Mahindra & Mahindra is undisputedly the number one SUV brand of India, but when it comes to two-wheelers, the OEM seems to have been finding it difficult to crack the code of the Indian market as Classic Legends' motorcycle/bike sales to end consumers have been declining Month-on-Month (MoM) since March 2022.
Retail sales of Jawa & Yezdi were at 4,265 units in March 2022, while they saw sales of 2,860 two-wheelers during September 2022, representing a decline of over 32% from March to September. On an MoM basis, Classic Legends registrations declined by over 11% in September 2022.
Royal Enfield (RE) is one of the reasons behind Classic Legends' dipping performance in the end-consumer market, noted Subhabrata Sengupta, Executive Director, Avalon Consulting. RE launched its most affordable 350cc Hunter bike in August 2022; it sold 56,085 bikes in September against 50,108 units in August 2022.
Peer Reviews As The Differentiator
Sengupta believes that RE's strong performance in the Indian market and Classic Legends' current performance largely results from what the two brands' existing customers are talking about the bikes. 'RE gets sold a lot because its products are advocated by people owning RE bikes amongst their peers. The same may not be the case with Jawa and Yezdi bikes,' he said.
The Siddhartha Lal-led RE is also known for its marketing and PR prowess in the two-wheeler vertical in India. It organises frequent Leh-Ladakh, and more such rides with RE clubs and simultaneously engages in various community-building exercises with rider groups from both in and outside India.
'RE's way of executing plans is excellent. Classic Legends has faced consumer issues since the brand's re-launch in India. Both Jawa and Yezdi bikes had a very good fan following turning up for the launch but Classic Legends failed to scale when it was required. There were large waiting periods, which has hurt the brands,' Sengupta said.
A total of 14,523 Jawa and Yezdi bikes were registered in the CY2019, followed by 26,512 in 2020 and 26,832 in 2021. Classic Legends, in 2022 so far, has registered 30,729 units, exceeding its past CY performances. However, at the same time, its MoM performance in 2022, compared to 2021, has been dwindling.
Price Wars At Its Best
The retro-styled looks with a refined engine became Jawa’s strongest features when the brand was initially re-launched in India. These prices ensured that the Jawa motorcycles were positioned in the bracket of RE Standard 350 and RE Classic 350.
However, the recently launched retro-styled RE Hunter has spiced up the price wars as the base variant of the same is available at INR 149,000 ex-showroom. Moreover, TVS Motors launching its retro-styled Ronin at a starting price of 149,000 seems also to have affected the sales of Jawa and Yezdi Motorcycles.
“Moreover, the consumer feedback about Classic Legends Motorcycles has not been good,” said Sengupta.
The OEM had initially lost many bookings because of the issues of not being able to meet the demands of the market. Sengupta believes that Jawa was able to create much hype but could not deliver around the same.
“However, the products and the brand Jawa have a connection with the audience. Probably, they need to educate the audience, especially the millennials, more about the same. Jawa will have to execute their plans very well,” he added.