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    Royal Enfield's new CEO unveiled two new Royal Enfield motorcycles today at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City.

    The Classic Chrome is appropriately draped with enough shiny stuff to signal the space station on a clear day, and while we typically don't go all gooey-kneed at the sight of copious brightwork, this bike is officially on our do-want list. The Classic Chrome looks to share more than a few bloodlines with the popular C5, though the eagle-eyed among you will likely note a kick start lever. The U.S. C5 is currently only available with an electric starter, though we'd expect that omission to soon be rectified.
     

    The Bullet 500 bears a startling resemblance to India's much beloved 350cc Bullet, the model that was in continuous production for 50 years. With its full rear fender and two-up seat, it will bring a tear to the eye of those who mourned the passing of that iconic motorcycle.

    The pictures posted on the motor show website both show motorcycles with kick start levers. C5 motorcycles sold in the United States so far have had electric start only. Those sold in India come with both. Will the U.S. market get kick starters, a popular feature? The New York debut is described as a "world unveiling" of these models, so features may differ in our market.
      

    Doing the unveiling is Dr. Venki Padmanabhan, Royal Enfield Chief Executive Officer, effective this month. For two years he has been chief operating officer for Royal Enfield. These were two years in which Royal Enfield posted a 21 per cent growth in sales volume.

    Dr. Padmanabhan (he has a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh) is a U.S. citizen with extensive experience in the U.S. auto industry. He started his career in 1989 with General Motors at its Warren Technical Center. In 1999 he was at Buick City Assembly Plant in Flint, Mich., where Buick Park Avenues and Pontiac Bonnevilles were assembled.


    From 2000-2004 he was a production shift leader in Lansing, Mich. where the Cadillac brand was restored to its former glory with the CTS, SRX and STS.


    In 2004 he joined DaimlerChrysler Corp., moving in 2006 to Stuttgart, Germany to serve with the Mercedes division.


    A remarkable careeer, but here is the interesting part for Royal Enfield owners and enthusiasts: Dr. Padmanabhan's biography notes that "throughout his automotive career he has experienced the agony and ecstasy of struggling to resuscitate fabled brands at GM, Chrysler and Mercedes."


    Royal Enfield must be ecstatic that demand for its motorcycles is so great that production can't keep up. Popularity brings rewards, but there will be risks ahead as well.


    Siddhartha Lal, head of Eicher Motors Limited, which includes Royal Enfield, put it this way when he announced the promotion of Dr. Padmanabhan to CEO:


    "Venki has been with Royal Enfield for... two years now and brings with him a great experience and ‘can-do’ spirit which will be required to scale up our operations and get us towards our world-class quality and other long-term ambitions."


    As CEO, Dr. Padmanabhan replaces R.L. Ravichandran, who moves up a wider role at EML
    .

     by : David Blasco

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    5 comments
    1. nicker Said,

      Man those are some nice bikes. Look just like the old ones but these will start.

      Posted on 10:07:00 PM

       
    2. srikant Said,

      They look like perfectly restored antiques-I know the kids that are into deathmetal will be into these babys!

      Posted on 10:09:00 PM

       
    3. paul Said,

      On the Enfield note,they are nice bikes.

      Posted on 10:11:00 PM

       
    4. Anonymous Said,

      Both of these bikes look great. Victory need to hire their designer. Just imagine either of those bikes scaled up a bit with a Victory engine. They would look awesome and sell like the proverbial hot cakes.

      Posted on 10:12:00 PM

       
    5. kaMAL Said,

      Royal Enfield do a great job of pandering to their customer base with ” new” models that are easy and cheap to manufacture from existing models.

      Posted on 10:13:00 PM

       

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