Apache vs Akula: Which one would have you used?
Basically, two BIG developments have happened in recent times, from the houses of two of the biggest domestic players. Both Bajaj and TVS ventured into the higher capacity space with Dominar 400 and Apache RR 310 respectively. While Bajaj considered introducing an all-new brand for their biggest-yet, TVS chose to stick with the established Apache brand. So, what is the ploy…
Bajaj – Pulsar vs Dominar
Bajaj probably believes that the Pulsar brand could not have invigorated the ‘big’ bike image of their biggest motorcycle or in other words – people may not have liked riding a 400cc motorcycle which also has a 135 cc sibling! Moreover, they have truckloads of Pulsars starting right from 135 cc (which I believe was a mistake) all the way upto their Pulsar 220 (and 5-6 other Pulsars in between). Now, imagine a new set of machines using the same 375 cc engine (obviously there will be more, many more!) with the brand name Pulsar, what confusion would it have created among the buyers (and record keepers 😉 ).
Hence, they chose the harder way of launching an altogether a new brand and taking all the pain to establish it. I still believe if Dominar 400 would have been ‘Pulsar CS400’ it would have sold more! Whenever I am astride a Dominar (mostly in the state capital -Bhopal), 50 percent of people fail to identify the motorcycle. Often I have been asked – “Which motorcycle is that; Honda/Pulsar hai kya?“. And when I say ‘Dominar’ they are clueless of what have I uttered. And this is after about two years of its official launch!
What will be their ploy with the upcoming motorcycles they will make along with Triumph is a food for thought…
TVS – Apache vs Akula
On the other hand, TVS showcased their biggest motorcycle under the concept name of ‘Akula’ (which means shark) and launched it under the Apache banner. See, TVS had only three Apache motorcycles then (160, 180 and 200) and their strategy is not to introduce faired and non-faired versions of the same motorcycle with negligible changes and differentiate them with alphabets. So, for them it was relatively easier to project the 310 as an (bigger) Apache.
Arun Siddharth, VP, Marketing at TVS Racing, in an interview to Autocar Professional said that ‘Apache’ brand for them signifies racing and the RR310 carries over the same genes and hence complicating things with a new brand name was unnecessary. He also elaborated that once they have a product with different target group they will be open to opting for a new brand.
“Frankly, there are two reasons behind this decision — brand architecture and product specifications. From the brand architecture point of view, which is the more important part, we have always asked ourselves ‘What is it that the brand stands for?’
The Apache brand is always going to be about racing. So if this bike (RR310) is a sports bike and behaves like a racing bike, it is meant to take our racing programme to the next level, just like we are taking it to the next level in off-road with Dakar (rally). Apache stands for racing. Why complicate things unnecessarily with a new brand name?
The moment there is a different consumer benefit then, maybe, yes we will think about a different brand, which will have to stand for something else but racing. We are totally open to that.”
It must be known that TVS has revealed that they will not want to make an Adventure version out of their Apache 310 but what will be interesting is the branding they choose for the production version of the Zeppelin cruiser...