|Royal Enfield North America CEO Siddartha Lal|
and Royal Enfield North America President Rod Copes.
(Enrique Parrilla Photo)
Lal described the more relaxed motorcycling Royal Enfield represents.
Relaxed in terms of "peace of mind," he means.
Motorcycles should be lighter, easier to handle, easier on the wallet, less expensive to run and less expensive to repair, he said.
But then he went on to describe a whole life of motorcycling that is less of an emotional burden.
"If you drop a Royal Enfield and you pick it up and it's got a bit of a dent it should make that motorcycle look better over time, not worse," he said. The audience laughed, but it got the point.
(I like to say that my Royal Enfield "lives in the real world." It is ridden and it looks it.)
Lal said he doesn't expect Royal Enfield to compete with other companies on specifications. Other motorcycles will always be faster. He's hoping to bring back that fun that never shows up on a spec sheet.
"We want them to enjoy the ride."
Lal promised that Royal Enfield is in North America to stay. He recognized that the brand is little known here and it will take long-term effort and investment to make an impression.
"It's an investment for the next 10, 20, 30 years, that's what we're on about... that's what Royal Enfield is about. Royal Enfield is about perseverance. Royal Enfield is not the oldest surviving motorcycle company for nothing."
He also said that he wants it to be the "most responsive" motorcycle company in the U.S.
Motorcycles are mechanical products, Lal said, and they will have issues.
"We are going to make sure that we feel the pain of the customer when they do get pain and we sort them out."
That's going to be essential in the United States. In India, customers must wait in line to buy Royal Enfields and complaints about poor service are legion. Here, customers expect the dealers to wait on them. Quality products (not just motorcycles, but cars and smart phones) have conditioned Americans to expect perfection.
Lal seems to understand what must be done. What's endearing is the spirit he says he wants Royal Enfield to show.
Ultimately, this was his charge to his company:
"Win the world over by charming the world and not beating the world on the head."
Watch his full speech in the video below.