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Royal Enfield R&D centre

15th December 2015

 

Leicestershire | Chennai | Bullet | Continental GT

 

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The West Midlands used to be the manufacturing centre of the British motorcycle industry.

 

Triumph, Rudge and Coventry-Eagle at Coventry. BSA, Norton, Velocette and Ariel at Birmingham. Villiers and AJS at Wolverhampton. And many others famous marques all local to that area.

 

But now the tide has moved into the East Midlands, specifically Leicestershire where Triumph and Norton are well established, and where Royal Enfield will soon be building a design, research and development centre at the ex-RAF/USAF airbase at Bruntingthorpe.

 

The Chennai (formerly Madras), India-based firm (owned by the Eicher Group) has big plans afoot and is ploughing 3.5 million into its new R&D venture, while a 1 million grant from the Regional Growth Fund will put a fair amount of icing on the Royal Enfield cake.

 

Staffing levels at the new design centre will initially number 35. That will climb to around 70 if things work out as Royal Enfield head honcho Siddhartha Lal plans.

 

Meanwhile, Royal Enfield is looking to churn out around 450,000 machines per annum in India, but only a few of these will be the familiar Bullet, Classic, Electra, Thunderbird and Continental GT models. Most of the firm's output is smaller, commuter bikes and scooters for the new wave of Indian yuppies desperate for mobility in a rapidly moving world.

 

The home of Royal Enfield was once Redditch in Worcestershire. The move to Leicestershire is therefore almost like coming home. In fact, it makes you wonder why the Eicher Boys didn't set up their new R&D design centre in Redditch and properly spin the wheel. But maybe that 1 million sweetener wasn't on offer there (and if we find the answer to that one, we'll pass the word).

 

 

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