The Bajaj Dominar 400 sold 1,352 units in July 2017. August 2017 numbers haven’t been revealed yet. The bike has never sold over 3,500 units/month over the 9 months it’s been on sale in India. Yet, Rajiv Bajaj, the managing director of Bajaj Auto says that the Dominar is doing great. Here’s why.
According to Mr. Bajaj, the company is aiming at 10,000 units/month by the end of this year. We still have four months to go for. What most people didn’t realize though is that the 10,000 unit/month target Bajaj is aiming at includes export numbers, and not just domestic sales alone.
Mr. Bajaj says that the Dominar is doing about 4,000 units/month currently, and this includes exports. He anticipates that the bike will soon manage 6,000-7,000 units/month. But even so, the original target of 10,000 units/month may not really materialize by the end of this year.
According to Mr. Bajaj, here are some reasons why the Dominar 400 isn’t doing as well as his company expected it to,
- Royal Enfield has a ‘huge headstart‘ over Bajaj. The Dominar is a fresh brand, and is taking on established competition, in this case Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield has been around for more than 60 years in India, but the Dominar is less than a year old.
- Bajaj isn’t selling the Dominar ‘cheap’. The bike is commanding the same price as ‘others’, which in this case refers to Royal Enfield’s Classic 350 range.
- The Dominar is trying to displace an established brand, a feat that even Honda has not managed (The CBR250R is essentially a flop), and TVS Motors has not even entered this segment.
But do these points Mr. Bajaj is making hold up?
- Partly yes. Talking brand comparisons, the Dominar should be compared with the Classic sub-brand rather than Royal Enfield. The Classic (introduced) has been around for about 7 years. Considering that, the Dominar is still quite young as a brand. Moreover, Bajaj is even older than Royal Enfield as a brand. It was established in 1945, while Enfield arrived in 1949.
- No. The Dominar is extremely affordable. It is the cheapest 350+ cc bike sold in India. And it offers much better value. So, Bajaj has indeed played the price card with the Dominar. This said, Bajaj Auto may still be spinning a fat profit on the bike, and maybe Mr. Bajaj is referring to his company not losing money due to the pricing.
- Not really. The Honda CBR 250R is a completely different model (a sports tourer), aimed at a different set of riders. If anything, the Dominar can be compared to the CBR 250R rather than the Classic 350. The Classic 350 buyer is completely different from the Dominar 400 buyer. Except for their similar prices, the Classic 350 and Dominar 400 have nothing in common. It was Bajaj who began comparing the Dominar with the Classic, and this is perhaps why the expectations are sky high.
Way forward for the Dominar?
- Exports. Bajaj is betting big on exporting the Dominar not just to emerging markets such as Colombia and Indonesia but also to developed markets in Poland, Spain, UK, Czech, and perhaps even Australia. If the Dominar is well accepted in these markets, it could easily double or even triple numbers.
- Variants. There’s been talk of Bajaj adding an Adventure variant to the Dominar range, and this is something that fits nicely with the ‘sports touring’ focus on the bike. India is currently underserved in this segment. So, this is definitely a space that the Dominar’s adventure variant can occupy, and boost volumes.