Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M) premium motorcycle venture – Classic Legends – appears to be quietly developing new models under its Jawa and BSA brands. Autocar Professional learns that several future motorcycle models, currently under development, and which will be positioned under the Jawa brand, will be powered by the existing liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, 300cc engine platform that currently powers the Mojo motorcycle model.
At least five different industry sources have confirmed the development to this publication. An email query specific to this development and sent to M&M has not yet elicited a reply.
Sources indicate that the Mojo-based 300cc engine platform is scalable and can be used as per the model profiling of the upcoming classic motorcycles under the Jawa (and potentially under BSA too) brand.
Speaking to Autocar Professional on the condition of anonymity, a source aware of the internal developments at Mahindra’s two-wheeler division, said: “The single-cylinder, 300cc engine platform remains largely unutilised as the response to the Mojo, which did sell initially among the biking enthusiasts when it was first launched in the late 2015, dried down too quickly. You don’t invest in designing and developing new engines every year. That’s a huge cost and it takes years to recover the same. However, each engine is built on a platform, which typically is scalable. The engine displacements can be defined based on the market research and opportunity. This varies for each company unless some of them forecast demand for a specific category."
"Mahindra’s two-wheeler division is doing the same. They plan to deploy this 300cc engine platform to power the future line up of motorcycles under its Jawa brand. This will surely save them precious resources (money and development time) and therefore can have a faster time-to-market approach,” added the source.
The Mahindra Mojo, which has recently seen the rollout of its second, stripped-down and more affordable variant in the market named Mojo UT 300, is possibly the only two-wheeler model (in motorcycles) from M&M’s stable that has tasted mild success in the domestic market.
While using the Mojo’s 300cc engine will keep the costs under control for the company, it can be understood that M&M can then successfully position the planned line-up of classic motorcycles within the affordable pricing brackets.
“The strategy is bang on with their original plan of targeting only the premium two-wheeler categories. The revival of the Jawa brand will be on the back of the classic-looking motorcycles powered by single-cylinder engines with displacement of about 300cc. This means that they will be affordable too for motorcyclists across the country. The plan of sticking to the premium categories is unlikely to put Mahindra under pressure to garner volumes in the domestic market. They may use this (engine / engine parts) for the models under BSA too,” disclosed another source, while elaborating on the dynamics of the premium motorcycle market.
It can be recalled that Mahindra’s October 2016 press announcement had clearly indicated that while, on one hand, PMTC, BSA and Jawa will have no visible M&M connection on the front end, the development of new motorcycles branded under Jawa will have synergies with the Mahindra’s two-wheeler division and its Pune-based R&D and Pithampur-based manufacturing capabilities.
The top management then was looking at a two-year window for the first Jawa model to hit the domestic market. If its plans are still moving in the same timeframe, then Diwali 2018 could be a good launch platform for the revival of the classic Jawa-branded motorcycles in India. Nevertheless, the go-to-market strategy and the launch timeline for Jawa remain undisclosed at the moment.
Ashish Joshi driving Mahindra’s Classic Legends
Ashish Joshi, who was last seen and known in India as the face of Triumph Motorcycles when the British brand was first introduced in India during the 2012 Auto Expo, appears to be now driving Mahindra’s global premium motorcycle venture, Classic Legends. The venture had acquired BSA Company including all its global brand rights and had signed an exclusive brand license agreement with Jawa for India and nearby Asian markets.
Joshi, an old hand in the motorcycle business, has previously worked at Triumph Motorcycles and Royal Enfield in the UK, is learnt to be putting his team together along with overseeing the ongoing development work under Classic Legends. It appears that he has been with Classic Legends for at least 15-17 months now. The team involved and the operational advancements at the core of Classic Legends are tightly guarded as M&M is moving slow and steady this time around, with an aim to achieve reasonable foothold in the desired markets.
“It is absolutely critical to get the team right to make a motorcycle business successful. Ashish Joshi is a veteran in the motorcycle industry and understands how brands work. He is overlooking Classic Legends, which will have motorcycles with modern mechanicals and retro positioning. BSA is scheduled for launch in the European territories in 2019,” another source told this publication on a confidential note.
Mahindra’s intent is clear. It aims to participate in the growing demand for the retro-classic and mid-capacity motorcycles globally. Recently, Anand Mahindra, chairman, M&M had introduced the first look of his website for the Jawa brand (www.jawa-moto.com), via his twitter handle.