We’re already ironing bell-bottom pants and wide collar shirts in excitement to welcome the brands that defined motorcycling in 1970s and 80s, JAWA and BSA. With Mahindra & Mahindra taking over the two iconic brands, the first products are expected to arrive sometime in 2019. So we decided to run you through what to expect from the new takeover. We’d also talk about the brands that’d have a few sleepless nights with the comeback of these two motorcycle brands.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s two-wheeler business did not takeoff to the start that the Company had expected but the coming times could change the scenario. In October 2016, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) revealed its future strategy for the two-wheeler segment. The Indian brand plans to refocus its two wheeler business and aims to target premium niche segments. Mahindra & Mahindra wants to co-create a lifestyle mobility company with exciting and relevant partners across products & services, and enter into previously untapped segments using brands like BSA and JAWA.
While Mahindra & Mahindra has remained tight-lipped about any details, we expect the brand to take on the biggest player in the Indian market, Royal Enfield. The thumper currently dominates 350cc and 500cc segment with its range of products. The two-wheeler brand shifted 64,459 motorcycles in July 2017. Royal Enfield is currently developing a new 750cc twin-cylinder engine that’d propel a wide range of products. We recently saw two test mules of the upcoming products and the motorcycles, if priced correctly, will have a lot of potential.
The recent Bajaj Auto – Triumph Motorcycles partnership also aims to develop a ‘premium and easy-riding’ motorcycle. Bajaj has a keen eye on the 300-500cc segment which they believe will see tremendous action by 2020. Triumph Motorcycles’ technology and Bajaj Auto’s aggressive pricing ability will give the competitors a tough time. Add to that, the extensive service and distribution network of Bajaj Auto and the Anglo-Indian partnership has a perfect recipe prepared for the Indian market. Do remember that Bajaj is also working towards bringing the Husqvarna brand to India and we’d see the arrival of Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 motorcycles in 2018. These products too would be pitched as lifestyle products instead of budget offerings.
To compete against that, we expect Mahindra leverage the global capabilities in design and engineering, along with the expertise available at Mahindra Racing’s technical development centre in Italy, to design and launch the new products of these iconic brands. Officials had previously confirmed that the design work had already commenced and as for initial plans, the Company will concentrate on motorcycles displacing between 500 and 750cc. This displacement segment will attend to the void in the market of single cylinder bikes of larger capacity. Mahindra & Mahindra will also have to expand their dealer and service network to compete against the extensive availability of Bajaj Auto and Royal Enfield.
Lastly, it’s the pricing bit that will play a crucial role in JAWA and BSA’s arrival. Local manufacturing has helped KTM achieve massive success in the Indian market and the same will work in Mahindra & Mahindra’s favor. The new motorcycles would be produced locally at the Company’s Pithampur plant which should help the brand price its products aggressively. Mahindra & Mahindra would have an uphill take to take on the existing and upcoming products. But with the iconic brands like JAWA and BSA, there’s very little that can go wrong.