Friday, January 13, 2006

Yezdi (1961-1995) : RIP



Brand: Yezdi
Company: Ideal Jawa India Ltd

A brand that was once the heartthrob of Indian urban Youth is now resting in peace...

A case of marketing myopia...

I am not sure why I chose this brand , may be because of nostalgia. During my school days me and my brother used to argue as to whether Yezdi or Bullet is the best.

This bike was manufactured by Ideal Jawa Ltd with technical collaboration with Jawa of Czechoslovakia. Ideal Jawa started its operations in 1960 .Yezdi ( that time Jawa ) was in Indian roads from 1961. During 1960's Indian roads were ruled by scooters. Bikes were not at all popular due to mechanical issues and low mileage.

During that period , there were only three serious players in the Indian motorcycles market. Bullet, Rajdoot and Ideal Jawa. Rajdoot was popular in rural areas because of sturdy suspension. Bullet and Jawa were popular in the urban market.
Yezdi was targeting the youth with the positioning of " Forever Bike Forever Value" . Since it was a seller's market, what ever that was produced were lapped up by Indian consumers.

1980's saw a sea change in the Indian two wheeler market. Japanese technology entered the Indian market through joint ventures. The market saw lot of new 100 cc bikes which were more fuel efficient and easy to ride.
Ideal Jawa was having a blind eye. It refused to accept the realities. When the consumer attitudes changed, Jawa refused to change . Customers wanted Bikes that offered mileage, style and comfort. Japanese bikes provided all that. This period also showed the shift of Indian consumers from scooters to motorcycles.
Yezdi had serious mechanical issues, especially the starting trouble. One had to pump about 20 times to get that machine started. It had no chance before the peppy new generation Japanese bikes.
Yezdi realised this late and came out with some design changes and new launches like Roadking which had a new styling. But it was too late.
Failing market and labour problems took its toll on Ideal Jawa . Yezdi was laid to rest in 1995. Had Yezdi changed its products in tune with the customer needs, we would have seen a lot of this bike on Indian roads. but alas ....
Once an Icon, Yezdi has now faded in to the annals of history.