Friday, April 20, 2018

Modenas & Bajaj's Latest Collaboration - The MODENAS Dominar D400 Sports Tourer is Set To Add More Spice To The Malaysian Motorcycle Market

Motosikal dan Enjin Nasional Sdn Bhd (MODENAS) has their launched the highly anticipated MODENAS Dominar D400 sports tourer. This is the fourth motorcycle to be launched under Modenas's tie up with India motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj. The first three being the highly popular Modenas Pulsar 200 (NS200 and RS200) series and V15 street bike model. The Dominar D400 is aimed at bringing the sports touring culture to Malaysia by offering the combination of satisfying power for short sprints and smooth power delivery for long distance touring as well as the all important affordable price factor in one package. 

Modenas wants to make a change in terms of what it once was - an underbone or 'kapchai' motorcycle manufacturer. With bikes like the Pulsar series and the V15, the perception has started to change as right now, Modenas has actually captured 23% market share in the street bike segment. Now, they are moving upwards but still keeping prices as low as possible owning to principal Bajaj's philosophy as giving the best at the right price. With the new Dominar, it seems possible as the entry price for a 400cc bike is only RM15,900 and right now, Modenas has an early bird offer of RM13,800 till further notice (which they have not announced).

The Modenas Dominar D400 is based on one of the best 400cc bikes in India - the Bajaj Dominar 400. Modenas has decided to keep the name as it is basically used in the region (the Philippines and Indonesia also have the Dominar) and familiarity is always a good thing. The Dominar D400 is powered by a liquid-cooled 373 cc, four-valve engine with digital triple spark ignition (DTS-i) (Most likely long life plugs which will not be too worrying in terms of cost) and fuel injection. It makes 35 hp at 8,000 rpm and 35Nm torque. 28 Nm of the total available torque of 35 Nm is available at 3,000 rpm, which should make it a smooth ride due to the available torque or pulling power lower down the rev range.

The engine is paired with a six-speed transmission with a slipper clutch and equipped with dual channel ABS to deliver outstanding performance, handling and safety. The suspension comprises telescopic 43mm forks at the front and a multi-step adjustable mono-shock at the rear which would allow some fine tuning to suit the rider. With a curb weight of 182 kg and fuel tank capacity of 13 litres, the Dominar D400 is ideal for both short sprints and long tours. It would make a good street bike too aside from being touted as a sports tourer.

Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Operating Officer – Automotive Distribution, Defence, Manufacturing & Engineering, DRB-HICOM Berhad (photo below, centre) said, “The demand for street bikes is set to grow with the increasing preference amongst youth who enjoy carving out a fast-paced lifestyle for themselves. The success of the Pulsar and the V15 in our local market has reinforced our belief that it is right time to provide this new offering which will undoubtedly enrich the riding experience of the average Malaysian motorcycle enthusiast,” 

Dinesh Kulkarni, Vice President, Bajaj Auto Limited (above, right), who was also present at the launch mentioned that the Dominar D400 was built to offer a superb touring experience and it currently has a growing base of satisfied owners across the globe; from Latin America and Europe to South Asia and now, Southeast Asia.

“Recently, the Dominar D400 successfully completed one of the world’s longest (motorcycle) journeys, the Trans-Siberian Odyssey covering 15,000 km in 53 days. The journey from Uzbekistan to Russia, which passed through six countries, was successfully completed without a single breakdown and showcased the bike’s comfort and power and its pedigree as a true a sports tourer,” he said.

The MODENAS Dominar D400 is predicted to bring about a change like the the Pulsar NS200 naked street bike, RS200 race bike and the retro-styled V15. These bikes and now the Dominar have and will make a change towards the perception of what the public has of Modenas. It wants to be seen as a maker of sports bikes rather than underbone or kapchais. As stated by Dinesh Kulkarni, Bajaj reinvented themselves years ago and came out from being a maker of small, underbone bikes and scooters. They had decided to produce more sportier bikes so that they could have a niche which is slightly different. Now, Modenas are following in their footsteps. It is usually a dream of many small motorcycle owners to upgrade to a larger bike and Modenas wants to be seen as the go-to bike when that upgrade happens. 

Their new strategy has paid off. Since the launch of the three Bajaj-Modenas bikes, Modenas have sold a combined total of more than 4,500 units since their launch in May 2017, enabling MODENAS to capture 23% of the market in the 250 cc and below street bike segment. In the financial year 2017/18, MODENAS sold more than 41,800 units, a 47% increase compared to the financial year 2016/17. 

It seems Modenas is back on track again with these new launches. What some Malaysian bikers call 'Motosikal kari' or curry motorcycles due to their Indian origins are actually hitting the sweet spot with many of them. 

 Actual retail price 
 Early Bird Price

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