Is BMW the World’s New Leading Motorcycle Maker? - Motorcyclist Magazine
BMW is on the gas, developing in
novative new models, growing exponentially and generally leaving the rest of the recession-racked motor-cycle industry in the dust. The F800GS jump-started the mid-sized enduro market in 2008, the best-selling S1000RR now dominates the superbike segment (nearly 25 percent of global sportbike sales in 2010 went to BMW), and the new K1600GT appears ready to revolutionize luxury touring. Taking business risks has really paid off: BMW Motorrad production is now back to pre-recession numbers, with 2010 global sales up 12.3 percent (to 98,047 motorcycles), out-performing the car division in profitability.
And this is just the beginning. In an exclusive interview during the K1600GT launch in South Africa, BMW Motorrad president Hendrik von Kuenheim candidly and comprehensively detailed plans for BMW’s coming decade, including expansion into the scooter, cruiser and even electric-bike markets. Von Kuenheim intends to make BMW the world’s most vital and vibrant motorcycle manufacturer. With the major Japanese OEMs in a holding pattern due to the downturned economy and the recent earthquake and tsunami, there’s never been a better time for BMW to make this move.
After showing a superbike-styled Concept C maxi-scooter at the 2010 EICMA Expo, BMW is slated to enter the “Urban Commuter” market later this year with two models targeted at Yamaha’s best-selling T-Max. One is sport-oriented; the other built for comfort. Both will offer the most storage capacity of any scooter. “The classic motorcycle market will always exist for us,” von Kuenheim says, “but Urban Commuter products will be a substantial part of our business in the future.”