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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Royal Enfield takes on its own distribution in the U.S.
as Kevin Mahoney and Classic Motorworks carry on

Many in the United States wouldn't know Royal Enfield without the involvement of the importer Classic Motorworks and its owner Kevin Mahoney.

Now Dealer News reports that distribution is transitioning to Royal Enfield America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eicher Motors, Ltd. of India. President of the new company is Rod Copes, formerly of Harley-Davidson.

Kevin Mahoney built a new foundation for
Royal Enfield in the United States.
Classic Motorworks will carry on supplying parts and sidecars for a variety of motorcycle brands, and its popular online Community Forum will continue, but without Royal Enfield branding, Kevin told me.

Royal Enfield was absent and invisible in the U.S. until Kevin put his full energy and money into it in 1999. He told me the full story of how it happened almost by accident when he unwittingly became a "dealer" by ordering motorcycles for himself and a few friends.

Dealer News said Mahoney is confident that the resources Royal Enfield corporate can bring to the brand will benefit dealers and customers.

“I have enjoyed every minute of being in the industry," it quotes him.

"It has never been about motorcycling as such, but rather the chase of business and most importantly the great people, dealers and customers I have been able to interact with. 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 transition means many changes for Royal Enfield in the U.S., Dealer News said, including locating new sales, marketing and administration headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis. and moving vehicle distribution, perhaps, to Dallas, Texas. Parts distribution will be considered too.

Mahoney told me that "Royal Enfield has been putting a lot of money into enhancing the brand here, and improving the customer experience. If I was a customer I would see this as nothing but upside."

As distributor for Royal Enfield, Mahoney said he personally read every warranty claim.

Not every customer was happy.

On the Community Forum Mahoney took that in stride. He was always frank about the perceived shortcomings of Royal Enfield motorcycles (mercifully fewer now than in 1999) but reassuring that the fun would still be there if you fixed what was wrong and carried on.

Classic Motorworks will carry on in Faribault, Minn., where Kevin told me he has "the best team I've ever worked with in my entire career."

4 comments:

  1. The amount of money Eicher is pouring into this must be serious cash. And with parts and distribution moving to Dallas, it shows they want to be as close to the port of entry for their goods as possible. (My 1976 Triumph Bonneville came from the Port of Galveston) Eicher also doesn't want a repeat of what happened to the Italian bike makers when Cosmopolitan Motors of New Jersey closed their doors some years back. That being said, "Show me whatcha got and soon!"

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    1. OK, So Eicher is makeing a commitment to a potentially hemungus market. Great! Do they really think they can get their money back without something new, like a 750? Really? A significant hunk of their over 50 market is moving away from the cities and the so-called back roads are now at 70mph. Get hot R.E.! You need a nevo-retro 750. Sooner, not later.

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    2. You got that right, pal. And if they have a lick of sense, they'll show continuity in their offerings such as an updated Interceptor. Also, the people that didn't get to buy in 1970 are still there but they'll be reached via the AARP publications and not necessarily "Cycle World. Just like the Eric Burdon and the Animals album, "Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted." I still have my motorcycle endorsement and the cash. Bring it on now!

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