BMW Motorrad USA plans to show its S 1000 RR superbike in the United States for the first time on the weekend of May 29-31 at the Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike round.
The unit is not expected to be on sale in dealerships until around January 2010. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, tells Dealernews that he expects “people will be in for quite a surprise. We intend to take the four Japanese head-on. We did not intend to build a motorcycle like Ducati does or KTM does. We wanted to build a mainstream motorcycle.”
BMW wants to appeal to a younger customer base, and the S 1000 RR is a bike the OEM believes can do that.“It’s going to be very different than what people might expect from BMW,” says Todd Anderson, head of marketing at BMW Motorrad. “It won’t be a 1098 or RC8 kind of price, but much, much closer to where the Japanese are. We’re going right for the fat part of the market with this, and I think it’s going to change a lot of people’s opinions about the brand.”
As a result, BMW has pretty ambitious volume plans. “We think that motorcycle has the potential to maybe lift our volume by 20 to 25 percent in the short term,” de Waal says. “If we succeed in what we want to do with this motorcycle, it will really place BMW on the map. It will give us a brand awareness we never had, especially in this country where superbike is a massive segment. We are already a touring and a GS company, so hopefully we can really crack into this new, large market with the superbike.”
With only 140 BMW retailers nationwide, how does BMW plan to crack market share of competing OEMs who each supply upwards of 1,000 dealerships? “The big emphasis is on getting our existing dealer network ready, but also to find the opportunities for specific hotspots for superbikes and to have suitable specialists in those locations,” de Waal says.
Best-selling sportbikes fall in the 1000cc and 600cc range, but don’t look for a mid-sized sportbike from BMW anytime soon. “The segment is appealing because it’s big and filled with young people,” de Waal says. “But, for the time being, I think we’ve taken on a massively big project with the 1000cc, and we want to pull that off successfully before we think of any further steps.”
— Submitted by Guido Ebert