From the potential production version of the KX Bobber Concept to the Thunderbird 350’s replacement, rumors about the mysterious Royal Enfield "Meteor" having been bubbling for almost a year now. It all started when the company trademarked the name back in May 2019. The Indian media had a field day trying to guess how the name would be used.
More recently, the list of (rumored) options for the Meteor was narrowed down to a single entry. Most local media seemed to reach a consensus and agree that the upcoming Meteor was set to take the Thunderbird’s place in RE’s Indian lineup. Now, a test mule sporting a “Meteor 350” sideplate recently spotted on the roads in India not only confirms that the new model is in fact coming but it also seems to confirms the theory about a Thunderbird replacement.
While the Thunderbird has become a well-established and popular name on the Asian market, the platform is getting old and its engine isn’t BS6 compliant (India’s version of Euro 5 emission standards). One way or the other, the model needed an update. Considering the Bullet and the Classic 350 have been updated to meet the new standards, the fact that the Thunderbird has seemingly been left behind speaks volumes.
But why would the company decide to change a name that customers have become familiar with? Local site AutoCar suggested that it could have something to do with the fact that the company doesn’t own the rights to the “Thunderbird” nameplate everywhere in the world. In the U.S., according to the Trademark Office, in the “Motor Vehicles” category, the name Thunderbird still seems to belong to Ford. Car and Bike adds that on other markets, Thunderbird apparently still is owned by Triumph. This move could in turn suggest that the company is considering exporting the model to Western markets. Fingers crossed.
Royal Enfield was expected to launch two new models at the end of April—including the Meteor. With the industry’s slowdown caused by the pandemic, there is no say whether the manufacturer’s schedule will be affected or if it will proceed and maybe opt for an online event like many other companies.