The target consumer is the young rider (most customers who have booked are between 24 and 30 years) in the market for a 250-500cc motorcycle segment and willing to shell out upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh for a bike. The three models that were showcased in November 2018 were: Jawa, Jawa 42 and Jawa Perak (to be launched), starting at Rs 1.55 lakh and going up to Rs 1.89 lakh (all prices ex-Delhi). It is more expensive than Royal Enfield's 350cc (Rs 1.39 lakh).
Online booking for the first two products has been temporarily halted given the huge waiting list of buyers. Orders are being taken at the dealerships, but the earliest one can expect a delivery is by the end of 2019. “If you book today, delivery could be no earlier than November,” says Joshi.
The bike category that Jawa is in is expected to grow at more than 25 per cent annually through 2021. It grew to 8.33 lakh units at the end of 2017-18 accounting for 6.6 per cent of the overall motorcycle market and Royal Enfield holds nearly 95 per cent of the segment. In such a scenario, Joshi says, Classic Legends will be an aggressive player. It has planned to open 105 dealerships by the end of February 2019, up from the current 23. “This will be the fastest ramp-up,” says Joshi.
The emphasis is on legacy but the brand cannot be built on its past alone, the company said. Customer experience via the product, through sales and through service will be key too.
For the Czech brand, India is not a new market. The company had a factory in Mysore in 1961 that sold the Jawa 250, a descendant of the Jawa ‘Perak’. The Jawa 250 held sway for ten years, but from 1971, the brand sold under the Yezdi label in India. Yezdi found its way into popular culture, turning into a generic reference for all bikes and an integral part of chase scenes in Hindi movies. However in 1996, Jawa/Yezdi moved out of the market given the change in bike emission norms.
In its new avatar, Jawa plans to dig into old networks that still hold a strong recall for the brand. It will also wait and watch how the two models do in the market and bring the Jawa Perak later this year. “We will consolidate with the three products, before looking at bringing the third product,” Joshi said.
The aim is to go deep before going wide with the brand. The company will temporarily stop dealership expansion at the 120-mark. The network will cover nearly 80 per cent of the market and nearly 83 cities. And keeping in mind the criticism that Jawa drew in the past, over easy access to service centres and replacables, the company says it has put its energy behind these areas this time around. The marketing push is aggressive on social media, but in towns where online penetration is still low, the company has a slew of on-ground promotions planned.