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Old 20th October 2017, 17:20   #1
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Default Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

The Bajaj Domineer 400 was launched amidst a lot of enthusiasm in the Indian market. It was speculated that the bike would keep up with Bajaj's tradition of VFM products, while also offering an alternative to the RE thunderbird range, thus ending its monopoly in the Indian market.

Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?-img_0706.jpg

This is what Rajiv Bajaj had to say then:

Quote:
It is my conviction that the new bike (Dominar, known as the Kratos then) planned has the capability of posting five-digit volumes each month.

This is what Cartoq had to say:

Quote:
In the 350+ cc segment, the Dominar was the best seller in India in January, February and March 2017, with monthly numbers averaging a little over 3,000 units. In April and May, however, sales have slipped to 2,000 and 1,500 units respectively, prompting this question. As a 400 cc motorcycle priced at nearly 1.5 lakh rupees, the Dominar continues to do decent numbers.

To put the Dominar’s sales numbers into perspective, Royal Enfield’s 500 cc range — comprising the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird — did about 5,000 units in the first three months of the year with March sales coming to a standstill due to the BS4 transition. So, without the BS4 transition, Royal Enfield’s 500 cc bikes should have done about 7,500 units in the first 3 months of 2017. The KTM Duke triplets (200, 250 and 390) did about 9,000 units in the same period.
People often say that the market and public are being too sensitive towards the sales numbers of this cruiser, but then, Bajaj itself has set these targets, as is proved here:

Quote:
From 3,000 units domestic, we are talking about 2,000 in this month. We are now concentrating mainly on the metros and the main cities and then after establishing it there, we will take it forward to other markets. KTM took almost a couple of years to come to 2,000 per month levels and Dominar as a 400cc has a very good traction. That is why in the 350-500cc bracket, it is already a leader and we think that it will have traction. It will take some more time to seep into the smaller cities and the volumes to build up but we will be concentrating mainly on the big cities now.
Infact, the bike seems to be doing better abroad in Latin America.

Counter argument

The Dominar hasn't been introduced across smaller towns and Tier 3 cities, which Bajaj speculates might be a reason for the sales figures.

There are a few owner's perspectives as well, but I would like owners on Team BHP and fellow members to add to this thread.

On a personal note, sad to see such a product suffer like this. I am a huge fan of the Dominar personally and would love to see it do well...

Some questions I would like to ask:

- Is it the service network or more specifically, the unqualified mechanics contributing to these figures?

- Is it quality issues with the product itself?

- Is it brand perception at play?

Source: http://www.cartoq.com/bajaj-dominar-...op-we-explain/

Regards,
Vishy

Last edited by vishy76 : 20th October 2017 at 17:22.
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Old 20th October 2017, 17:38   #2
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

For me it's the brand perception and Bajaj' decision to weigh it against REs. If you consider the initial niggles reported by owners, it is no way near quality issues faced by any RE for that matter. But these issues were not forgiven by the prospective customers as it doesn't enjoy any cult following unlike the REs.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd October 2017 at 10:33. Reason: typo
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Old 20th October 2017, 17:52   #3
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

I don't think the bike is flop per say. At Rs. 1.5 lakh, it is at the very top of our consumer mass market price wise and 1500-odd monthly sales are quiet decent.

However the bike does suffer from brand perception. Bajaj has simply failed to make it as well known as Pulsar brand. Most people buying it are upgrading from other mass commuters. The market for those is simply not that big. I doubt they are taking away even a single sale from RE.
Also the extremely generic sport commuter look has not helped. They should have gone for a cool retro look or maybe more sporty.
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Old 20th October 2017, 22:57   #4
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Possibly an issue with positioning and marketing - like how Tata Aria was advertised as a SUV instead of MPV. I think the positioning of Dominar as an alternative to RE Bullet was a mistake (although they both have near equal engine size & price)

Last edited by smartcat : 20th October 2017 at 23:04.
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Old 21st October 2017, 04:55   #5
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

I think going after Royal Enfield was the biggest mistake Bajaj could've made. I have friends who have seen me ride (I learnt around 2 years back) and asked me to teach them and when I say "oh yeah? what do you hope to buy once you learn?" 9 in 10 of them say "a bullet". There are also several friends of mine who have a LOT more experience on bikes than I do, but honestly don't posses the same skills as I have acquired in such a short time (don't mean to brag just an honest observation). This is also reflected on the road; bikers don't ride like one might hope they ought to. Driving tests are laughable (I got a license for a car and a geared motorbike when I was 18 without ever being asked to ride a bike). 99% of the people aren't skilled enough to appreciate more than a Royal Enfield, most of them can't afford a bike that costs more than 1 lakh so the buy sensible commuters and maybe venture into FZ/Gixxer territory, while the rest who can spend more than a lakh buy a Royal Enfield just out of sheer aspirational value.

In a world where all we can afford are single cylinder or drab parallel twins, I have to admit, for novices or most people, riding a motorcycle is just about travelling on 2 wheels in a straight line, without falling. They don't have the skills to want to appreciate more than that, and a Royal Enfield with its ancient pushrod engine, thump and classic looks, holds a LOT of appeal and gets the job done in style. I myself thought of owning a Continental GT when it first came out (long before I learnt how to ride a bike). Royal Enfields don't exist because we're stuck in the 1940s wanting better technology, the brand exists today because of its cult following and one simply cannot go up against something like that no matter how hard they try especially not if their argument is going to be based on the fact that their product offers superior tech.

Another thing I felt they did wrong was name it the Dominar 400 now that every squid out there knows that Bajaj draws plenty from their stake in KTM, they don't care about the bike's intended purpose or torque curve, they simply care about how it takes nearly twice the time to hit 100kph. I've heard this one myself: "Chii Dominar is waste, its not even got the power of a 400cc bike" to which I reply, "forget the 400 badge, does anything else go faster for that amount of money?" to which they become stumped. Clearly logic does not naturally ring through everyone's heads and the 400 badge I feel is doing more damage to the Dominar brand than Bajaj intended.

Lastly, Bajaj is known for the Pulsar range which of late, everyone expects to offer near KTM levels of performance (relatively) in a value for money package. The Dominar whether they like it or not, is not distinguished enough as a brand in itself. People still expect from it, what they expect out of Pulsars. Everyone wanted it to be an NS400 or a RS400 and even though Bajaj isn't calling it that or trying to be that, they are disappointed regardless. The masses did not really want a power cruiser. I feel like they should have stuck to the Pulsar brand first offering an NS400 then an RS400 and finally this one.

I love the Dominar and boy does it make a very compelling case for me to recommend to anyone looking out for a new bike but, these are the reasons why I feel most people aren't buying it.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 21st October 2017 at 05:19.
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Old 21st October 2017, 07:52   #6
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

For less than 2 lacs I get-
1- ABS
2- Fuel Injection
3- LED headlights
4- 6 speed gearbox engine
5- A good engine with acceptable power
6- Better quality parts (w.r.t Bajaj standards)
7- Pillion friendly seat
8- Cheaper spare parts
9- Wider Service network
10- Tubeless tyres

To me Dominar is the most VFM package currently available in the market, loaded enough to satisfy an average Indian’s touring needs.
The Dominar is the best bike from the Bajaj stable. I can vouch since I have owned P-150 and P-220 and both have been sooper reliable but that doesn’t make me a Bajaj fanboy.
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Old 21st October 2017, 10:34   #7
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

The Dominor is a great product from Bajaj. From the CT100 days to the "Definitely Male" Pulsar, they had a great shift and made the brand more aspirational for the youths of Splendor days.

But times have changed. Customers who were aspiring for the Pulsars and R15s has changed and it was replaced by the KTM. The R15s are common now. They need more oomph and exclusivity. The KTM is an aspirational product now. Thanks to the internet we are more aware of engine specs and features of every model. The Dominor had a rebored 390cc of the KTM at a cheaper price. The customer at the 1 Lakh+ wants something exclusive which the dominor lack. It is perceived as an alternative to those who cannot afford the Duke 390. In this age of emi's, it doesn't matter to many to jump another Lakh and get the real deal. There was also a criticism that Bajaj engines age in few years which pushed away many buyers.

For the RE vs Dominor argument, it is naive to compare those two. RE has that aspirational value which doesn't leave room for logical or financial sense. Customers very well know that there is no fuel gauge still it sells and sells well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
99% of the people aren't skilled enough to appreciate more than a Royal Enfield, most of them can't afford a bike that costs more than 1 lakh
Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
They don't have the skills to want to appreciate more than that, and a Royal Enfield with its ancient pushrod engine, thump and classic looks, holds a LOT of appeal and gets the job done in style.
So your opinion is that RE riders do not possess the skills to ride. That's a naive generalization. Buddy, even I don't mean to brag likewise, but I have been riding motorcycles longer than you do. I started when I was 16, and have ridden everything from a Splendor to an R1. I own a Royal Enfield Bullet. If I can give an analogy, riding a RE is like owning a Bentley, you don't care about any features, 0 to 60 seconds, or how modern the engine is. All you want is ride comfort from point A to B. It is a motorcycle which one will come to peace with after riding every motorcycle.

Finally, just because you think you posses superior riding skills, it is not sensible to paint all the RE riders with the same brush as "Unskilled"
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Old 21st October 2017, 10:52   #8
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajay_the_Don View Post
So your opinion is that RE riders do not possess the skills to ride. That's a naive generalization.
Nope, but I was afraid that someone would come to that conclusion. I generally refrain from making such absolute statements.

If you read clearly I have stated that 99% of riders in total lack skill, that doesn't mean that a certain percentage of the remaining 1% doesn't buy Royal Enfields. Even I have seen several people handle a Royal Enfield marvelously, but at the same time I have seen a lot of people who can't really ride that great, yet learn how to ride and go buy themselves an RE just for the powerful rebellious manly feeling that they seek from riding it. I also meant that an RE just like most cruisers, does not really demand as much from the rider as a sport bike does in terms of constant body movement and positioning and responses so it is quite obvious that many people who own them would not really know much about riding and simply appreciate the stability and thump of an RE. Obviously there are always exceptions to the norm like yourself which my statements allow for.

Alternatively, I myself hate Royal Enfields as I am a sportbike purist, so when I say that majority of people who ride them don't know how to ride, I could be exaggerating. BUT I have left space to assume that there is a minority of folks out there who may own any motorcycle but can ride extremely well. You will have to forgive me

Last edited by IshaanIan : 21st October 2017 at 10:56.
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Old 21st October 2017, 11:41   #9
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

This is an interesting case study of how Product Positioning really matters. IMO, Bajaj made the greatest possible mistake by trying to pitch the Dominar Brand against RE Brand, i.e. a new Brand against a 50 year old one with giant cult following. Don't get me wrong though, what the bike has to offer has nothing to do here. We all know that the Dominar a great bike.

But are RE fans looking for what the Dominar offers? Do they want all the tech it offers? Not likely, they just want the Bullet style and thump, which no other bike can give them. I think had this bike been positioned as a new segment (sporty, affordable, feature packed long distance cruiser - 400cc) sporting the original name CS400, it would have done much better and in fact sales might have increased as more and more new riders would realize the value of this segment. Plus it would have gone along with Bajaj's existing naming convention consisting of the NS, AS and RS Brands

Maybe then this bike would have attracted buyers of various segments due to its unique offering:

1) better comfort and cheaper than a 390 duke
2) better performance and features than RE or Mojo
3) more powerful than r15

...so on and so forth.

hence yes, as mentioned in earlier posts, it is indeed sad to see such a great bike not being viewed at its best by prospective buyers just because of wrong positioning.
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Old 21st October 2017, 13:53   #10
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

When this thread came up, I casually looked at the Bajaj Dominar thread (Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400) and BHPian Ricci's post (Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400) wasn't unusual. They still lack the finesse to provide a niggle free product. Plus, I happened to speak with few consumers who had approx 1.5L budget for a motorcycle, 2 went for it and others didn't. Reason : They are never sure when BAL will pull the plug on it. They have been doing this, XCD, BYK, Scooter range, Pulsar AS. There are many more examples. Parts supply is an issue as well with so many models and color combos and a upgrade every year or at an alternate year.

Look at TVS, they have better finished products in comparison to Bajaj.

- P-180 V1 rider ['03 - '06]
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Old 21st October 2017, 15:49   #11
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
.

it. I also meant that an RE just like most cruisers, does not really demand as much from the rider as a sport bike does in terms of constant body movement and positioning and responses so it is quite obvious that many people who own them would not really know much about riding and simply appreciate the stability and thump of an RE. D
Disagree 200%!

I can take a corner half-asleep on an RC390/D390/R15/Gixxer SF/FZ25, but to do the same speed, taking the same line on a bullet requires 100% attention.

Its a myth that bullets are easy to ride. And yes, they are easy to ride on straight lines, but who needs skills to go straight?!

PS: I have owned a bullet, rode the crap out of it. That 99% thing you told is exaggeration. We are people who had bullets because we had no other choice in the 90s. I know many hardcore bulleteers who can shame ktms on curves.

So as in any population, there are skilled bullet riders and unskilled sportsbike riders.
Back to topic, Dominar is a way superior product than any bullet. And i also disagree bullets have aspirational value. To me, bullet is as aspirational as a Hero splendor.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 21st October 2017 at 15:54.
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Old 21st October 2017, 19:27   #12
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
The Bajaj Domineer 400 was launched amidst a lot of enthusiasm in the Indian market. It was speculated that the bike would keep up with Bajaj's tradition of VFM products, while also offering an alternative to the RE thunderbird range, thus ending its monopoly in the Indian market.
Yes the Dominar 400 is a great product that is VFM but Bajaj hasnt helped matters by
1. Taking far too long to get the bike into the market
2. Positioning it wrongly from day 1 with the attention on its headlights rather than its long distance cruising and then switching strategy within 6 months. What a disaster!

In comparison the Pulsar and other Bajaj products boasted of strong brand building from the beginning (remember the Definitely Male and Hoodibaba campaigns?) that helped drive sales consistently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
The Dominar hasn't been introduced across smaller towns and Tier 3 cities, which Bajaj speculates might be a reason for the sales figures.
How much would sales of the Dominar really pick up if they pushed the bike in smaller towns and Tier 3 cities on a war footing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Its a myth that bullets are easy to ride. And yes, they are easy to ride on straight lines, but who needs skills to go straight?!
Drag racers !

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Back to topic, Dominar is a way superior product than any bullet. And i also disagree bullets have aspirational value. To me, bullet is as aspirational as a Hero splendor.
To you, yes, the Bullets may have no aspirational value. 70,431 buyers of Royal Enfield's bikes just in the month of September 2017 might have something to say about the aspirational value of their bikes though!

Source - https://auto.ndtv.com/news/two-wheel...r-cent-1757354
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Old 21st October 2017, 20:55   #13
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
To you, yes, the Bullets may have no aspirational value. 70,431 buyers of Royal Enfield's bikes just in the month of September 2017 might have something to say about the aspirational value of their bikes though!

Source - https://auto.ndtv.com/news/two-wheel...r-cent-1757354
By your logic, Hero bikes have more aspirational value. They just sold 7.2 lakh units in the same month, 10 times!

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/bus...units-4872743/
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Old 21st October 2017, 21:25   #14
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

People may not agree, but Dominar has almost no poser value if you take headlight out of the equation. Bike is just too understated for a 400. Only hardcore bikers judge a bike on specs and how it actually feels, rest just see how fast it goes and how flashy it looks.

Finally flagship models from Bajaj always had some bragging rights with them, 150 was one of the best looking bike at that time, 180 had capacity advantage over bikes like apache and was priced close to 150cc's and finally Pulsar 220, the fastest Indian tag attached to it.

Does Dominar has any of this, NO! is it a good package for the price, definite yes!!!!
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Old 21st October 2017, 22:02   #15
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Default Re: Bajaj overestimating Dominar 400 sales?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
By your logic, Hero bikes have more aspirational value. They just sold 7.2 lakh units in the same month, 10 times!

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/bus...units-4872743/
Since you brought up Hero, yes, their bikes have aspirational value in the Indian middle class! But we digress from the point of this thread.


Coming back to the top offering from Bajaj, the Dominar appears to lack the emotional connect and appeal that its well entrenched competitors have. And thats primarily due to its dismal marketing strategy. Bajaj's knee jerk reaction was to poke fun at Royal Enfield / Harley Davidson / Bajaj Avenger riding groups through its advertisement but other than a whole bunch of Facebook posts and whatsapp forwards, most importantly it hasnt translated into solid sales numbers.


I suspect that Bajaj will only see serious sales numbers with the next iteration of the Dominar. With a possible combination of flashier colours, less niggles and true to Bajaj's recent form, Laser Edge graphics, they should see a lot of bookings if they back the product update with a good TVC that hopefully sets the tone for the Dominar line up going forward.


The other possibility that most of us havent really brought up is that the market for touring motorcycles may not be as big as everyone thought it would be. Not all buyers of RE bikes are tourers, many of them remain in the safe confines of the urban environment. For people "upgrading" to the bikes above say the 150-200 cc mark, tourers even have the option of the capable Mahindra Mojo which has done quite well for itself in bigger cities. For those who own bikes in the above 150-200 cc segment, the Dominar may not offer enough for them to sell their current bike (say CBR250, D390, TB500) and go the Bajaj route at this stage. Great bike but wrong timing?
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