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Bajaj Dominar Posing A Formidable Challenge To Royal Enfield

The Pune-based two-wheeler manufacturer sold around 3,082 units in the segment in February compared with 2,628 units sold by Royal Enfield in the same month

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Bajaj Auto’s recent launch, the Dominar 400 has been very well received in the market and if the latest numbers are anything to by, it has eaten a significance chunk of Royal Enfield’s share in the 350-cc-plus motorcycle segment.

The Pune-based two-wheeler manufacturer sold around 3,082 units in the segment in February compared with 2,628 units sold by Royal Enfield in the same month.

According to data available with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), RE’s sales in the 350-cc-plus motorcycle segment declined by 35 per cent in the period under review. The company had sold 4,053 units in February 2016. However, RE still has the lion’s share in the domestic premium bike market.

Eric Vas, president of motorcycle business at Bajaj Auto, revealed that 20 per cent of Dominar 400 buyer's own a Royal Enfield.

"We have already overtaken Royal Enfield in the segment. They used to sell an average of 5,000 units a month until a few months ago. Some have sold it to buy Dominar and some have bought it as their second bike," Vas said to Business Standard.

Bajaj launched the Dominar, a 373cc premium sports motorcycle, in December at Rs 1.36 lakh.

In the coming months, Bajaj has set a target to sell 10,000 units (including exports) of Dominar per month. At present, Bajaj Auto is retailing the Dominar in 32 cities, and the number will be expanded to 100 dealerships by the end of March 2017 and to 200 dealerships by April 2017. If Bajaj succeeds in achieving 10,000 units per month in the next 4-5 months, it will surely have a big impact on the 350cc plus segment. But that’s not all.

Recent news coming from Bajaj reports that the company will launch more bikes in the sub 500cc segment. In an interview to MoneyControl, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto said, "We would like to introduce more and more products in the Dominar range, in the Rs 1-2 lakh price range. We have some very active plans for this and in the next 2-3 months we should be able to make some important announcement on this."

Bajaj also said that the company may refresh their Pulsar and Avenger range. He said, "There is going to be action in the existing brands. There will be lots of action this year and next. So definitely the Pulsar and Avenger brands are very important for us and there will be more attention there to increase the business of both the brands." In the mass volume generating 100 cc segment, Bajaj said that he sees no future in it.

The sub-500 cc motorcycle segment which is growing in strong double digit is attraction attention of OEMs. German auto giant BMW will soon introduce its sub-500 cc naked motorcycle which has been jointly developed with TVS. While the BMW G310R will be a naked motorcycle, TVS will bring out a fully-faired version, which is expected to be priced around Rs 2 lakh.

However, the growing number of players in the segment where RE holds more than 90 per cent of the market share is not bothering the bullet maker. Siddhartha Lal, managing director and chief executive officer of Eicher Motors (parent company of Royal Enfield) in a recent interview said, "When one succeeds in a segment, others try to enter and take a bite. Of course, there will be competition but we are not worried."


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