Royal Enfield explores museum option at new plant

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018


For now it is only a dream but the Royal Enfield museum may well become a reality with the commissioning of its second facility in the South.

“The new plant will be a living museum and the idea is for visitors to see old bikes and audio visuals with the action of the assembly line wrapped around all this. Chennai is a place where there is a lot of history and the Royal Enfield museum could be a great option for its residents,” Dr Venki Padmanabhan, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Enfield, told Business Line.

The museum would be modelled on the lines of Mercedes or BMW which, like Enfield, have a rich legacy. It is the brainchild of Mr Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director and CEO of Eicher Motors, though, by the end of the day, financial pragmatism will decide its commissioning.

“At one level, we are a motorcycle company and at the other a lifestyle company and, therein, lies the real strength of the brand. The museum will let you into the sights and sounds of World War 2, old bikes, and then to the present where you watch a motorcycle being assembled through a window,” Dr Padmanabhan said.

Celebration of riding lifestyle

Royal Enfield still has not decided on the location of the second plant though reports doing the rounds suggest that it could be a toss up between Chennai and Tada on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border.

While the museum is one part of the branding exercise, the company is now flirting with the option of extending this idea to specific spots in the country. The ‘Royal Enfield Destination' is meant for those enthusiastic bikers who are heading on a Bullet to Goa or Manali. Instead of the routine hotel, they land up here with other travellers from, say, Kerala and Rajasthan.

“This becomes the place for bonding where enthusiasts trade stories while their bikes are taken care of and readied for the journey ahead. This is the Royal Enfield World where there are people to help organise trips, maintain bikes etc. It is a celebration of the lifestyle of riding,” Dr Padmanabhan said.

The key here is to make the trip ‘tangible' and ‘create the rider's world'. As he put it, it has to be authentic and tasteful without any kitsch. Interestingly, Royal Enfield has found from research that its customers are a finicky lot “who would like to see you around and set up the party but don't want you in it”. The message is clear: “Set up the bubble for me and let's enjoy our stuff.”

According to Dr Padmanabhan, the Royal Enfield brand is largely about word-of-mouth, the madness of the engine beat and about creating as many avenues as possible for people to experience it. “It is not just the motorcycle but the community of likeminded people. They are articulate, demanding and part of an active social network community,” he said.

Published on February 15, 2011

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