The Man Who Saved Royal Enfield: Sidhartha Lal's Legendary Turnaround
Read about the young visionary who re-engineered Royal Enfield's destiny, skyrocketing sales and share value with his passion for motorcycles and smart business moves.
In the late 1990s, Royal Enfield, a famous motorcycle company known for its classic bikes, was in big trouble. Sales were down, and it was losing a lot of money. The company that owned Royal Enfield, Eicher Motors, thought it was best to shut it down. But then, a young man named Sidhartha Lal stepped in. He was only 26 years old and the son of Vikram Lal, who started Eicher. Sidhartha loved motorcycles and believed he could save Royal Enfield. So, he convinced the company leaders to let him try, and he became the CEO in 2000.
Sidhartha saw that Eicher was involved in too many different businesses, which was part of the problem. He decided to close most of these, keeping only the motorcycle and truck parts of the company. Now, with fewer distractions, Sidhartha could really focus on fixing Royal Enfield.
He spent a lot of time riding the bikes himself and found out they broke down a lot, were expensive to fix, and used old-fashioned technology. With this knowledge, he made two big changes. First, he changed the gear shift from the right side of the bikes to the left, which was what most other bikes had. This made Royal Enfield bikes easier to ride. Second, he decided to use aluminum to make engines to stop them from leaking oil.
But Sidhartha knew that Royal Enfield was special for another reason: people loved it not just for the bike but for what it stood for—tradition, design, and a sense of adventure. So, he promoted Royal Enfield as more than just a motorcycle—it was a feeling and a part of history.
This new approach really worked. By 2005, Royal Enfield was selling 25,000 bikes a year, which was ten times more than in 2000. The company kept growing, and recently it sold more than 700,000 bikes in a year!
The success of Royal Enfield under Sidhartha’s leadership can also be seen in the value of Eicher Motors' shares, which have gone up by an incredible amount—about a thousand times more—in the last 23 years. This shows not just how much money the company is making but also how much people love and believe in the brand.
Sidhartha Lal’s story with Royal Enfield is about more than just business. It’s about how a person’s love for something can help them turn a failing company into a huge success.