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Imagenation

Cult Calling
Mahindra and Mahindra revives a cult icon to reverse its fortune

L-R: Boman Irani, chairman and managing director, Rustomjee Group; Anupam Thareja, founder, Classic Legends and founder and managing partner, Phi Capital; Ashish Joshi, chief executive officer, Classic Legends

Exactly a decade ago, Mahindra and Mahindra acquired the Pune-based Kinetic Motor, marking its debut in the two-wheeler business. With a scooter market that was just beginning to take off, it seemed a prudent decision by Mahindra, which already had a significant presence in tractors with ambitions to get it right with passenger cars too. But the company didn’t go too far on two wheels — its market share in this segment is just 0.03%. Mahindra Two Wheelers is in the red by over 3.5 billion. To reverse fortunes, company has changed its focus from mass market to niche opportunities. A step in that direction has been to revive the Jawa, a motorcycle brand that had a loyal user base in the 1960s and the three decades that followed, before it shut shop in 1996. The new look Jawa has initially been launched in two models, with another one to follow next year. With a 293 cc four-stroke engine that is liquid-cooled, the thrust is clearly on power and meant to take on Royal Enfield, the leader in retro leisure motorcycles. With an entry level price tag of 155,000, the Jawa compares favourably with the Enfield at 147,000, whose base model alone sells over 40,000 units each month. It’s tough competition. Can Jawa’s past make Mahindra’s future in two wheelers?

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