggest step towards serious motorcycle contender-ship, yet: Royal Enfield is taking over US distribution.
See, Royal Enfield hasn’t really had much of a presence in the US. As such, the company was largely represented, stateside, by Kevin Mahoney, the CEO of “Classic Motors” who began importing Enfields into the US as a labor of love back in 1999.
For his part, Mahoney is stepping away from the project with high praise for his efforts. Efforts which grew the brand, restored Royal Enfield’s position as a global bike-maker, and which, now, will see the bikes get a real marketing push with the full might of RE’s Indian parent company behind it. “I have enjoyed every minute of being in the industry,” explains Mahoney. “The people I have laughed with, complained with, and generally loved the industry itself, have made this the best business adventure of my entrepreneurial career. Not the best money maker, but the most fun for certain.”
The newly-formed “Royal Enfield North America” will be headed by industry veteran Rod Copes, who helped to revive the then-struggling Harley-Davidson brand back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Copes says he initially plans to work to grow existing Royal Enfield dealers before pushing for expansion. “Our plan is to be in the same range (of 80-100 dealerss). It’s not like we’re immediately going to grow the number of dealers from where we’re at. We need to look at the geographic distribution of the network to make sure we’re located in the right motorcycle cities and markets.”
Here’s hoping Copes and Co. have good luck, and that we get to see some new, really traditional, hand-made, and high-MPG motorcycles from RE hit US shores sooner rather than later!