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Enfield rolls out new Thunderbird

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Royal Enfield, the Chennai-based makers of the iconic Bullet, today launched a new Thunderbird model in two variants -- 500 cc and 350 cc.

"We hope to cross the 1-lakh magical sales figure this fiscal on the back of robust sales so far. We have been clipping at around 50% in sales, and have still six to eight months of waiting," managing director and chief executive of Eicher Motors (which owns the Royal Enfield Company) Siddhartha Lal told reporters here.

These sales growth numbers come at a time when the auto market has been de-growing in the past few months.

In September, the motorcycle sales in the country plunged a whopping 19%, while car sales dipped 5.4%.

Last year, Enfield had notched up a full 50% growth in sales to over 75,000 units, Lal said.

Lal also announced the company's entry into the biking accessories market with a slew of apparel and biking gadgets, including leather and nylon jackets, helmets, gloves, etc.

The new Thunderbird, targeted at the highway cruising buffs, are priced at Rs 1,82,571 (on road Mumbai for the 500 cc) and Rs 1,43,346 (350 cc).

"We have decided to close the plans about launching a diesel variant," he said.

"I hope with the commissioning of our second plant by the first quarter of 2013, we will be able to trim the long waiting period, which is now six to eight months. Currently, almost 90% of our sales come form domestic market and still we are unable to offer the bikes on demand.

"Definitely, we want to be global brand. But our first priority is to meet the domestic demand and the exports will be focused from FY'15 onwards," Lal said.

Royal Enfield chief executive Venki Padmanabhan said the company sells around 1,000 units of the existing 350 cc Thunderbirds.

Later, senior vice-president for sales and marketing Shaji Koshy said the company has already got 100 bookings within hours of launch, 50 from Mumbai alone.

The first Thunderbird was launched in 2002 and sells around 1,000 units a month of the 350-cc model, Lal said.