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Thread: Lengthy Moto E-Mag on BMW Motorrad Philosophy

  1. #1
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Lengthy Moto E-Mag on BMW Motorrad Philosophy

    I receive a brief emailed magazine called "Moto-E-Mag." Today's most recent edition (I think it's maybe weekly), posted an interesting criticism of BMW Motorrad's change in philosophy over the years.


    Here is the photo preceding the text:

    Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 5.08.07 PM.png





    ...and here is the text:

    BMW ODs on "Kool-Aid"

    If you've kept up with my writings you'd know that I consider BMW among the most highly motivated automotive brands, in reference to sales and incentives. This brand has a very unique talent for constant push for larger volumes, lower overhead and greater profit margins. For example, in 2020, the Munich-based company shipped about 2.3 million autos worldwide. That constant eagerness for expansion used to be limited to the car division as their tiny motorcycle legacy brand wasn't pressured too hard to contribute to the overall revenue. However, all that changed when BMW Group transformed their motorcycle division to become highly relevant and competitive about 17 years ago.

    Up until now they have successfully maintained a coherent and consistent vision for their motorcycle division. A vision that is in keeping with the desires and expectations of the elite riders worldwide, specially for their premium models, such as the boxer (R) and the K bikes. The K1600 for example is pure BMW, even though it was a new direction for them with the 1600cc I6. No one raised an eyebrow when BMW released the massive luxo-tourer K1200LT in 1998, because everything about that bike projected BMW DNA but in a larger package.

    All cheered when BMW released a totally conventional sport bike, the S1000RR, and even made it a best seller (for a while) in that segment. No one questioned that decision, because it seemed like an authentic execution, even though it had none of the usual features we expect from top bikes at BMW.

    What do all these hot and successful models have in common: K1200RS, K1200LT, R1200GS/A, K1600GT/L, K1300S, S1000RR? They were designed by Mr. BMW, David Robb. Robb understood BMW design DNA and the importance of consistently of vision for a premium brand.

    Back in 2012, the famed former BMW designer David Robb suddenly quit the brand. Robb was with BMW for about 20 years and he was one of the motivators for turning the motorcycle dept to be more like their cars, a performance oriented product. (I wrote about this in the last issue.) Robb also had a highly coveted VP status with this major global brand and of course was on his way to a healthy pension with perks. As a reference, the head of US motorcycles also carries a VP status. Why would Robb just give the finger and walk out? The official reason has always been that "he had an argument with a colleague." I think he left because he was unable to prevent BMW from making the replacement for the old R1200C cruiser, a giant boxer. He knew it wouldn't fly. They didn't listen and being a passionate person that he is, I am assuming that he wanted nothing to do with it. This of course is only my assumption and I could be wrong about Robb's departure, however, building a new American style cruiser has been on BMW's list for more than 10 years.

    This recent widely panned misstep by BMW proves that the brand will do anything just to sell a few bikes. That's a new development and it's highly unsettling. With the touring variations on the R18, they unintentionally signal that Harley-Davidson has been right all along.

    What options did BMW have to tackle this very specific wholly Harley-owned market segment? The answer is so easy it might shock you. Learn from S1000RR. Let me explain.

    S1000RR - A PRODUCT OF HUMILITY
    I've written about this topic numerous times, BMW won with the RR because they offered the market exactly what it was used to riding. The S1000RR was a 100% Japanese style bike that successfully projected as a BMW. There was nothing on that bike that would have prevented a sport bike rider from owning one (except for the stigma of Euro bikes' high cost of service, which BMW did nothing about, a huge mistake, but I digress). It even had an MSRP of only $15K. A total Japanese superbike with a great price, good looks but with a BMW badge. This is a textbook example of how to dominate new market segments, give them what they want, not what you think they should want.

    R18 - A PRODUCT OF "KOOL-AID" OR BRAND ARROGANCE
    "Drinking the Kool-Aid" means when a premium brand believes its own hype. When that happens it's game over for that company and they may not be able to correct course without new blood. BMW has only 2% of the US market. This is not an indication of a popular brand. It's a point that they simply don't get. Honda sells 20M motorcycles globally, BMW 160K even with scooters and models as cheap as 310cc. BMW did have a hit with the RR because it was conventional. It's pure Japan with a Roundel. With the R18 they should have followed that mindset with a pure US cruiser with the blue and white logo.

    If they had only made a highly coveted Limited Edition Heritage model called simply the R18 Cruiser, with finite quantity, numbered and as a homage to their past, it would have been triumphant. But this monstrosity is trying to shove a brand that's not popular in the US in the first place, down the throat of stalwart, highly committed and extremely passionate H-D owners. Also their poor reasoning of assuming Hipsters going to buy it is just silly. They naturally didn't randomly come up with that data. These brands typically use large European data collection agencies and these guys can't distinguish a motorcycle from a bottle of detergent. It's not their job to be experts on bikes, they just use routine research and provide generic suggestions.

    If BMW wanted even a tiny bit of this market, they should have done what they did with the RR, take the BMW out and offer the public a German designed American V-2 Harley clone. This new R18 Transcendental is also a H-D clone of course, but is not competitive. Additionally they could have upped the game with a V4 with massive torque or even a narrow 1800cc game-changing V6. Two key points are for the side profile to project an American style cruiser and it must be foot-forward. Frankly a superb V2 may have been sufficient to sell some bikes here, but a hyper fast V6 would have gotten ton of attention.

    Is it all downhill from here? Well, they may lose some of the purists like me, but BMW is on path for global market growth. They may not be able to radically increase their numbers in the US, but this is a huge planet and emerging markets adore BMW. Don't cry for BMW, Argentina, they'll be fine.


    It's an interesting magazine and getting it is really a good thing. I think anyone can read the entire Issue 105 of the magazine here and also subscribe: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=...78668873465135
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison 2018-Present
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo-via Walt Kelly

  2. #2
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    It is monthly. I subscribed around the beginning of this year and find it interesting enough to keep reading.

    https://moto-emag.com/
    Website and archives

    http://r.ezine.moto-emag.com/mk/mr/A...KbvacbzvlpW8tw

    Current issue noted above

  3. #3
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Agreed - one of the few newsletters that I actually read!! Always something interesting

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...9033-Moto-eMag
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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  4. #4
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drneo66 View Post
    Agreed - one of the few newsletters that I actually read!! Always something interesting

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...9033-Moto-eMag
    Agree. I know the guy who publishes this and he is very well grounded in the motorcycle world and BMW in particular. Personally, although I would not buy one, I think the R18 is very cool, mostly because I have always appreciated the styling from the 1930's. However, I think he is probably right that BMW would be far more successful in the cruiser market by building a traditional cruiser engine. It's the look and sound.
    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & 2022 BMW MOA Rally Co-Chair
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GREGFEELER View Post
    Agree. I know the guy who publishes this and he is very well grounded in the motorcycle world and BMW in particular. Personally, although I would not buy one, I think the R18 is very cool, mostly because I have always appreciated the styling from the 1930's. However, I think he is probably right that BMW would be far more successful in the cruiser market by building a traditional cruiser engine. It's the look and sound.
    I wonder what the ďW3Ē that BMW patented a couple years would sound like?

    This is the second time youíve posted in a thread about this publication that you know the editor but wonít say the persons name. Why is that? Whatís the big secret? I tried to find that information and itís not listed anywhere, not even in the publicationís media kit, which makes me wonderÖ

    Ian
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  6. #6
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    I wonder what the ďW3Ē that BMW patented a couple years would sound like?

    This is the second time youíve posted in a thread about this publication that you know the editor but wonít say the persons name. Why is that? Whatís the big secret? I tried to find that information and itís not listed anywhere, not even in the publicationís media kit, which makes me wonderÖ

    Ian
    Because I know him I respect his decision to not identify himself in connection with his publication. I've never asked the reason(s), but I suspect a major one is that he would like people to focus on the message rather than the messenger.
    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & 2022 BMW MOA Rally Co-Chair
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GREGFEELER View Post
    …I suspect a major one is that he would like people to focus on the message rather than the messenger.
    I’ll bet it’s because he/she wants to get invited to press events!

  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    Iíll bet itís because he/she wants to get invited to press events!
    Do you get invited to press events and new product introductions after slamming a product or manufacturer?



    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Do you get invited to press events and new product introductions after slamming a product or manufacturer?



    OM
    So, you figured out how this works, eh?

    (It depends on the publicationís reach)

  10. #10
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    Iíll bet itís because he/she wants to get invited to press events!

    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & 2022 BMW MOA Rally Co-Chair
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  11. #11
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    So, you figured out how this works, eh?

    (It depends on the publicationís reach)
    If I buy two way overpriced windows I can get two free

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

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    Apparently my opinion will be well against the grain here, but...this article literally smacks of someone working too hard to sound inside-knowledgeable and working way too hard to fill space.

    A "product of humility?" Really?

    And the last paragraph is so telling. "Is it all downhill from here?" Apparently not as the next sentences argue against pretty much the entire article.

    No doubt the person is a very good writer and quite knowledgeable about BMW. But...when I was editing newspapers, something like this would not have run. It seems most in this forum would disagree, so maybe I'm just a jerk that way. But I am a jerk who is a big supporter of the printed word, whether on dead trees or on a screen, but sheesh! As an editor, I would have been doing the right thing by the writer to suggest a little focus, and having an actual point to end with.

  13. #13
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    And while I'm being a jerk...under normal circumstances I can't imagine that it would be right to post the text of an article here. At a minimum, the writer and publisher deserve the click. Actually, they own that. And a mail.google.com link is never going to work.

    But the homepage of this publication is a bit of a nightmare. It is probably locked out by default at any reasonably-sized corporation. So I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read this and know from others that it's a good publication.

    Now I'll try to stop being a jerk. I could have used the code "/jerk..." but it sounded really, really bad.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mtraphagen View Post
    No doubt the person is a very good writer and quite knowledgeable about BMW. But...when I was editing newspapers, something like this would not have run. It seems most in this forum would disagree, so maybe I'm just a jerk that way. But I am a jerk who is a big supporter of the printed word, whether on dead trees or on a screen, but sheesh! As an editor, I would have been doing the right thing by the writer to suggest a little focus, and having an actual point to end with.
    I’m with you, you’re spot on.

    And while I often write under a pen name, at least it’s a name, and the same one every time!

  15. #15
    I've taken a look at the free Moto E-Mag and I have to say that I was not overly impressed with what I saw.

    I do, however, like the YouTube videos put on by Ryan of FortNine. These are Canadian in origin and flavour. I find these videos to be usually well reasoned and entertaining.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkiBBicF-40

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNS...SuFzCZjfK2C7dQ

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