Few brands inspire the kind of devotion that an Enfield does. Its distinctive look and feel, the sound of its engine and the image that it creates of its rider have all contributed to putting the brand on the kind of pedestal that others could only dream of.
From the beginning of the brand's journey in India in the early 1950s, the Enfield bikes have had quite a ride. Initial success and acceptance notwithstanding, by the 1980s, the brand was considered an underachiever and a basket case.
Enter Vikram Lal of Eicher in 1990. Lal's enthusiasm for the brand gave it a new lease of life. Later, his son Siddhartha's time at the helm saw marketing, product and vision all come together to catapult the bike to iconic status. In the past few years, Enfield has come to represent successful business turnarounds even as its bikes have found newer and newer converts.
'Indian Icon: A Cult Called Royal Enfield' (Westland) by former journalist Amrit Raj maps the trail-blazing story of the brand, the company and most of all, the individuals who have made it what it is. It is also the story of the clash of the old guard with the new leading to dramatic changes in the business. In a first, the book bares the behind-the-scenes takeover dramas and the bare-knuckled battle to create a premium homegrown consumer brand for the global markets. Extensively researched and expertly narrated, the book takes you to the heart of the Royal Enfield story.
It's a worthy addition to the shelf of both business readers as well as Royal Enfield aficionados.
Amrit Raj was a national editor with Mint and led the newspaper's national corporate bureau till April 2019. He wrote extensively on Indian corporates, family businesses, and other corporate matters. He is currently pursuing a senior role at a technology company.
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