When photo journalist Punit Paranjpe (34) decided to buy a Royal Enfield Bullet in June, he had not anticipated that he would have to wait for almost a year to get his bike. But he decided to wait the wait.
The showroom in Bandra here adds 20-odd names every day to the waiting list.
“Last year around this time we used to get four to five bookings for the Classic 350 and a couple for the Classic 500. Today we get on average 10 bookings a day for each,” said a sales representative. “Back then the waiting period was five to six months, now, it is at least 10 months (see box).”The situation is the same in Kolkata, where businessman Apurva Thirani (33) got his first Classic 350 in November just 100 days after he booked his bike last July. This year when he inquired about the Classic 500, he was informed of the 10-month waiting period.
The popularity of the Bullet picked up after the company abandoned old engine and introduced the Unit Construction Engine (UCE) with standardised gear and brake pedals. “I don’t have to worry about having to adjust to the gears on the wrong side. I feel safer with this,” said Paranjpe.
“With the Bullet, the demand has always far exceeded the supply. The plant, which was imported from the UK, was capacitated to make 30,000 bikes a year. We are making 70,000 this year. Both the plant and the workers are working to their maximum limit six days a week,” said Venkatesh Padmanabhan, CEO, Royal Enfield.
“Once the new plant is completed the supply will improve and the waiting period will be nominal.”
The new plant is expected to be functional by early 2013.