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Royal Enfield’s Rumored New-Gen Bullet 350, Engine, Price, and Performance Unveiled; Can Bajaj-Triumph and Hero-Harley Challenge Royal Enfield’s Supremacy?

The Bullet 350, among Royal Enfield‘s 350 cc motorcycles, stands as the last model on the older platform and powertrain. However, recent reports indicate the company’s plans to breathe new life into this classic ride.

The anticipated event, scheduled for late August to early September, has ignited speculation about the unveiling of the new-gen Bullet 350.
While the company has not officially confirmed the model, hints from the teaser point strongly towards a refreshed Bullet 350.

The teaser prominently showcases an older version of the Royal Enfield logo, accentuating the motorcycle’s retro charm. Likewise, the teaser captures the distinct thumping sound of the exhaust on idle, signalling that the new-gen Bullet 350 will maintain its iconic acoustic allure.

The current Bullet 350 houses a 346 cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine, generating 19.36 PS of power and 28 Nm of torque. In contrast, newer models like the Classic 350, Hunter 350, and Meteor 350 boast the more powerful J-series 349 cc engine, delivering 20.21 PS of maximum power and 27 Nm of peak torque. The upcoming Bullet 350 will likely adopt this advanced powertrain, coupled with a reliable 5-speed transmission.

Royal Enfield

In terms of positioning within Royal Enfield’s portfolio, the 2023 Bullet 350 is expected to slot above the entry-level Hunter 350 but below the Classic 350.
Presently, the Hunter 350 is priced at Rs 1.5 lakh, while the Classic 350 starts at Rs 1.93 lakh. Enthusiasts can anticipate an estimated base price of Rs 1.7 lakh for the new-gen Bullet 350, making it an attractive option in the mid-tier segment.

Can Bajaj-Triumph and Hero-Harley Challenge Royal Enfield’s Supremacy?

India’s youthful population, comprising over 55% of the nation’s inhabitants aged 25-35, has set the stage for a burgeoning demand for premium bikes. This aspirational mindset, coupled with a penchant for superior biking experiences, has fueled the rise of premium motorcycle sales in urban and semi-urban markets, surpassing budget motorcycle sales in recent years.
While the Covid-19 pandemic initially impacted the market, urban areas have rebounded swiftly, though rural areas are on a slower path to recovery.

Urban consumers have displayed a newfound affinity for motorcycles with larger engine capacities, signalling a shift in their preferences. Despite the overall growth in the motorcycle market, domestic motorcycle sales remain at a nine-year low.
However, the segment of motorcycles with engine capacities above 250 has witnessed significant growth, climbing from 6% market share in FY22 to nearly 8% in FY23 – a remarkable jump from its 2% share in FY14.

The current premium bike market is overwhelmingly dominated by Eicher Motors’ Royal Enfield, enjoying a stranglehold of over 90% market share in the >250cc engine segment. Royal Enfield’s strategic focus on higher engine capacity bikes, such as the Classic 350cc and Bullet 350cc models, has cemented its position as a formidable brand in the premium motorcycle segments.

Royal Enfield’s Expanding Portfolio
Over the years, Royal Enfield has expanded its product portfolio in the >350cc segment, launching successful models like the “Continental GT,” “Himalayan,” “650 Twins,” and “Meteor 350.” These offerings have garnered immense popularity among bike enthusiasts, further consolidating Royal Enfield’s status in the market.
While competitors concentrated on budget motorcycles, Royal Enfield’s astute approach to higher engine capacity bikes enabled a gradual expansion of its market share.

Impressive Sales Performance
Prior to facing challenges posed by external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain constraints in FY20, FY21, and FY22, Royal Enfield witnessed robust volume growth, boasting a 41% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between CY-2010 and FY-2018, according to regulatory filings.

In FY23, the company achieved its highest-ever overall sales in history, selling 8,34,895 units, marking a 39% increase over the previous year. The domestic market also witnessed remarkable growth, with Royal Enfield registering sales of 7,34,840 motorcycles, a 41% rise compared to the previous financial year.
During the first quarter of FY24, Royal Enfield’s domestic sales surged by 22%, reaching 2,27,706 units compared to 1,87,205 units in the same period last year.

The Road Ahead
With the expansion of the middle-class and high-income segments projected to drive incremental consumption of $4 trillion by 2030, according to analysts, the premium bike market stands to benefit significantly from this opportunity.

As Bajaj-Triumph and Hero-Harley seek to challenge Royal Enfield’s dominance, the stage is set for an epic clash of titans in the premium motorcycle arena.
The competition promises to be intense as these manufacturers vie for the attention of India’s growing population of motorcycle enthusiasts, and only time will reveal if they can rival Royal Enfield’s steadfast supremacy.

New Entrants Challenge Royal Enfield’s Dominance in Premium Bike Market

India’s premium motorcycle market has attracted two major players, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp, aiming to challenge the dominance of Eicher Motors’ Royal Enfield.
In a partnership with the renowned British bike maker Triumph, Bajaj Auto launched the Triumph Speed 400 and Triumph Scrambler 400X on July 5.

Similarly, Hero MotoCorp collaborated with the iconic American brand Harley-Davidson to introduce the co-developed model of the Harley-Davidson X440.
Priced attractively at ₹2.4 lakh and ₹2.8 lakh, respectively, the Triumph Speed 400 and Triumph Scrambler 400X fall under the cruiser bike segment, directly targeting Royal Enfield’s stronghold in the 300cc+ market.
The Harley-Davidson X440, with an introductory price of ₹2.29 lakh, boasts a 440cc engine with significantly higher peak torque and power compared to Royal Enfield’s top-selling Classic 350cc, at just a 20% premium.
These new offerings have been met with overwhelming response, as media reports suggest that the Bajaj-Triumph duo received over 10,000 bookings within ten days of their launch.

Phillip Capital believes that Hero MotoCorp’s collaboration with Harley-Davidson and the launch of jointly developed products will give the company a substantial market share in the premium segment. Jefferies projects Hero’s volumes to reach 10,000 units per month, which is significant compared to Royal Enfield’s domestic volumes of 61,000 units per month in FY23 and an estimated 77,000 units per month in FY25.

For Bajaj Auto, entering the iconic premium motorcycle segment complements its leading position in the mass premium motorcycle market. The company aims to cater to a wider customer base by expanding its brand portfolio.
However, this new competition poses challenges for Royal Enfield. HDFC Securities suggests that Royal Enfield may need to reconsider its product and pricing strategy to compete effectively with the formidable alternatives presented by Harley-Davidson and Triumph.

As the premium bike market witnesses fierce competition, customers stand to benefit from more choices, while the established players must strategize to maintain their market position and meet evolving customer demands.

The Last Bit, As the launch date for the updated Bullet 350 approaches, Royal Enfield enthusiasts and potential buyers are faced with an exciting decision. The new-gen Bullet 350, with its nostalgic appeal, impressive performance, and competitive pricing, joins the ranks of the time-tested Classic 350, the versatile Meteor 350, and the accessible Hunter 350. Whichever model they choose, the Royal Enfield experience remains unmatched, promising an unforgettable journey on two wheels.

The entry of Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp into India’s premium bike market signifies an exciting shift in the industry landscape. With the launch of Triumph and Harley-Davidson co-developed models, these manufacturers are poised to challenge the dominance of Royal Enfield, the current market leader in the segment. The phenomenal response to the new offerings reflects the growing demand for premium motorcycles among India’s youthful population. As competition intensifies, customers can look forward to a wider range of choices, while Royal Enfield may need to reevaluate its strategies to retain its market share. Overall, this development heralds a thrilling clash of titans, promising a dynamic and innovative future for the premium bike market in India.


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