BMW Motorrad crushed it last year by posting its best sales year ever, and finishing in sales 6.4% over 2010. With the United States being one of BMW’s largest motorcycle markets, it comes as no surprise then that the German brand posted strong sales here in the US. Up 7.4% over last year, BMW Motorrad USA continues to weather the rough economy for the Bavarians, which is perhaps unsurprising considering how zie Germans have faired the past few years.
What is surprising though is which model topped BMW’s sales sheets, and in case you are blind and didn’t see this story’s headline, it was not the venerable GS. Taking the superbike fight straight to the Japan’s backyard, the BMW S1000RR again dominated sport bike sales again in 2011, and was BMW’s top-selling model across its whole motorcycle line-up (I’d love to see the profits per model on this though). Proof that when German engineering is coupled with Japanese pricing a consumer hit is born, the S1000RR should continue to be a potent bike in 2012, as BMW Motorrad has given the liter bike a mild update for its third year of production.
This statement comes from the consideration the the S1000RR’s biggest competition, the superbikes from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha, were either only mildly updated as well, or remain unchanged from their 2011-spec trim. Meanwhile the more premium-oriented superbike market will heat up as Ducati’s 1199 Panigale hits dealer floors. While BMW has always been like Ducati, in that the Bavarian brand enjoys a robust lifestyle component to its marketing image, we have yet to see if BMW can apply the same polish to the S1000RR, and resonate more than just a tw0-wheeled vehicle to its consumers.
I chastised Honda a few weeks ago for failing to leverage any sort of meaningful brand communication to its riders, picking specifically on its sport bike movements and failed opportunities with the RC51 v-twin superbike. I wonder if anyone at BMW was listening to that argument, because I can see the S1000RR at a critical juncture in time where BMW can really set themselves apart and beat the Big Four at their own game, or follow Honda et al down the same dark winding road to sport bike commoditization. Hmm…chewy.
Photos of the 2012 BMW S1000RR:
Source: BMW Motorrad USA