Speaking to us at dinner this evening, BMW Motorrad marketing manager Todd Andersen confirmed that a production maxi scooter based on the BMW Concept C will be entering the US market sometime after being unveiled at this fall’s bike shows. BMW’s second scooter will attempt to take on the worldwide maxi scooter segment leader, the Yamaha TMAX.
BMW is also announcing that all its models in the US will be equipped, as standard, with ABS starting next year. It's not currently clear how that will affect pricing — the non-ABS S1000RR starts at $13,950 to the ABS and DTC-equipped model's $15,880, but we'll find out first thing in the morning.
Update: BMW will just drop that base, non-ABS S1000RR and only sell the $15,880 model.
Unveiled at EICMA last year, the Concept C is an aggressively designed concept scooter that features terribly unrealistic details like blue tires and six-piston radial brake calipers. Don’t expect to see that level of spec when a production model based on it is revealed this fall, but the bike will likely adopt some of the concept’s aggressive styling cues.
Todd suggested that, with annual worldwide sales of the TMAX topping 30,000 units, the maxi scooter market is simply one BMW can’t afford to ignore. You can see his point, total worldwide sales for BMW Motorrad in 2010 were just 98,047 motorcycles.
We’re in the North Georgia mountains for the launch of the BMW K1600GT and BMW K1600GTL, bikes which, despite their huge discrepancy in price and capacity, provide some hint as to how BMW will enter the maxi scooter market. These tourers add a level of styling, performance, handling and feature content hitherto unheard of in the staid big tourer market. The production version of the Concept C will likely attempt something similar, adding to the already uber convenient maxi scooter concept with electronic whizz bang features intended to clearly mark BMW as a leader in the segment. BMW talks of being able to sell people on an expensive product they don’t need by making such a product extremely desirable.
The big question mark will be price. Where the K1600s are relying on big production numbers to provide reasonable costs — the K1600GTL is just $1 more than the 2012 Honda Goldwing, yet provides an all-new platform and a ton more features — the potential volume of a BMW maxi scooter could be limited. Just 3,000 scooters displacing 400cc or greater are sold in the US each year. If BMW needs to come in a a price point significantly greater than that of the $8,590 TMAX, will swiveling headlights, a luxury badge and Bluetooth integration be able to sell them?