Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd has been present in the ultra-competitive Indian two-wheeler market for the past 8 years now, and it finally looks like the company is making some headway.
As part of a newly-crafted strategy, the Mahindra plans to target the premium segment even as it scales down the mass market business, in a bid to become profitable, the company’s top officials said at a press meet on Tuesday.
As part of the move, Mahindra has bought a controlling stake in Classic Legends Pvt. Ltd, which recently acquired British motorcycle company BSA Co. along with all its existing global brand rights. Classic Legends has also signed an exclusive brand licence agreement for the iconic Czechoslovakian brand called Jawa.
The 60s and 70s were a time when Royal Enfields had not yet gained the massive popularity that they enjoy now. In this bygone era, it was the Jawa (later renamed Yezdi) bikes that were the craze. Of all the bikes they ever made, it was the Yezdi Roadking that was the most popular. Featuring a 2-stroke 250cc engine with twin exhausts, the Roadking started selling in 1978 and was well received, winning multiple races in India. The production of the Roadking stopped in 1996 when the entire Jawa/Yezdi factory was shut-down due to the growing competition from Japanese bike makers. But, the Jawa brand is still revered among Indian bike enthusiasts till this date.
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“Our plan is to focus more on the premium niche segment as we move forward,” said Pawan Goenka, executive director at Mahindra and Mahindra. He said the company aims to co-create a lifestyle company and allow customers to relive the experience of owning some classic motorcycle brands. Owing to the cult status the Jawa brand enjoys in India, it will address domestic markets, said Rajesh Jejurikar, chief executive and president two-wheelers and farm equipment business at the firm.
Jawa motorcycles will be produced and launched at the company’s facility in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, in two years’ time. The brands will be retailed separately, outside the Mahindra fold.
Meanwhile, Mahindra will also resurrect the BSA brand in the US and European markets. It cannot introduce the brand in India as BSA is locked in a legal dispute with an Indian firm and the matter is sub judice, said Goenka. “It’s a step in the right direction. It’s tough for any new entrant to break into the mass market segment. Targeting the premium niche segment, which is relatively less crowded, should pay off,” said an analyst at a domestic brokerage who declined to be named.
How excited are you to see the Jawa brand making a reappearance in India?