BMW Motorrad Sales Up 5.6% YTD, But Where?

03/07/2012 @ 1:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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

  • kevin

    I wonder if BMW has given any serious thought to a middleweight sporting machine (kinda like the street triple). Offering a performance oriented bike, a BMW badge, and a reduced price could bring more riders into the fold.

    Anyways, congrats to BMW on their sales success. I saw elsewhere they’ve had their best February ever across their car (BMW, Rolls Royce, Mini) lines.

  • Doctor Jelly

    You mean like the F800S? Middleweight, sporty-esque, decent price (for a BMW), and dropped from production within a year or so.

    I believe somewhere BMW (in reference to a smaller S1000RR that would probably compete with the 600cc class) said that the profit margin is just not there. So we probably won’t see a downsized sportbike again from them anytime soon…

  • Richard Gozinya

    BMW has the F800R, which is much more a competitor with the Street Triple than the F800S was. The S had a fairing, and a seriously ugly one at that. But even so, the F800R isn’t much of a bike compared to the Triple.

  • Jim

    Making the assumption that US & European brands = ‘luxury’ brands, the fact that the are doing well in the current economy is not a surprise. The comfortable is where the money is and the rest are struggling.

    For the last year the financial press has been noting the growth in profitability of companies that produce luxury consumer goods while at the same time Wal-Mart has reported flat sales. A factoid, the other day there was a published report that in 2010, better than 90% of the wealth created during the year accrued to the top 1%. If that indeed is true and if that becomes a trend, then the future of ‘hobby’ product manufacturers, that appeal to a broad economic demographic is tenuous.

  • Dawg

    Like Triumph I believe BMW will probably start building smaller capacity bikes, maybe 350-400cc. These will make increasing sense given the rocketing price of fuel. The market for small capacity machines in Asia is enormous. We are also losing a generation of bikers here in the UK, so in the future there may not be enough people who want to, or can afford to, buy a large ‘leisure’ machine but they may be interested in a smaller economical commuter bike.

    If people buy commuter bikes, they may then get a thirst for biking and buy a hobby machine. This is how it was with previous generations here in the UK when people had a bike as their only transport.

  • Mitch

    I for one would love a 350-500cc street bike from Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Triumph, KTM, or BMW; really, I’d love a bike that size from any manufacturer, though of course I’m partial to the ‘premiums.’ However, people talk about how the smaller capacity would be more appealing and create a new generation of riders, and I’m not convinced that is the case. Most aspiring riders that I’ve met here in the States balk at the idea of anything less than a tuned-up 600 or something over 800cc (of course they have no clue). I’m the only one I know who would be happy with 30-50 HP, good mileage, cheap insurance, and a light, maneuverable bike. I’m so excited about the Duke 350, but fear that it won’t come here. The only other bike I’m seriously considering is the MG V7 Classic; even the Monster 696 seems a little overkill to me.

    I ride a Suzuki TU250x right now.

  • WetMan

    Off course the fact that all European biking magazines are so pro-BMW and Ducati that it is starting to be sickening doesn’t hurt their sales. BMW bikes win all the tests, because they always take all possible pricey options for the test bikes. Thus they compare 15k Suzuki’s to 25k BMW’s. Without blinking once. Any technical problem with a BMW is only mentioned years later when a new model comes out that finally solves the problem. And now I have the sneaky suspicion that the S1000rr didn’t quite make it through a 50000 km reliability test unscaved, because the test was promised months ago in my favorite mag and since then it has gone awefully quiet…

  • Kyle

    I worked for a BMW dealer until recently and I talked to the rep about a middle weight BMWrr type bike. His thoughts were that it’s not economically feasible to produce one because the cost would be close to the 1000 and no one would pay the needed market price to be profitable.