BMW Motorcycles Bullish About 2010

February 11, 2010
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

The 41% sales drop from 2009 has cast a pall over the industry, yet BMW Motorcycles seems downright bullish about its 2010 prospects. Not many manufacturers have spun ’09 sales losses quite as enthusiastically as BMW (the only exception being British marque Triumph, which trumpeted an increase in market share in the US). In its latest series of press releases the Bavarian firm touts its market share increases, dealer growth and ambitious plans for 2010.

World Wide Sales Top 87,000

Dont expect the BMW R1200GS to lose its best-selling status in 2010 with a new  more powerful motor at the ready.
The R1200GS remains BMW’s best-selling motorcycle.

BMW posted sales of 87,306 for 2009, a 14,379 unit drop from 2008. According to BMW PR the 14.1% drop “not only reached the target it set itself, but also achieved the second-lowest decline in sales amongst the competition.”

Spin is spin, but BMW notes that the overall above 500cc market (which eliminates the majority of small-displacement machines sold in the still robust Asian market) has seen a massive 40% decline from a 1.5 million unit high in 2007 to 900,000 in 2009 – with a more than 30% decline last year alone.

GS Still the Top Seller

BMW’s Boxer-powered GS line remains its workhorse. The standard R1200GS sold 15,864 units, with the Adventure version contributing 8803 sales. The popular F800GS sold an impressive 10,974 units worldwide in its first full sales year – the smaller GS receiving numerous accolades from the media including Motorcycle USA’s 2009 Bike of the Year. BMW also highlights the success of its new F800R, which sold 5828 units.

Try doing this with the R1200GS. BMWs new F800GS was designed with the dirt enthusiast in mind.
We liked the new F800GS, with the new Beemer winning Bike of the Year for 2009.

Market Shares Increased

In spite of lower sales totals, BMW gained market share in key regions thanks to the poorer performance of its rival. This held true in BMW’s home German market (also its largest market) where 15,833 sales (down from 18,112) netted an increase in market share from 17.3% to 17.7%. In the above 500cc market, BMW’s gains were more impressive, up from 18.1% to 19.0%.

Italy, BMW’s second-largest market, posted market share gains in 500cc and above from 13% to 14.3%. Total Italian sales of 13,207 mark a 13.9% drop but outperformed the overall 20% drop in the nation. BMW claims market share increases in the British, French and Spanish markets as well.

As for the US, BMW recorded 9168 sales, a drop of 22.5%. Given the aforementioned 41% overall loss, BMW came out with an American market share gain in the above 500cc class from 2.0% to 2.6%.

US BMW Dealer Network Grows

The announcement of increased market share corresponds with the popular brand expanding its American dealer network by eight in the past five months. The new authorized dealers include a pair of Pennsylvania dealerships, along with locations in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

“Our dedicated dealer network was the key to our success last year,” said Todd Andersen, BMW Motorrad USA Marketing Manager, in the PR announcement. “Our dealers continued to serve our customers well thanks to new products like the K1300 GT, K 1300 S, and the new S1000RR Superbike, as well as attractive financing programs from BMW Financial Services.”

2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
With new models like the TXC 250, Husqvarna was the lone brand to boast increased sales totals in the US for 2009.

Husqvarna Stepping Up

The Husqvarna lineup also contributes to BMW’s optimism. The historic Swedish/Italian marque seems resurgent under its new German master. Worldwide sales for 2009 nearly equaled 2008 (13,052 to 13,511). Husqvarna’s US sales actually rose 9% in 2009, the only brand to boast positive growth in an otherwise negative sales year.

“Retail sales were up 9% compared to 2008,” said Husqvarna Motorcycles North America President Mark Brady in a Jan. press release. “This was a phenomenal result considering that 2009 was our first full year of operation in the USA.”
Husqvarna and BMW credit the new 250 platform for much of the success, with BMW PR saying: “Now that the new model TE 250 has been so well received by the market, a model offensive is planned for 2010: in spite of a difficult market environment, this provides hope of a positive sales development.”

2010 Plans

“The prospects for 2010 look promising,” continues the BMW press release. Quite a different tone than the sobering statements found in, say, the Harley-Davidson release regarding 2009 year end results.

Whether you love or hate the design of the S1000RR once you ride one  it will no longer matter.
The BMW S1000RR could be a big score for BMW going into 2010… Or a flop.

A revamp of the R1200 Boxer Twin freshens up the best-selling GS line for 2010, but the big question for BMW next year will be the success or failure its S1000RR superbike. Entering its second year of World Superbike competition, the Beemer literbike will endure its first season of media comparison scrutiny – including Motorcycle USA’s Superbike Smackdown (testing in March with results soon to follow). BMW notes 2300 orders had already been placed for the new design prior to its December ’09 launch. The S1000RR delivers great potential, as many sales figure to be conquest sales pinched from Japanese rivals.

Further dealer expansion is on the horizon as well, with Anderson stating: “In 2010 and beyond we will continue to identify growth opportunities for the BMW brand in markets that do not currently have a BMW motorcycle dealership by partnering with new or existing motorcycle dealers in those areas.”

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