The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 has just bagged one of India’s most prestigious 2-wheeler awards: the 2019 IMOTY or the Indian Motorcycle of the Year award. The IMOTY is the most authoritative 2-wheeler recognition in India. The jury consists of some of the most experienced as well as eminent 2-wheeler journalists from India. They are represented by India’s premier automotive publications, such as Overdrive. Greenubuntu Founder and Editor-in-Chief Muqbil Ahmar caught up with Siddhartha Lal, CEO, Royal Enfield in an exclusive interview.
Muqbil Ahmar: First of all, many congratulations for winning the trophy. How do you see Royal Enfield taking care of the emissions targets as global concerns rise over climate change and pollution? Indian automobile industry is getting sleepless nights over the instruction from the government to comply with Bharat Stage VI emission norms which is equivalent to Euro VI emission norms. It is expected to be a giant leap as the automobile industry switches to strict emission standards at par with the USA, Japan, and the European Union.
Siddhartha Lal, Royal Enfield: I am happy that the Interceptor 650 has been well received by journalists as well as enthusiasts. It has been recognized as one of the best products from Royal Enfield with its engine refinement, performance as well as impressive build quality. Having said that I can confidently say that we are meeting all the emission targets in most of the cases. We are still trying to do it right now in some cases. While doing that we need to meet the driveability targets. The bike has to ride smoothly and comfortably. Basically, emissions come at a very early stage when you are just starting the bite. The catalyst is cold. That is when the maximum amount of emissions take place. We do a tremendous amount of work on all of that. We are confident of meeting all the emission norms and targets on time.
Muqbil Ahmar: As an industry leader what is your vision of the automobile industry in the years to come? Where is the future of tomorrow’s bikes and cars as the world moves towards greener transport?
Siddhartha Lal, Royal Enfield: I basically think two things: Cities will move to much lighter tread. There is no reason why anybody should have a car in a city. Urban mobility will change. Even the cabs will change with time. You don’t need vehicles which can do very long distances or vehicles which drive very fast. You don’t need a car or vehicle that goes beyond 50 km per hour speed. You don’t need fast vehicles. It is killing people and consuming so much more energy. You need slow vehicles which have a really small footprint. I see a lot more happening in low footprint mobility. However, outside city limits, you will still see a lot more of personal mobility where it may not be economical to have public or shared transportation. You would want a lighter tread. I go around visiting so many cities and I see so very few cars
In the awards, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 had a landslide win over other contenders such as the second-placed Yamaha YZF-R15 V3 as well as the third-placed TVS Apache RR 310. The new-generation TVS Apache RTR 160 4V came a close fourth. The 2019 IMOTY rated a host of motorcycles launched in 2018. The jury of the awards shortlisted 12 bikes. To be eligible for the Indian Motorcycle of the Year award (IMOTY), motorcycles need to be launched between December 1st of the previous year and November 30th of the present year.
The motorcycles are rated on parameters such as relevance to the Indian 2-wheeler market as well as value for money, besides other technical parameters such as engine performance, design, efficiency, dynamics, and practicality. This jury for this year’s IMOTY 2019 comprised Abhik Das and Rahul Ghosh (Auto Today), Arup Das and Jared Solomon (AutoX), Devesh Shobha and Debabrata Sarkar (Top Gear India), Aspi Bhathena and Sarmad Kadiri (Bike India), Aninda Sardar and Sirish Chandran (evo India), Pablo Chaterji (Man’s World), Kartik Ware and Raunak Ajinkya (Motoring World), Abhay Verma and Shubhabrata Marmar (OVERDRIVE) and Vikrant Singh (bikewale.com). Shumi is chairman of the IMOTY 2019 jury.
The IMOTY 2019 trophy was given by Dr. Raghupati Singhania, who is the Chairman as well as the Managing Director of JK Tyre and Industries Ltd at an event in Mumbai. JK Tyre has been sponsoring the IMOTY awards since its inception in 2007.
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