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According to yesterday's Wall Street Journal BMW September motorcycle sales were down 4.2% to 7089 bikes from 7402 in September of last year. I found this interesting in a period when motorcycle sales are booming in general.
 

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Interesting info Brian,

I don't suppose there's any connection to the fact that dealerships are closing down all over the place? I guess I'm just overreacting to the closure of my home dealership, Garden State BMW.

Admittedly, I was spoiled by their close proximity (8 miles). Now I will drive 50 miles to the next closest dealership. I don't know how the guys do it that have to drive 100+ miles.

I now will do most of the maint. on the bike. BMW has lost that business, I like the bike and plan to see what the 2008 LT looks like before making any decisions.

Bob
 

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BLBantz said:
According to yesterday's Wall Street Journal BMW September motorcycle sales were down 4.2% to 7089 bikes from 7402 in September of last year. I found this interesting in a period when motorcycle sales are booming in general.
Are those Worldwide sales or NA?
 

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I am amazed to hear that BMW seems to have problems with dealers and selling bikes in general. I've heard this on several threads.
In South Africa the motorcycle market is tiny, but dominated by BMW.
I have two dealers within 15 miles. Four within 40 miles. Even some small towns have at least one dealer.
The service and backup is fantastic - I have never had better service from any motor dealer. I have always been treated as a VIP on every visit. It was one of the main reasons I chose BMW.

I have had some good and some bad from Honda.

It is hard to understand why they don't roll out a better marketing effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The article didn't say so I would assume it is worldwide.
 

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These are the numbers for the US.

BMW's sales numbers for Motorcycles have been sliding for the past several years. I believe they peaked a few years ago with 12,000 units and have gone down ever since.

I attribute this to 3 things:
  1. Quality Issues
  2. Dealerships
  3. Poor Marketing
I actually think that item #3 has had the most impact. I cannot believe the number of people that say to me, "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles". The lack of dealers also is a big factor. I know that if I didn't have a dealer that was close by (i.e., in the DFW metroplex), I wouldn't have a BMW.
 

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eljeffe said:
These are the numbers for the US.

BMW's sales numbers for Motorcycles have been sliding for the past several years. I believe they peaked a few years ago with 12,000 units and have gone down ever since.

I attribute this to 3 things:
  1. Quality Issues
  2. Dealerships
  3. Poor Marketing
I actually think that item #3 has had the most impact. I cannot believe the number of people that say to me, "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles". The lack of dealers also is a big factor. I know that if I didn't have a dealer that was close by (i.e., in the DFW metroplex), I wouldn't have a BMW.

And in light of 1,2 and 3 above


#4. A little pricey.
 

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It is amazing what they are doing to the dealer market. Some areas are losing all the dealers and in Houston we now have 4 and there is talk that they are going open a fifth one (another branch of the new one in the Woodlands).

If this dealership is an indication, they are going after the Harley Market - at least dealer wise. Big push on apparel - according to the lady at the counter they are one of only two in the state authorized to carry the full line of BMW Apparel (minus the helmets) - and a fancy showroom with fancy waiting area.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the new dealership - because of the customer service more than anything - but its a wonderful change from my old dealer.
 

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I didn't buy a GS simply because of the local dealer. I know there are some on this site that think the dealer is one of the best but I don't feel that way. I had called the sales guy some time back and asked if he would take my LT in on trade for a new LT or GS. He sad "absolutely, bring it down so I can look at it." When I got there he was very unfriendly and, without ever stepping outside to see my LT told me they really couldn't take it and my best bet would be to sell it myself. He wasn't interested in negotiating price either. And I won't even get started on the service and parts people.

When I went to the KTM dealer they were friendly almost to the point of nauseous. But they also bent over backwards to get me the KTM and I didn't need to trade the LT. I have found that I like the KTM much better than the GS and it is a real blast to ride.

I'll keep the LT for some time to come but will not buy another BMW.
 

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BobW said:
...
When I went to the KTM dealer they were friendly almost to the point of nauseous. But they also bent over backwards to get me the KTM and I didn't need to trade the LT. I have found that I like the KTM much better than the GS and it is a real blast to ride.
Bob,

Being in the DFW area I'll try not to make any assumptions about which BMW dealer you are referring to, but I would like to know which KTM dealer you are using.

Bill B.
 

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KTM dealer is Cycle Town South on I35. East side of the road. Almost to Red Oak. Curtis is the owner and does all the wrenching on the 950's. Not all KTM dealers handle the 950's. He rides a 950 and goes to a lot of the KTM events such as Ouray. I heard he is one of the top KTM 950 dealers in the country.
They handle some other makes as well, like Husqvarna (sp?) and Polaris ATV's.

Curtis did a lot of tuning on mine (changed jets and needle settings too) before I left on my trip and he wanted me to be sure and let him know how it ran at the different altitudes. Ran perfect at all altitudes from 500ft to over 11,000.

Usual disclaimers....I'm not affiliated but just one VERY SATISFIED customer. If the BMW dealers were like him I might own a GS right now instead of the KTM.
 

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In comparison to what BMW offers against their competitors, particularly with the LT, I'd say pricing is pretty much in line.
 

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I found an article on the Dow Jones Newswire dated Oct. 7 that appears to be the basis for the WSJ article Brian read. The DJN article is headlined "BMW Group Global Sep Sales +11.4% On Year." I could not find a free link to the article.

As you can guess from the headline, the focus of the article is financial and sales data recently release by BMW. It contains a single paragraph about the motorcycle unit. The paragraph in full reads "Sales at BMW's motorcycle unit in September were 7,089 vehicles, down 4.2% from 7,402 last year. In the first nine months of the year, sales rose 12% to 80,840 from 72,186."

The first set of numbers appear to be world-wide sales for the month of September 2005. The second set of numbers appear to be world-wide sales for Jan-Sept 2005. This is not a picture of doom and gloom.

If anyone has access to more detailed information about BMW's motorcycle sales, please post it. I'm sure many people here would like to learn more.

Nathan
 

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To paraphrase; It's the exchange rate stupid!

In addition to all the reasons given in the thread, the exchange rate had the Euro kicking the crap out of the dollar for most of this last year.

BMW went after the Hayabusa with K1200S and it's priced more than 50% higher. Roughly $10K will get you a 'Busa and, if you can get K-S for $15K, buy it.

BMW has to be trying to hold the prices within a reasonable distance of the competition and they just can't seem to do it.


.
 

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The dealer thing must be dealer exclusive. My dealer and I get along fine. Others that have delt with them one or 2 i have talked to did not get along with them.

On the other side of the fence been to some HD dealers and one was nice and friendly the other big attitude. Guy was a fake hard nard. The local UJM dealer sells all jap brands is hit or miss with the salesmen. The clothing department there run by owners daughter is top notch. She spent a good 1-1/2 hours with my wife buying a helmet.

A lot I think depends upon the dealer and to a certain extent the attitude of the customer. I have witnessed some real jerks for customers. Acting like they are the King of England and deserve Crown treatment or are insulting to sales person. Saying things like I wouldn't ride a piece o crap like that if you gave it to me.
 

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3 recommendations to get BMW Motorrad USA back on track

In addition to the obvious improvements BMW needs to make in regards to Quality, here are my 3 recommendations for BMW to improve their position in the North American market.

1. Start doing some "real" marketing. Focus all current and future marketing efforts toward creating and maintaining "buzz" about BMW products. Emphasize efforts in keeping the product in front of the target audience (i.e., Motorcycle shows, rallies, radio, TV, and product placement in movies, TV, and video games). Get the marquee in front of the public, and keep it there. Quit blowing the marketing budget on Daytona and go after the entire motorcycling public.

2. Stop thinking that BMW is Harley Davidson. No matter how much BMW wants to be, it is NOT a lifestyle product like Harley Davidson. The concept of the BMW lifestyle boutique for dealerships will not succeed in the US. BMW is a niche manufacturer, and should take advantage of that position, not fight against it. As strongly as BMW encourages single line BMW dealers, they should encourage the multi-line dealers to take on BMW as an added line. Single line BMW dealerships do not have the revenue potential to attract the kind of dealer principals needed to improve BMW's market position in the US.

3. Expand/Shift manufacturing to the Greenville, SC plant. Take advantage of the strong Euro/weak Dollar by immediately moving some manufacturing to the US. BMW built an expansion facility at the Greenville, SC plant to expand motorcycle manufacturing in the US, why not use it? Focus efforts on the models popular in the US, and if it makes sense, export those units back to Europe and other parts of the world.
 

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drifter36 said:
I like the bike and plan to see what the 2008 LT looks like before making any decisions.
I hear it's gonna be an '07 model . . .
 

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The rumor is that the current model will exist through the 2007 model year. The 2008 model should show up at the tail end of 2007.
 

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eljeffe said:
I actually think that item #3 has had the most impact. I cannot believe the number of people that say to me, "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles". The lack of dealers also is a big factor. I know that if I didn't have a dealer that was close by (i.e., in the DFW metroplex), I wouldn't have a BMW.
I hear the same thing three or fours days a week. This is especially true when I go to my weekly hangout with other Motorcyclists and Hot Rod owners. It does get tiring singing the LT's praises weekly. How many ways can you state that this is the best bike in the universe?

As for dealership, on Long Island, which is supposedly one of the largest areas with "disposible" income in the US, there are just TWO dealerships. One is a dump, the other is about thirty miles from me.

I wish there was an alternative closer buy. When you compare BMW to Harley delerships it's ridiculous. In my area alone, there are at least 4-5 delaerhships. Smae thing with Kawa and Yamahas. No wonder I had to go to another state to get my Black Beauty. Those of you who have traveled in NJ understand my pain!
 
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