I travelled to Centurion in Pretoria to see what the new store, called Bavarian Motorcycles, is all about.
The basic idea behind the dealership, from what I gathered, is to provide potential and current BMW motorcycle owners with an idea of what it’s like to buy into the brand. The idea that it’s more a lifestyle choice rather than just a bike, appears to be the point being made. I’ve seen firsthand how, for example, the GS model series within the Motorrad range has become a real lifestyle model, with owners going on extended trips with friends and family, all with the bikes as the centre piece.
There’s everything from shiny new motorbikes to clothing, helmets, leathers, spares and a large number of accessories, all branded with the BMW Motorrad regalia. The staff is very passionate too, with many of the sales consultants, mechanics and even the owners, participating in a racing team started by the dealership. There is a sense that these people are very zealous about the brand, which should mean that you’ll receive a warm welcome, should you visit the store.
What did BMW have to say?
Alexander Baraka, General Manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa, said: “Bavarian Motorcycles is the best business blueprint for a BMW Motorrad dealership. Their commitment, business philosophy, attitude and passion for the brand as well as our products have secured them the reputation of being one of the leading dealerships in the BMW Motorrad global network,” he explained.
In addition to being able to view the BMW motorcycle range in its entirety, there was also an opportunity for me to see the rather svelte R nineT up close and personal. The R nineT has a bit of a party piece with the Bavarian manufacture making this model a bit easier to customise. Ithas separate engine and chassis wiring harnesses and fewer bolts holding on the sub-frame and lights, which makes it easier than most bikes to strip and therefore the ability to create something a bit more unique.
The brand also mentioned that it will - for the first time - introduce a sub-500cc model this year. It will be called the BMW G 310 R, expected to make its local introduction later this year.
Expansion and projections
Apart from creating these dealerships to serve new and existing clients with a ‘lifestyle experience, these flagships, along with an ever-expanding product range, aim to promote growth within the brand. There are plans for the brand to expand in to new Asian markets as well as South America, with the total number of dealerships expected to go from 1 149 to 1 500 by 2020. BMW Motorrad also expects to sell some 200 000 units by 2020.