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Java Motorcycles. That's a name that seems to be synonymous with a bad reputation. Classic Legends seems to be losing customers, and definitely losing the retro charm the Jawa brand of motorcycles brought with them at launch.
Classic Legends launched the Jawa brand of motorcycles last November and currently retail the Jawa and the Jawa 42 motorcycles. A third model called the Perak has been announced but has not yet been launched.
The Jawa and the Jawa 42 gained immense popularity and the brand was well on its way to becoming an overnight sensation. Popularity grew, bookings accumulated, and the company looked like they were ready to take a massive bite into Royal Enfield's 350cc market.
Classic Legends then announced that deliveries of Jawa motorcycles would start in March this year. People were hooked, sales spiked, and then came the crash.
Jawa pushed deliveries by a couple of months saying that delays were because of vendors. This started a shift from thousands of excited customers, to just thousands of customers.
There have been a string of problems thereafter. In a bid to keep excitement alive, Jawa launched an online delivery estimator. The estimator is designed to let buyers who have booked motorcycles before 25 December 2018 know when they can expect delivery.
While the idea was brilliant, a glitch in execution has resulted in more furious and let-down customers. Ideally customers can type in a booking number and a registered mobile phone number on the ‘Delivery Estimator' page and be advised about when their motorcycles will be ready to be delivered.
However, most of the information that returns once processed seemed to be inaccurate. The tech glitch was supposedly fixed and we hear information is somewhat correct now. This misinformation has lead customers to cancel bookings.
As always, a customer had to take to social media to express anger and disappointment, and as usual, the CEO of Classic Legends always replies with a standard ‘we are taking appropriate action'.
This is not the first time Jawa has run in to a beating on social media. The last situation was when Mumbai based Sailesh Swarna got delivery of his Jawa. His complaint was that the motorcycle had rusty parts within weeks of delivery.
Mr Swarna found that many parts of his motorcycle were rusty. The affected areas include the exhaust pipes, the handle nut, the disc rotors, the rims, and several areas around the chassis. In addition to that, the speedometer was filled with water.
He shared his woes on Facebook and later contacted the dealer who said that the motorcycle would be fixed and cleaned of all the rust. The dealer said that they would repaint where needed, and replace parts that were heavily rusted.
The incident before the case of the rusty Jawa saw a customer being given a significantly pricey quote for a motorcycle. The dealer this customer went to see charged an extra Rs 9,000 for the motorcycle.
The initial quotation from the dealer stood at Rs 2,16,142. This included the ex-showroom price of Rs.1,76,242, lifetime tax and others at Rs 20,000, insurance at Rs 14,000, (PDI) Pre-Delivery Inspection at Rs 900, a center stand at Rs 800, handling and fitting charges at Rs 1,700 and Rs 500 respectively, and detailing at Rs.2,000. All these added up to a total of Rs 2,16,142.
Handling charges have been made illegal by court orders in many states but that did not stop this dealer from adding it to the quote. The customer was shocked, felt cheated, and took to Twitter to share his experience.
He tagged Classic Legends CEO Ashish Joshi in his post. Of course, Mr Joshi came to the rescue as soon as he could, got on to a call with the customer, the Regional General Manager and the Managing Director of the dealership. The final on-road quote stood at Rs 2,07,336 after the top dogs at the company got involved.
In light of these events, we are familiar with customers and owners of Royal Enfield motorcycles complaining about these issues. In fact, social media is currently flooded with images of Himalayan owners complaining of chassis build quality. It is surprising however to see a brand as young as Jawa trying to battle the same issues.
Thoughts About The Trouble With Jawa
At this point we're unsure if the company is really doing anything about well everything. To start with the inability to deliver products on time is not the best, especially with the motorcycling community.
Add to that really bad build quality and thieving dealers, and one has a potent mix that results in frustrated and irritated buyers. The Indian motorcycling community is forgiving, ask Royal Enfield; but if they don't get what they have paid for, manufacturers are in a lot of trouble.
Some of us have owned Royal Enfields and while most of the issues are the same, we think, right now, the Chennai based lads produce better quality motorcycles than Pithampur based Classic Legends. They definitely have better dealers for sure.
We think that instead of spending time and money building delivery estimators, and launching Yezdi social media handles, Classic Legends need to invest in build quality and timely deliveries.
Are you Classic Legend guys listening at all?