The Anatomy Behind BMW Motorrad’s Sales Dominion

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We already told you that 2011 was BMW Motorrad’s best sales year ever, and that the BMW S1000RR topped the Bavarian brand’s charts here in the United States. Zie Germans must be feeling rather pleases with themselves right now (and rightfully so), as BMW has released more details about its all-time motorcycle sales record. Pushing out 104,286 units in 2011, BMW Motorrad was up 6.4% in 2011 over 2010, with each of the 2011’s twelve months outselling its 2010 counterpart. Toppling its previous sales record from 2007 (the height of the world economy), it says something about BMW’s current business strategy that it can best that figure in an economy that is still exceedingly weak in comparison.

It is interesting to note in which markets, and in which segments, BMW is finding this growth, because the answers are not necessarily our usual suspects. Basically doubling its worldwide 500+cc market share over the past four years, BMW now accounts for 12% of the worlds “big” displacement motorcycles by units sold per annum. This goes counter to the trend that we’ve seen, where small-displacement are being cast as the sales leaders for large brands (namely the Japanese Four).

“This outstanding sales result shows that we are on the right track in terms of our product and market strategy,” touted General Director of BMW Motorrad Hendrik von Kuenheim in the most German way possible. “We have achieved yet another sales record within a persistently challenging market environment. At the same time we have been able to take on market leadership and strengthen our market position in over 15 countries. In business performance terms we anticipate an all-time high in fiscal 2011 for both turnover and revenue. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers worldwide most sincerely for the trust they have placed in BMW Motorrad.”

So where was BMW Motorrad’s market of choice? Why in Germania of course. The backbone of the soon-to-be-in-shambles eurozone, BMW Motorrad found the most sales traction in its home market, selling 20,0002 motorcycles in Germany alone. That number is nearly double the volume done in the United States (10,203 units), but what is more astounding is that nearly one in four “large displacement” motorcycles (500+cc) sold in Germany last year was from the Bavarian brand. In 2011 alone, BMW’s motorcycle sales in Germany went from accounting for 1.7% of motorcycles sold in the that market, to 24.9% (boom goes the dynamite). Certain to be partially due to the decline of other brands’ sales figures, that staggering change in percentage still carries with it a certain astonishing weight.

Further fueling BMW Motorrad’s sales in Europe, Italy stood as BMW’s second-best motorcycle market worldwide, though the boot-shaped country saw an overall decline in yearly sales (-4.5%). Posting 13,600 units (down from 14,234 in 2010), the Bavarians were still able to gain market share in Italy, as the Italian two-wheeled market continued its post-recession tailspin. Accounting for 19.9% of all bikes sold in Italy that were over 500cc, BMW Motorrad Italia grew from its previous position of having 18.4% of the relevant Italian market.

France rounded out BMW’s third top-spot in Europe, with 9,850 units and a 15% sales growth over 2010. Similarly, BMW Motorrad was up 7.4% in the United States, with the BMW S1000RR leading sales here domestically, a change from the usually show-stopping R1200GS, which continues to be the best selling 500cc+ bike worldwide. With no real surprises in the numbers from France and the US, what is interesting is to see the growth in developing countries.

Before you get your Southeast Asia flags waving, BMW Motorrad reports that it found its second-best growth by market in Brazil, not Asia. Up 55.2%, the Brazilian market accounted for only 5,442 units sold, but shows strong potential to grow further in the coming years, as the South American country’s economy continues to gain steam. To side-step tariffs, BMW builds the G650GS, F800R, and F800GS locally in Brazil, and presumably as more models get local assembly in Manaus, BMW’s sales trend will continue with those models. BMW reports that sales in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia all grew positively across the board, but declined to mention at what rate or volume those markets faired in 2011.

As far as model go, the BMW R1200GS series still reigns supreme, accounting for 28,866 units in total worldwide (18,413 units for the R1200GS, 10,453 for the R1200GS Adventure). The GS dominance continues with the F800GS selling 9,829 units worldwide, and was followed closely by the BMW R1200RT (9,540 units) & BMW S1000RR (9,044 units). Meanwhile, the recently launched K1600GT/GTL accounted for 8,019 units, while the rest of the line-up broke down as follows; F800R (7,986 units), R1200R (7,310 units), and the F650GS (6,145 units). All very interesting indeed.

Source: BMW Group