Not one to throw in the towel easily, Mahindra & Mahindra, while announcing their exit from the mass volumes segments of the Indian two-wheeler market where they’ve struggled to find success for some time, will now try their hand at other niche segments of the bike market.
Towards this, the Indian automotive behemoth has acquired a 60 percent controlling stake in Classic Legends (CLPL), a company that aims to bring to life classic bike brands of yesteryears. CLPL is all set to introduce the already renowned to veteran Indian bikers Jawa brand, having signed a licensing agreement to re-introduce these Czechoslovakian bikes in the Indian market. Senior M&M officials inform us that new Jawas shall be developed with a focus on recapturing the classic DNA Indians associate with these bikes. If all goes according to plan, M&M targets to have new bikes on the Indian road two years from now.
Jawa sprang to life in Czechoslovakia back in 1929, a motorcycle manufacturer based in picturesque Prague. It entered India much later, in the 1950s, enjoying popular demand in a motorcycle market with little competition at the time, save for Royal Enfield. The Jawa bikes were produced by the firm Ideal Jawa, at Mysore. The bikes came with simple engineering, a rugged feel and air-cooled engines that emitted a typical, loud engine note. You can still find Jawas proudly ridden in corners of India, a testament to their reliability, for standards of that day at least, given Jawa stopped production in India in the 1990s. A popular Jawa was a 250cc single bike, as was air-cooled, whereas the bike did later also have a more rarely seen 350cc twin, which offered additional power.
Jawa bikes will be sold under the Jawa umbrella in India, and not as Mahindras. The plan is for Jawa bikes to be built in India at Mahindra’s Pithampur plant. And styling is expected to hark of Jawa bikes of yesteryears, with modern features. The company will continue to tap into their existing assets, the successful Mahindra Racing (Mahindra’s Moto3 racing venture) team, Peugeot (also owned by M&M) as well as other independent engineering firms. It remains to be seen what kind of a reception Indian buyers will extend to Jawa, given it has been decades in the biking industry, with competition increasing manifold times since, and modern technology having taken over the market, and being the need of the hour.
Yes, we do have Royal Enfield selling in masses even today, but they’ve stuck it out, all the while entrenching themselves, developing and improving their brand, along with earning the enviable reputation of a leading classic bike maker worldwide, without any parallel in terms of rivals. Until now that is!