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For years, the onetime British motorcycle brand Royal Enfield has only been available in India. Now that’s about to change.

Siddhartha Lal

CEO, Eicher/Royal Enfield

For growing while staying rooted.

The Company

Royal Enfield is the world's oldest continuously produced motorcycle brand. Started in England in 1901, it died there in the 1960s but survived in India. Siddhartha Lal wants to bring it back to the U.K.—and beyond.

Goal

"To reinvigorate the midsize motorcycle segment globally."

Personal History

"My father [who'd retired in 1997 as CEO of Eicher but was still the majority shareholder] told me, 'We're thinking of selling Royal Enfield.' I said, 'Let me give it a shot.' I thought, How difficult could it be to sell a few more motorcycles? I was naive."

Big Challenge

"Expanding beyond India. The roots of the brand are very much English, but today, we're 95% Indian, 5% overseas."

Siddhartha Lal

Big Advantage

"A low cost base—our operating margins are upwards of 20%—and a brand that's not new."

Best Marketing Tool

"The rides we conduct. Last year was our 10th year of what we call a Himalayan Odyssey. We took 100 people along, but it inspired thousands to do similar, shorter rides."

One Secret to Innovating with Heritage

"Take the essence of what the brand meant and convey that. For us, it's not the motorcycle but the idea behind it. It's fun."

Strategic Decision

"Add value to the things people touch on a daily basis—the seats, the instruments, the foot pegs. Make them really beautiful."

Why Heritage is Important to Us Today

"There's an instantly warm, fuzzy feeling, a sense of recognition, in a day where things are getting colder and more remote."

[Photo by Jeff Brown]

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