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Old 4th December 2018, 09:59   #46
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

Thanks for your well thought out analysis. This is what makes TBHP so enriching. My two bits on the matter;

A comparative strategy is a staple for a late entrant. The way to do it is to highlight a feature of existing brands that customers do not like or identify a new segment altogether and then give it all. That explains the 'Haathi Mat Paalo' jibe at the Enfields!

Bajaj had a lot of strategies going for their motorcycles. Discover was doing well as a 125 offering, but launching too many variants diluted the brand. This is the learning Bajaj got from the episode and did not want to repeat it with the Pulsar portfolio.

Dominar has all the making of a new brand. New shape, a new heart, new features and your average 'motorcycle buying Joe' will not care if the engine is KTM derived or Pulsar derived as long as it meets his expectations of smoothness and other efficiencies.

Don't forget that Bajaj has Avenger firmly entrenched in the cruiser segment. So Dominar couldn't have taken that positioning. The more I think of it the more things are apparent, and Bajaj's mistakes with regards to positioning/strategy just stand out.

Another thing I'm not clear about is the Vikrant bike. Did it add to Bajaj in some way or was it pure emotion? Another probable mistake was withdrawing from the Scooter segment where it was 'generic' for decades. They gave up too fast.

Look at Hero Destini 125. It does all things Activa, but better...with improved suspension and features. Now it's too late to re-enter the scooter segment for Bajaj.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
Going back to the Dominar launch, if only Bajaj had rightly piggybacked on the very strong Pulsar branding, I'm sure their sales story would have been very very different.
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Old 4th December 2018, 10:53   #47
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

Sebring, you bring out some excellent points in your post. Sharing my thoughts on some of them


- With regard to Bajaj's overall strategy, yes they have a lot of brands, each with its own story but to an end consumer like me, what does Bajaj stand for? We have the CT100, Boxer and Platina brands at the lower end of the segment, the Discover in the mid segment, the Pulsar, Avenger, Vikrant at the upper end and the Dominar at the top end. That's a lot of brands and to confuse things even more, Bajaj's innumerable variants of each bike mean that the segments overlap with each other on and off. End result is each brand is diluted which in turn dilutes the Bajaj brand as well. That said, I havent been in a Bajaj showroom in ages and havent seen if, and how, the variants of each brand overlap each other on price.


-I liked how the Vikrant brand spun a patriotic and strong message from day 1 but at the end of the day, it was fated (doomed even?) to compete against the Discovers and Avengers and Pulsars within Bajaj's own stable. If you wanted a 150 cc Bajaj, at one time in 2018, you could choose between the Boxer 150, Avenger 150, V15 and Pulsar 150. All in the same showroom! There is a very real problem of offering too much choice as well.


- Coming to the Dominar, Bajaj made the mistake of bringing themselves down to a me too competitor by targetting the competition too early in its lifecycle. If I were a late entrant into the washing powder market and my product had no differentiation, my first step would be to show how I clean clothers 10% better than the rest. Bajaj didnt need to follow the same strategy because the Dominar is a strong product in itself. With say 4 - 5 years of steady sales under its belt, it could have gone ahead and said hey, our bikes go around India faster and easier than the competition. That credibility and track record was missing when it went after the competition.


- Sticking to the Dominar, my big question to enthusiasts and Bajaj is what next? Build the brand by going down to 220 cc only? Or 220, 200, 180, 150 and 125 cc? And try to exist against the other brands in Bajaj showrooms? Or wait for the KTM 790 to launch and then Bajajify (not a real word but you know what I mean) the platform to launch the Dominar 800? But that would mean that the Pulsar would be the #2 brand and will have to remain below the Domainar 400 in terms of engine capacity. That could be a terrible move for Bajaj.


- Back to the Pulsars, again what next for Bajaj? Its been stuck in the 150, 180, 200, 220 cc segments for far too long. As the company and brand that virtually created the affordable performance segment, its been relatively lethargic in the last few years. It needs to go up in displacement to survive in the long term. Why not the 250cc engine from the Duke 250? Maybe the RS250? Followed the NS / AS 250? Bajaj is unfortunately being held down by the sales success of the ageing Pulsar 220 and that cannot be a reasonable long term strategy.
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Old 4th December 2018, 11:45   #48
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

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Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
The question is why is the customer not buying the Dominar ?

I've laid out my hypothesis related to mixed messaging over time that diluted the Dominar brand's values (though they have now isolated their biggest strength which is touring, better late than never). The Dominar branding itself was probably a mistake in hindsight but that's another discussion for another time.

Quite simple:

Q: What are they buying instead?

Ans: CLASSIC 350

Q: Why?

Ans: What else gives you more Street Cred/Visibility/Audibility at Rs. 1.7 Lakhs in India? (that ear splitting exhaust mod helps a great deal as well)

Smoothness, Reliability can all go down the drain.. also the DOMINAR being extremely difficult to make out from the rear that whether its another Pulsar on the road, doesn't exactly help.

Customers don't think of BRAND VALUES and BRAND ETHOS. They don't think so deep. All they want is the Best Bang for their Buck. And at Rs. 1.7 Lakhs, the customers definitely want to stand out/get noticed in a crowd.

Last edited by payeng : 4th December 2018 at 12:07.
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Old 4th December 2018, 12:03   #49
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Even though - as a product - Dominar was much more competent and better positioned for the Indian market needs IMO.
Speaking as a person who is on the short side, on the lookout for a largely urban commuter + occasional tourer and having ridden both recently, I would just say that the fact that the Fz25 is cheaper by around 40K, far easier to handle esp. in urban conditions because it is lighter by around 23 kgs and with a slightly more accessible seat height (795-FZ, 800-Dom) may have something to do with it. The FZ was also a lot less vibey than the D400. So though the FZ does not have ABS, for city driving it seems to be fine. Simply put the big D is more demanding of the rider.

IMO the Dom is a great VFM product but should not be compared to the FZ25 which probably appeals to someone looking for a different product.

Last edited by bevivek : 4th December 2018 at 12:20.
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Old 4th December 2018, 18:33   #50
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post

- Back to the Pulsars, again what next for Bajaj? Its been stuck in the 150, 180, 200, 220 cc segments for far too long. As the company and brand that virtually created the affordable performance segment, its been relatively lethargic in the last few years. It needs to go up in displacement to survive in the long term. Why not the 250cc engine from the Duke 250? Maybe the RS250? Followed the NS / AS 250? Bajaj is unfortunately being held down by the sales success of the ageing Pulsar 220 and that cannot be a reasonable long term strategy.
My observations are that
1) Common people are not OK to buy Bajaj's costing more than 1.5L. In case of Bajaj, People see KTM to be the premium segment rather than Bajaj as an offering.

2) Look at P220 sales vs RS200 sales. Its few thousands more, but still the value offering is enormous. A well faired, liquid cooled, 6 cog, triple spark, ABS, etc with all new chassis (or platform) compared to not so modern engineered machine with specifics mentioned for RS200. I understand these two should be looked at different segments considering even the pricing. But my observation is that, when the pricing goes beyond a threshold, people are not able to attach it to the "brand value".

3) If R15 with its ergonomics can make 15K per month, RS200 could go above atleast 8K consistently. I am not sure all the people buying R15 knows about VVA, the new language of Yamaha R breed, etc, etc and then chose this. They see value/branding attached to R15 even when it goes well over 1.5L. If we get exact breakdown between P180, ns200 & RS200, we can understand this better.One more case could be Duke 200. Duke 200 for the first time crossed 3K numbers, Dominar couldn't do half of it at similar pricing.

4) We have seen hyundai verna older version didn't click but the new gen become superhit. That could be a good case study for bajaj to see how they can bring in premium branding to their logo. Till then, I see, Bajaj has to keep their offerings less than the magical 1.5L-1.6L under cutting the Duke 200.

Last edited by Balaji31582 : 4th December 2018 at 18:40.
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Old 4th December 2018, 19:45   #51
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

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Originally Posted by Balaji31582 View Post
My observations are that
Wow, those are excellent perspectives indeed. I think you have hit the nail right on the head when you talk brand perception and pricing comfort when it comes to the low sales figures for the RS200. And now that you bring it up, I could not locate the RS200 numbers in the sales figures, I wonder if it is clubbed with the Pulsar 180 and NS200.


The R15 V3 is a good but not great product in itself. Fit and finish is not too good. There is no ABS. These were widely acknowledged by automotive journalists at the time of the bikes launch. There is the question of the tank being not sturdy and flexing with pressure, as reported by many users. Like you said, it does 15,000 units a month at that price which is very impressive and most owners I see, are young (early 20s) but still dont know to ride it properly (arms straight as an arrow with no comfort). This used to be the crowd that lapped up the Pulsars without a second thought say 5 years ago.


The other aspect is, incomes have gone up and the middle middle class and lower middle class is very comfortable taking a two wheeler loan and buying a near 1 lac bike if they perceive value in it. For example, I see the assistant to a painter we know (the house wall painting kind, not the arty farty types) come to work on a Pulsar 200. That was unimaginable 10 years ago but they see value in a 200cc bike they perceive is priced right.


If Bajaj has shoehorned themselves into this Rs 1.5 - 1.6 L price range, how will they move up the ladder with more expensive (and profitable) offerings? Or will they have to concede that to the other players and hope the KTMs draw enough to keep their bean counters happy?
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Old 5th December 2018, 02:41   #52
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

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Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post


If Bajaj has shoehorned themselves into this Rs 1.5 - 1.6 L price range, how will they move up the ladder with more expensive (and profitable) offerings? Or will they have to concede that to the other players and hope the KTMs draw enough to keep their bean counters happy?
1) I think, they are in right direction with the rumours of dominar facelift. When they keep offering a product with consistent quality level improvements, at one point of time the market will start embracing it. Ofcourse, with correct variables of service cost, spares reliability and targeted audience. But that transient time decides whether its a super duper hit or a gradual evolution.

2) The evolution of TATA for sometime now makes us to think that they are finally here where most of us expected them to be at No.2 right from the start (early 2000) given the wealth of resources they had. Hence this case study falls under gradual evolution. Whereas, hyundai's transition from santro, getz lineup to i10, i20, verna, creta is seen as superhit because it happened as quick as possible and in more predictive ways. I wish bajaj goes by the hyundai way as they remain the trendsetter for us so far.

3) When I had the first gen DTSi P180, bajaj used to have the probiking center. I still remember that probiking centers were unique and not across all the showrooms. If I got a model from probiking, it meant some added value of performance. P150 was never sold as part of probiking. P180,P200,P220 were sold. I was 23 at that time and I know even people with 40+ brought P180 as it was just 3K more than P150 but the value offering was more in terms of performance. These centers were converted to KTM dealerships slowly. What Bajaj lost in that transition was the brand it created for its aura for performance oriented segment. Launching Pulsar 135 further added to misery. Atleast for me, Pulsar at one point of time was a bigger brand than Bajaj itself. They should bring back ProBiking with all ns 200, RS200, Dominor lineup alone. Launching NS160 will dilute this. I don't see our people going for performance with less cc bikes. The common mindset of our market is to associate performance with cc's except for REs and the RXs This could change if more models similar to Duke 125 gets introduced but with correct pricing.
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Old 5th December 2018, 03:35   #53
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Default Re: October 2018: Two Wheeler Sales Figures & Analysis

To me, Bajaj has always been a maverick. If I were to advise them on the future course of things, I'd say do the unexpected. Don't ignore scooters. Launch KTM branded performance scooters. NTORQ and Aprila kind of performance scooters are right up their alley. Launch cruiser scooters with new branding, (like the Burgman), in that segment. These are all vacant pockets they can fill. Scooters are 50% of the market and growing.
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Old 6th December 2018, 00:05   #54
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Originally Posted by Balaji31582 View Post
1) I think, they are in right direction with the rumours of dominar facelift. When they keep offering a product with consistent quality level improvements, at one point of time the market will start embracing it. Ofcourse, with correct variables of service cost, spares reliability and targeted audience. But that transient time decides whether its a super duper hit or a gradual evolution.
Yes, a Dominar face lift might be what is required along with making a bunch of touring accessories available right off the shelf. A Bajaj equivalent of the Mojo Tourer Edition. And they definitely need to get rid of that rear tail lamp section which screams of it's sister brand's heritage, as Payeng rightly pointed out. It cant pretend to be the Dominar when it looks like a grown up Pulsar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balaji31582 View Post
2) The evolution of TATA for sometime now makes us to think that they are finally here where most of us expected them to be at No.2 right from the start (early 2000) given the wealth of resources they had. Hence this case study falls under gradual evolution. Whereas, hyundai's transition from santro, getz lineup to i10, i20, verna, creta is seen as superhit because it happened as quick as possible and in more predictive ways. I wish bajaj goes by the hyundai way as they remain the trendsetter for us so far.
My family owned a Tata Indica V2 and it was a pile of junk. I couldnt wait for my dad to sell it and move on. We were sure we would never buy a Tata again but years later, Tata has taken the game forward with so many great products that we even considered buying a Tata Hexa recently. Bajaj needs a few big launches to get back in the game and be top of the mind when most enthusiasts think bike upgrades.


The only challenge is I dont see anything in the pipeline for Bajaj right now. Surely they cannot introduce another brand in the sub 1.5 L category. Sharing engines like they have done has backfired. They have to slowly push their way up the ladder and move to the Rs 1.5 L to 2 L segment with newer and better offerings. Hence the RS 250 suggestion. Or at a later point in time, even the RS 400 which can be placed slightly above the Dominar to move higher up the price range.


And as much as it appears as though Im picking on Bajaj, I really do want them to thrive. And I say this not just as a Gen 1 Pulsar 150 owner. A successful Bajaj will make the competition pull their socks up and as customers all of us will benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balaji31582 View Post
3) When I had the first gen DTSi P180, bajaj used to have the probiking center. I still remember that prob
iking centers were unique and not across all the showrooms. If I got a model from probiking, it meant some added value of performance. P150 was never sold as part of probiking. P180,P200,P220 were sold. I was 23 at that time and I know even people with 40+ brought P180 as it was just 3K more than P150 but the value offering was more in terms of performance. These centers were converted to KTM dealerships slowly. What Bajaj lost in that transition was the brand it created for its aura for performance oriented segment. Launching Pulsar 135 further added to misery. Atleast for me, Pulsar at one point of time was a bigger brand than Bajaj itself. They should bring back ProBiking with all ns 200, RS200, Dominor lineup alone. Launching NS160 will dilute this. I don't see our people going for performance with less cc bikes. The common mindset of our market is to associate performance with cc's except for REs and the RXs This could change if more models similar to Duke 125 gets introduced but with correct pricing.
I totally forgot about the Pro Biking stores Its a great idea to bring that back once a few new launches have been sorted out. I would also simplify the product line up to re-position the brands.


Once again you are bang on target when you say the value that the Pulsar 180 brought was perceived to be more because of the low price differential. Today that value perception stops at the Pulsar 220 as customers look up the ladder of offerings from Bajaj.


P.S - I think the R15 has pushed the market acceptance of what a low capacity motorcycle can successfully command (admittedly on the back of 10 years of R15's success). I think Aprilia can swoop in with its mini RSV4 styling and relative success of the sporty SR150 scooter, push the 150 cc performance market upwards in price and sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebring View Post
To me, Bajaj has always been a maverick. If I were to advise them on the future course of things, I'd say do the unexpected. Don't ignore scooters. Launch KTM branded performance scooters. NTORQ and Aprila kind of performance scooters are right up their alley. Launch cruiser scooters with new branding, (like the Burgman), in that segment. These are all vacant pockets they can fill. Scooters are 50% of the market and growing.
Kinetic brought in an exciting range of (7?) Italijet scooters way back when that was a decade or two ahead of its time. Bajaj can easily get into the performance segment of the scooter market and take on the Aprilia SR 150. And then branch out into the other segments with Burgman like products as well. Every scooter doesnt have to be an Activa lookalike. Surely Bajaj can do 10,000 to 15,000 units a month from the scooter segment with a relatively competent offering.
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