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Dominar 400 takes the battle to the Royal Enfield turf

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 13, 2018

Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto Ltd alongwith Eric Vas, President Motorcycle Business, Bajaj Auto Ltd. at the launch of Dominar 400 in New Delhi. Photo: Kamal Narang (file pic)   -  BusinessLine

Nearly 20% of the Bajaj bike buyers are former Enfield users

Bajaj Auto’s recently launched Dominar 400 is attracting former Royal Enfield bike users who now account for 20 per cent of its customer base.

According to Eric Vas, President (Motorcycle Business), Bajaj Auto, the larger chunk of 80 per cent is still taken up by those who used Yamaha, Honda and Bajaj’s own Pulsar motorcycles.

The Dominar made its debut in mid-December as a serious contender to Royal Enfield. While monthly numbers thus far have been a little over 3,000 units, the good news is that the bike has taken pride of place in the 350cc plus segment vis-a-vis Royal Enfield’s offerings. However, when it comes to the core 350cc space, the latter continues to be the market leader with monthly sales of nearly 55,000 units powered by the Classic and Bullet.

The three-month-old Dominar 400 kicked off its presence in 22 towns which has since increased to 32 in February and slated to go up to 110 towns by the end of this month.

This tally will double to 200 in April and Bajaj Auto hopes to have at least 300 towns covered for the Dominar 400 during the course of 2017-18.

If everything goes according to plan, the company hopes to be clocking its targeted 10,000 motorcycles every month by the end of Q3 next fiscal.

Attractive features

Vas says market feedback shows that buyers love the Dominar 400 for its performance, speed and top-class brakes. Interestingly, a large number of them have opted for the more expensive ABS version which retails at a little over ₹1.5 lakh.

The LED lamps are another big draw and their attractive lighting explains why many customers opt to have their test rides at night.

According to Vas, Dominar 400 buyers are largely in the age group of 25 years who have already owned a bike .There are no first time users yet but this is expected to begin happening once the network grows and more customers start going in for the relatively less expensive disc brake version which has a price tag of nearly ₹1.4 lakh.

The Dominar 400 was launched to take on Royal Enfield in a segment that is priced between ₹1-2 lakh and accounts for five per cent of motorcycles sold in India.

In terms of numbers, this translates into 65,000 units each month.

The next fiscal could see this grow to nearly 85,000 units or over one million units annually.

Changing dynamics

It is in this product category that Royal Enfield has a market share of 80 per cent and it is in the balance 20 per cent space that Bajaj has thrown down the gauntlet with the Dominar 400.

The other rival models include KTM, Yamaha YZF-R15 and Honda CBR 150R but none of them has posed a serious threat to Royal Enfield yet.

It now remains to be seen if the Dominar 400 can draw customers from the top-selling Classic.

It is clear that with 10,000 units targeted during 2017-18, Royal Enfield will still be comfortably ahead in terms of numbers.

How dynamics change after this period will be interesting to watch.

From Bajaj Auto’s point of view, the strategy boils down to acknowledging the reality of living in a world of opposites where every mature segment is essentially a two-horse race.

The Dominar will stick to the core principle of being opposite from the market leader’s offerings and has been positioned as a modern machine and not a heritage brand.

Published on March 14, 2017

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