Royal Enfield, the world’s oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production and the world’s fastest growing motorcycle manufacturer, has named industry-veteran Rod Copes as President, North America. Rod will be responsible for driving Royal Enfield’s businesses in the United States and Canada. By naming Copes to a top-level executive position, Royal Enfield has firmly stated its intentions to rapidly expand the brand in the U.S., its top export market.
Welcoming Rod, Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO Eicher Motors Ltd said, “Rod comes to us with a rich worldwide experience of more than 20 years in the motorcycle industry. His in-depth understanding of the North American markets and marquee brands will be vital for Royal Enfield. U.S.A is an important market for us as we aspire to become the leader in the global mid-sized motorcycle industry. We realize that the mid-sized motorcycle market is underserved and opportunities are immense on this continent. I welcome Rod to the Royal Enfield family and wish him a long a fruitful association with the company.”
Copes previously worked with Harley-Davidson for nearly 20 years, most recently as Head of Global Sales and Customer Service. He was responsible for growing the company’s businesses across four global sales regions and three product categories: motorcycles, Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise. He spearheaded the brand’s geographic expansion across emerging markets and established offices in locations such as Singapore, Miami (Latin America), New Delhi, Moscow, Dubai, Saul Paulo, Shanghai, Prague, Athens and Seoul. Rod, who holds both a Master’s degree in Engineering and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, left Harley-Davidson in late 2012 to follow his passion and entrepreneurial spirit of working with smaller companies and new ventures.
Copes is also active in several industry associations and business forums like the World Trade Center Wisconsin’s International Business Roundtable, India Business Council, and UW-Milwaukee’s International Business Center. He is currently on the Industrial Advisory Boards for University of Wisconsin - Madison’s Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin - Madison’s MBA Operations and Technology Management Program, and the President’s Advisory Council for Carroll University. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Hunger Task Force from 2006-2012.
Commenting on his new role, Copes said, “My association with Royal Enfield goes back to my early days in India when I first met Siddhartha. I have admired Royal Enfield’s classic designs ever since. These are exciting times for the motorcycle industry and I am looking forward to working with the world’s fastest growing motorcycle brand. The North American region provides an interesting opportunity for the brand. While lightweight and heavyweight bikes dominate the motorcycle scene in the U.S.A and Canada, Royal Enfield sits right in the middle with classic, fun, approachable designs that appeal to a younger, urban-oriented demographic. The new generation of riders is interested in a more hands-on motorcycling experience that is part of their lifestyle.”
In 2013, Royal Enfield sold 178,121 motorcycles. For the seven-month period in 2014 (Jan-July), Royal Enfield has already sold 165,713 motorcycles, registering a growth of 84% over the corresponding period last year. Rod Copes sees an opportunity to grow Royal Enfield’s North American presence in the mid-power market, the brand’s sweet spot with its predominantly 500cc collection.
The announcement comes on the tail of Royal Enfield’s 2014 North American launch of its all-new Continental GT café racer. The 535cc Continental GT brings the core idea of the rocker sub-culture from the 1960s roaring into the 21st century with a motorcycle that is nimble with a lot of useable power and torque – one that is outstanding and fun to ride at regular road going speeds. Available in the signature GT red and a brand new shade of GT yellow, the bike is currently available for USD 5999 MSRP in the United States.
Photo of Rod Copes on a Royal Enfield Continental GT courtesy of Mark Jenkinson.