OK, being obsessive-compulsive, I kept thinking about the numbers surrounding the future of BMW motorcycles in the US. I spent some time trying to discover actual numbers that would shed some light on the importance of motorcycle sales to the company.
Here is what I found: from manufacturer's point of view, bike sales are just a drop in the bucket, a minor annoyance at best. In 2007, BMW made about 1.5 million cars, generating about 53 billion Euro in sales. At the same time, it manufactured about 100 thousand motorcycles, equivalent to 1.2bn Euro in sales.
The two largest markets for BMW motorcycles are, unsurprisingly, Germany and Italy. In terms of US market, there were about 12,000 units registered in 2008. There are about 140 dealerships nationwide.
Do the math yourself - the results are not pretty: on average, each dealer sells less than 2 bikes a week
! I actually have no idea how they survive. I guess, the real income is from service and sales of parts and accessories. Think of that next time, when complaining about the cost of parts, compared with mail-order shipped from China.
What does this all mean, in my eyes:
- for BMW, motorcycle business is not really significant. One could argue that it is a "loss leader", kept on for prestige. As BMW is involved in perennial struggle against that other German brand in the luxury passenger car market, they may want to be able to say: "Our other products are exotic, sexy, adventurous vehicles - motorcycles. Theirs - trucks!". Just a thought...
- for us, the consumers, this is just a confirmation that we are riding rare products of an obscure brand. We may as well get used to the idea of very scarce dealer-network support, since the economics of the situation are fairly obvious. That is why the peer support of the BMW riders - like this forum - is so important and so useful.
Just some more of my 2 cents...