If you’re from the India of the 80s and 90s, images of loud, fast 2 stroke motorcycles will be very much alive in your head. Well, two strokes back then meant Jawas, Yezdis, Yamaha RDs and RXs. While 2 strokes aren’t coming back, the iconic brand Jawa is. Mahindra have just announced that they now own the rights to sell Jawa motorcycles in India, and South East Asia.
The brand – Jawa
Jawa was founded in 1929, by Frantisek Janecek in Czechoslovakia (now theCzech Republic). While Janecek didn’t have any previous experience in motorcycles, he used his know-how from the armament industry to build the first 500 cc 4-cylinder 18 BHP model in the same year.
Over the years, the brand expanded rapidly and by the 1950s, it became one of the big names in the motorcycle manufacturing world. At its peak, Jawa exported to over 120 countries. The brand started to decline after 1990 and in 1997, a successor brand was formed that continued to use the name Jawa Moto.
Jawa’s Indian connection
The company entered India in the 1950s and quickly gained ta cult following in the country. The production of the Jawa motorcycles were carried out in Mysore by Ideal Jawa India. The sturdy motorcycles were sold with the tagline “Forever bike, forever value” and till date there are many Jawa models that are found to be in working condition across the length and breadth of the country.
The brand shut it doors in 1996 but not before they sold some brilliant models in India. Some of their most famous models were the Jawa Classic, the Jawa 350 and the Yezdi Roadking. All three bikes have become collectors’ items now, and sell for big money.
Current status of Brand Jawa
The brand was divided after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into Jawa consumer motorcycles and Speedway competition bikes. The consumer division of the brand suffered massively due to better competition from the Japanese and European brands.
The Jawa consumer division is still active in Central America and Russia. Jawa currently sells the Jawa 350, which is an iconic 350cc tw0-stroke motorcycle, which has remained mechanically unchanged since the 1960s. Jawa sources 650cc four stroke engine from Rotax and puts them in 3 different forms of motorcycles.
These 3 form the modern line-up of the company. There is Jawa 650, Jawa 650 Style, Jawa 650 Dakar. Other models include Jawa 50, Jawa 125, Jawa 250 and Jawa 660.
Mahindra’s plans for Jawa in India
Mahindra will do all the research and development of the Jawa motorcycles in India. The production will take place at Mahindra’s Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh and the motorcycles will be exported to other south-eastern nations. Mahindra would not change the branding of the motorcycle and will be sold with the Jawa brand alone. Mahindra plans to target the niche segment of the society with the new brand and will also open separate brand stores for it. The first motorcycles with the Jawa brand should roll out in 2018-19 in India.
Mahindra going for the big ‘two wheeler’ bite
Mahindra, a major name in the four-wheeler industry is planning to establish itself in a huge way in the two-wheeler market too. The Indian company first took over the Kinetic brand in 2008, which kickstarted its two-wheeler journey. The company then started business in USA with GenZe all-electric two-wheeler range.
Recently, Mahindra acquired the vintage brand of BSA and now the company buys the brand rights of Jawa. Mahindra’s attempt to become a power play in the two-wheeler market seems to become a reality in next few years when all the new acquisition will start to roll out in the market.