A name for the motorcycle should suit what the motorcycle is made for. In the case of the Dominar 400, was it better off as the Pulsar CS 400?

Pulsar CS400
Bajaj named their 400cc offering as the Pulsar CS 400 initially

Naming a motorcycle is essential and so is the fact that the same name should go hand in hand with the motorcycle’s characteristics, as in the name should suit what the motorcycle is made for. Say for instance, the Ducati Multistrada and the Ducati Multistrada Enduro. The name Enduro itself tells what the Ducati Multistrada Enduro is capable of- an any-terrain endurable motorcycle. Now let me get to the heart of the matter, would the Dominar 400 sell if it was called or branded the Pulsar CS 400?

There are reasons why Bajaj didn’t brand the Dominar as the Pulsar and Bajaj in all respects was right in naming the Dominar, the Dominar. It all started when Bajaj showcased the Dominar 400 at the 2014 Auto Expo as the Pulsar CS 400 Concept. From the very beginning, Bajaj didn’t seem clear as to what to call the new 373cc motorcycle but probably for the sake of naming it, called it the Pulsar CS 400 back then.

However, the Pulsar CS 400 after some point in time became Pulsar VS 400 and then Kratos VS 400. But due to patent issues, Bajaj couldn’t bring the Kratos name on the table. However, since Bajaj intended to make a motorcycle that dominated the roads, the name Dominar suits it the best. Bajaj could have branded the Dominar as the Pulsar owing to the wide popularity that the Pulsar brand enjoys across the country.

Butttttt, would it have sold any better than what the current Dominar sells? I feel it could have mainly because of two reasons, one as I just told above – the wide popularity and acceptance that the Pulsar brand enjoys and two, the Pulsar brand has been selling in the Indian market for over a decade, and the highest capacity Pulsar that Bajaj ever gave us was a 220cc. A 400cc Pulsar would have made sense as Pulsar owners who wanted to upgrade their Pulsars, needed a bigger capacity Pulsar.

Bajaj could have cashed in on the Pulsar brand and sold it in more numbers, but Bajaj didn’t want to just make money out of this motorcycle and had its eyes clearly set on Royal Enfields selling in that segment. In order to compete against them, Bajaj had to give a different name and the name Dominar fits the bill. Remember Rajiv Bajaj’s statement about a Pulsar competing with a Royal Enfield will just not be accepted and hence the need for a new brand.

Bajaj didn’t want to make the Dominar an out and out performance machine, as the KTM Duke 390 is already one. The Dominar borrows the powerplant from the Duke 390, and since it is Bajaj that takes care of the KTM brand here in India, Bajaj did not want two identical offerings from the same stable.

The Dominar 400 was expected to retail around 9000-10,000 units a month but is only selling approximately 2700 units a month including exports. However, Bajaj doesn’t seem to be worried, as it has managed to grab a share from the segment in which Royal Enfields dominate. Being a newer brand, it does take some time for the brand to build on. Bajaj is expected to launch another variant of the Dominar (a Scrambler to be precise) and will try to achieve that target of 9000-10,000 units a month.

Pulsar CS 400

– Bajaj initially showcased the Dominar 400 as the Pulsar CS 400 at the 2014 Auto Expo
– Bajaj then went on to name the Pulsar CS 400 as Pulsar VS 400 and then Kratos VS 400 and then Dominar 400
– The Dominar sells approximately 2700 units a month including exports

Dominar 400 Review
Dominar was meant to compete with Royal Enfield, hence the Pulsar badge wasn’t used