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With the fi­nan­cial mar­kets try­ing to make sense of Brexit, Trump and the rise of China, how are the Euro­pean mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers do­ing? Alan Cath­cart in­ves­ti­gates...

Now is the time of year when mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers crunch num­bers and claim to be win­ners or ad­mit to be­ing losers – or some­thing in be­tween. Here’s a roundup of how the ma­jor Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ers fared in 2017.


BMW Mo­tor­rad has re­ported that its 2017 world­wide de­liv­er­ies of mo­tor­cy­cles and scoot­ers in­creased by 13.2% in the 2017 cal­en­dar year to 164,153 ve­hi­cles (ver­sus 145,032 units in 2016), thanks to strong sales growth in Europe and Asia. With these new record an­nual sales, BMW Mo­tor­rad takes an­other step to­wards reach­ing its stated ob­jec­tive of de­liv­er­ing 200,000 units in the year 2020. Ger­many is once again the largest sin­gle mar­ket for BMW mo­tor­cy­cles and scoot­ers, with 26,664 units sold there in 2017, a 7.1% in­crease over 2016 which al­lowed it to re­main the mar­ket share leader in its home coun­try. In­deed, the com­pany’s strong­est sales up­surge in 2017 was recorded in Europe as a whole, with record growth which saw around 15% more ve­hi­cles de­liv­ered there than in 2016. This was driven mainly by France (16,607 units, up 24.3%), fol­lowed by Italy (14,430 units/17.3%), Spain (11,193 units/17.6%) and the Bri­tish

Isles (9550 units/8.7%).

For the first time in BMW Mo­tor­rad’s his­tory, more than 50,000 units of the two R1200GS and GS Ad­ven­ture dual-pur­pose mod­els alone were sold in 2017, as sales of all of the tra­di­tion­ally strong-sell­ing flat-twin boxer mod­els in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly over­all. Thanks to the three new R nineT mod­els, the Pure, Racer and Ur­ban G/S vari­ants, sales in the boxer seg­ment rose by 9.6% in 2017, to a to­tal of 86,090 mo­tor­cy­cles. The BMW S Se­ries sport­bike mod­els saw 21,752 ex­am­ples sold world­wide, while BMW’s new sub-500cc ca­pac­ity seg­ment made a strong de­but, with 11,595 units of the G310R and G310GS mod­els – which are built in In­dia by BMW’s part­ner TVS and in­tro­duced in 2017 – al­ready de­liv­ered to cus­tomers by the end of the year, with de­mand strong in Europe,

South Amer­ica and Asia.

Sales of the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer’s six-cylin­der mod­els also de­vel­oped pos­i­tively, with the K1600 Bag­ger aimed at the US mar­ket sell­ing well in its de­but year. Timo Resch, BMW Mo­tor­rad head of sales and mar­ket­ing, stated: “With 6719 units sold and a 50% in­crease in sales, our six-cylin­der mod­els are among the big win­ners of 2017.”


Aus­tria’s KTM In­dus­tries AG re­mained Europe’s No. 1 in terms of over­all units sold in 2017, which saw the com­pany achieve a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year of record sales, with an all-time high in rev­enues and profit.

In its fig­ures for the 2017 fi­nan­cial year, KTM’s yearly rev­enues over 2016 were up

14% at €1.533 bil­lion, with

EBIT (op­er­at­ing earnings be­fore in­ter­est and taxes, but af­ter de­pre­ci­a­tion) 8% higher at €132.5 mil­lion in the last 12 months, against €122.3 mil­lion in 2016. The pre­lim­i­nary net profit be­fore taxes in­creased to €117.0 mil­lion, against €108.9 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

The com­pany says it sold 238,334 KTM and Husq­varna mo­tor­cy­cles in its 2017 busi­ness year, to “fur­ther strengthen our num­ber one po­si­tion as the big­gest mo­tor­cy­cle pro­ducer in Europe”. Unit sales in­creased by over 17% com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, driven by in­creased de­mand not only for its core Aus­tri­an­made prod­ucts, but also the smaller ca­pac­ity mod­els built in In­dia by its busi­ness part­ner and 48% in­vestor Ba­jaj Auto.

Ac­cord­ing to sales data from In­dian in­dus­try watch­dog

SIAM, some 35,000 KTM mo­tor­cy­cles were sold there in 2017 alone, in ad­di­tion to CKD kits be­ing ex­ported for assem­bly in other coun­tries from Brazil to Malaysia.

Thanks to this on­go­ing growth, KTM re­cruited 818 ad­di­tional em­ploy­ees in 2017 (652 of them in Aus­tria), tak­ing its over­all di­rectly em­ployed work­force to 5887 peo­ple world­wide, in­clud­ing 4568 in Aus­tria. The com­pany says that for the 2018 busi­ness year KTM In­dus­tries Group ex­pects

New mid-weight ad­ven­ture bikes are ex­pected to be a big hit for BMW.

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