If there is a classic case of how a company can ruin a fantastic product, you have the Karizma’s case study to analyze. Karizma is the motorcycle which started the trend and fascination for bigger bikes in India and was regarded as one of the finest motorcycles for tourers with bullet proof reliability and handsome looks.
In came the elder sibling ZMR which shared the same engine (with fuel injection) but with that disproportionate fairing, it was one of the not-so-good looking motorcycles of our era but it was still applauded for whatever it offered. However, 2014 was the year which just killed the brand when Hero showcased and launched the new more powerful versions of both the motorcycles.
Following the initial negative hysteria about the 2014 models, the twins have not really been able to pull up decent numbers and cumulative sales are lesser than last year. According to a few new Karizma owners we are in touch with, the motorcycles (which are now Hero-only products) are not as reliable as they were during Honda’s times.
We followed the sales trend for the last three months and for all of them, sales in 2013 were a lot better. Just to give you a perspective, their chief rival Pulsar 220 (Avenger sales included) sold 14,000+ in October 2014, close to 10,000 units in November 2014 and 7600+ units in December 2014 and these figures are despite the fact that Pulsar 220 hasn’t got any significant upgrade unlike the Karizma twins.
Particularly, sales for the month of December 2014 were a shocker. Hero sold only seven units of Karizma twins in our domestic markets and exported 177 units for the complete month. Though we are not aware of it, but let us give them a benefit of doubt considering that there may be some production issues or because of the surplus units left at dealerships, the company decided not to produce many new units at the end of the year.
These coming couple of years will be the most important for Hero when they will be switching to their own set of engines and technologies which will definitely be compared with the quality levels they provided till they were with Honda. Let us hope the upcoming HX250R is a fantastic machine by all standards…