Enfield’s ROYAL Voyage

One of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, still redeems its cult status and has a tremendous fan following. It has a age old history in India too, when it used to sell its bikes to the Army (for obvious reasons the forces believed that the Bullet looked suitable for patrolling the country’s border). The bikes were made in England and were imported to Indian soil. The show is now managed and owned by Eicher Motors in India and have a production unit in Chennai.

Recently the Chennai-based manufacturer has prompted to accelerate the production of its hugely-in-demand products such as the Classic 350 and Classic 500. The production is planned to double from 50,000 units to 1,00,000 units in lieu of the demand. Currently the demand easily outnumbers the production, and also claim a waiting period of even 12 months for some of its top running models. This has spurted Eicher to dynamically invest almost 300 crores in a greenfield project to expand exponentially. 
The company had grew 8.74% during the last financial year and had sold 54,475 units (which includes its 5 models which are sold in Indian market). The brand in a way has grown as a cult over the times and I wouldn’t be wrong if I describe it as an “Indian Harley”. They both share a common DNA – “Biking is a Religion”. Both the bike manufacturers have binded their customers with the sense of brotherhood, community and of all the sheer pleasure of driving these machines.The message is clearly stated in its advertisements/galleries. One such example is –
It can be clearly seen in the photograph how a bunch of bikers gather together in the himalayan odyssey with one intention – what they call it as the ‘Nirvana’. This is the kind of engagement the brand has with its customers. Royal Enfield organizes an adventure gathering of its customers called as “THE TRIP”. This is one of the most sought after biking extravaganza on Indian terrain. A similar stuff is done by Harley for its HOGs (Harley Owners Groups) where it organizes events where its customers are invited to participate in anything from local chapter rides to pin stops, to state and national rallies. 
Royal Enfield has developed itself as a brand which is different in character and unique. Its products have grown to be known for its encompassing rugged styling, robust and durable engines. And I must commend the   company’s effort in keeping the brand alive true to its tradition and also re-juvenate the sense of ‘BIKING’ among its owners. Kudos to the RE team and hope that its expansion plans go well (so that its fans need to wait less for their rides).

Ford Figo – Ford’s Game Changer

The American giant’s best selling car in the Indian market has been the Figo. Launched just over a year back, Figo has already clinched no less than twenty different awards from various automotive publications, websites and television channels. It seems that the hard work put in by the guys at Ford has finally paid off.

Before the introduction of the Ford Figo, Ford was finding it hard to mark their territory properly in the Indian market. This was a company plagued with problems like poor re-sale value, high maintenance costs, inconsistent quality etc. Their best bet was the Ikon which was doing decent numbers, especially in the taxi segment. However, India being the land of hatchbacks meant Ford had to have a small car specially designed keeping in mind the needs and desires of the Indian consumers.

For starters, the car looks bold yet has an under-stated appeal about it. There are enough modern design touches and this combined with a huge range of color options means there is a Figo for almost every taste. Step inside and the Figo sets a benchmark for small hatchbacks. It is not only airy but has enough room to beat most similarly priced small cars like the Maruti Estilo. The design of the console is brilliant, quality top notch and enough practical touches to keep families happy.

Diesel is emerging as the common man’s favorite fuel and Ford was clever enough to make use of the same powerplant that powers the Fiesta, though in a different state of tune. It does its job pretty well in the Figo and is very fuel efficient as well. Another feather in the Figo’s cap is the way it handles in traffic. It is very nimble and the suspension is further tuned to take on Indian roads properly – something that most small cars today miss out on.

Ofcourse there are a few limitations with the Figo. Being a low slung car, getting in and out for the elderly can be an issue. Even the top end variant doesn’t get rear power windows and the petrol engine is weak on both performance as well as fuel economy. However, the positives easily outweigh the negatives here and this is the reason why Ford is busy minting money with the Figo, both in India and abroad.

pic source:http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/mar/25/slide-show-1-auto-ford-figo-a-car-for-the-young-and-ambitious.htm

Tractor Sales – India (FY 2010-2011)

YOY comparison of tractor sales of various manufacturers 

M&M holds a majority market share (almost 40%) in the tractor industry. They also grew a stupendous 22% in terms of volumes when compared to last year. The volumes include the sales done through Swaraj divison (Punjab Tractors) which is the market leader in many parts on Northern India. Tractor division has always been one of the most profitable arm of the Mahindra Group. But they are facing stiff competition in form of John Deere & New Holland India who have tremendously revised their prices to gain volume in India.

The most promising of the lot were John Deere and New Holland India which grew by about 44% and 40% respectively. Both are infusing world-class well engineered products in the Indian market, at the same time at a very competitive price. They still have a long way to go in terms of penetration in the Indian market when compared to the market leader M&M.
The second biggest tractor manufacturer TAFE group had a decent growth of 17%. Its most famous brand Massey Ferguson (also the name of its partner) has tremendous brand equity among tractor buyers. Its acquisition of Eicher’s Tractor Division (way back in 2005) has also helped it grow inorganically both in terms of volumes and technology.
The increase in buying power of the rural market has also led to a sustainable growth in this segment. We all are well aware that tractor divison was the only sector in automobile market which was not affected by recession.
Escorts and ICML’s Sonalika tractors also had a much sustained growth of 22% & 21% respectively. These two old warhorses of the tractor industry have evolved and are striving their best to retain their market share.  HMT is losing its hold and has de-grown. VST tillers have also grown by about 26%.

Overall the Tractor Industry in India has grown by a healthy 24% and this number is surely bound to raise higher this fiscal.

Special thanks for providing the raw data: Mr. Paresh Rastogi