BMW Motorrad released yet another glowing sales report, as the German brand continues to build steam and market share in an otherwise luke warm and uncertain marketplace. Boasting a 1.8% worldwide sales increase in February and a 5.6% year-to-date (YTD) sales increase, BMW Motorrad has sold 12,078 motorcycles worldwide thus far in 2012. While the gains are modest at best, the news that BMW has found a way to grow despite the economy is something we have talked about ad nauseam. As such, I almost skipped this press release all together for our coverage, but then I saw a quote from Hendrik von Kuenheim, BMW Motorrad’s General Director.
“As seen at the global level, the trends on the motorcycle markets are very much mixed,” said von Kuenheim. “Whereas the South European markets are suffering under economic uncertainties, those in Germany, the USA, Brazil, and France are booming.” This quote highlights one of the more pertinent issues for BMW and premium motorcycle brands as a whole, the recession and its effect on motorcycle purchases is varying greatly over a number of demographic figures — not surprising, but worthy of some pondering.
On a geographic level, we can see countries hit harder than others (Hendrik von Kuenheim goes out of his way not to mention the Mediterranean countries by name). Even on a domestic level here in the United States we can a stratification of the rebound from the credit crisis by different socioeconomic groups. There are a lot of factors that go into the relative success that premium brands like BMW, Ducati, Triumph, and KTM have had here in the United States, but surely one of those factors surely has to be the core demographics of those brands.
What does that say about how this past recession has been different from previous ones, like say the .com bust? Does this change what we think of when we talk about the growth centers for premium motorcycle brands versus commodity-based brands? Does that change anything about brand engagement?
Source: BMW Motorrad