Despite a difficult international economic environment, BMW Motorrad narrowly missed out on another consecutive year of record worldwide sales. The German manufacturer sold a total of 92,266 motorcycles in 2004 - only 0.7 per cent down on the previous year.
Despite stiff competition and discounting from many manufacturers, BMW achieved significant growth in many European markets, including Spain (5,404 units) up 27.9 per cent, France (7,869 units) up seven per cent and Great Britain (4,673 units) enjoying an 11 per cent growth in sales. BMW Motorrad also continues its dominance in the home market with 26,485 units sold in 2004, which equates to a new record market share of 19.5 per cent.
The UK's growth is a considerable achievement considering that the motorcycle market was actually down 11 per cent overall. BMW Motorrad's sales increase was undoubtedly helped by the success of the R1200 GS, which became the UK's best selling over 1000cc motorcycle, as well as the top selling bike in the adventure sport category. Its sales of 1,382 were almost double that of its nearest rival and this trend looks set to continue in 2005, as it is currently top seller in the adventure sport category.
The R1200 GS replaced the out-going R1150 GS as BMW Motorrad's bestseller with 18,968 units delivered worldwide. 12,358 customers purchased the successful R1150 RT tourer in its final year of production, while 14,478 single-cylinder F650 GS and GS Dakar models were sold.
Three new models have also made their debut in the past 12 months. BMW Motorrad presented the 167 bhp K1200 S - the most powerful sports bike in its history; the R1200 RT - its most sporting and agile tourer yet; and the R1200 ST - BMW's long-distance sports touring sprinter. These three new additions to the range will soon be complemented by the 163 bhp K1200 R - the most powerful naked production bike in the world.
BMW's extensive new model launch programme is also having positive effects on motorcycle production in the Berlin factory, which has received over 153 million euros of investment in preparation for the latest generation machines. Annual production in 2004 was 93,836 units - an increase of 4.5 per cent on the previous year. Now employing approximately 2,500 people, BMW's Berlin plant is one of the largest employers in the capital.