BMW touts mid-sized motorcycles
'Accessible' prices aim to attract local buyers
BMW Motorrad Thailand has entered the mid-sized motorcycle market to expand its local reach.
Markus Glaeser, head of BMW Motorrad Thailand, said mid-sized motorcycles (250-500cc) sell about 25,000 units a year, surpassing the 19,000 units typical of big-bike (above 500cc) sales.
This year, BMW Motorrad introduced two models: the G 310 R, priced at 199,000-204,000 baht, in July, and the G 310 GS, priced at 219,000-224,000 baht, in November.
"We categorise mid-sized motorcycles as a smart segment, and BMW believes we can gain more Thai customers with these accessible prices," Mr Glaeser said.
The two models are imported from a plant of BMW Group's partner in India, TVS Motor Co, and thus are not made at BMW's facility in Rayong. The G 310 R is developed by BMW in collaboration with TVS.
Mr Glaeser said the Munich-based parent firm considers the India plant more capable than other BMW plants in Europe and Asia of supplying mid-sized motorcycles to support the global market, due to price sensitivity in the mid-sized segment.
Moreover, the India plant has been standardised and employs engineers, skilled labourers and suppliers for BMW Motorrad's mid-sized models.
"The result of making mid-size motorcycles is to offer attractive pricing for customers, while big-bike manufacturing emphasises the high performance of motorbikes," Mr Glaeser said.
BMW's plant in Rayong is positioned for big-bike manufacturing.
In related news, BMW Motorrad reported that it sold 1,494 motorcycles from January to October, up 2.3% year-on-year.
Mr Glaeser said the situation at the Rayong plant has returned to normal after the group relocated its motorcycle assembly line during the first quarter in anticipation of massive future volume.
BMW Motorrad has an annual capacity of 10,000 units, making eight models: F 800 R, F 800 GS, F 700 GS, R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure, S 1000 R, S 1000 RR and S 1000 XR.
"I expect that this positive momentum of our sales volume will remain throughout the last quarter," Mr Glaeser said. "For motorcycle exports, BMW aims to equal last year's volume, mainly to China and some Asean countries."
BMW expects robust exports of motorcycles starting from 2018, he said.
In 2016, the Thai big-bike market grew by 7% to 18,500 motorcycles. BMW Motorrad also showed a 42.1% year-on-year rise to 1,819 deliveries in 2016.
BMW Motorrad shipped 2,215 motorcycles last year, up from 1,000 in 2015. Close to 1,400 motorcycles were exported to China in 2016.