BMW will add sub-500cc models to its range, building them in India in partnership with TVS Motor Company. Those bikes will be sold both in India and in Western markets. This is a huge departure from tradition for the German company, which has typically focussed on high-end, luxury bikes.
"In view of changing motorcycle markets, demographic developments and increasing environmental demands we are expanding our product range so as to tap into fresh growth potential," states BMW Motoradd president Stephan Schaller. "We have a highly expert and experienced partner in the TVS Motor Company. This means that in future we will be able to offer vehicles in smaller capacity classes in addition to the BMW Motorrad core segments. Various types of motorcycle are conceivable. They will meet the expectations of a BMW motorcycle in terms of riding fun as well as setting a new benchmark when it comes to stability, agility and performance figures. I regard this long-term cooperation as an important step along the road to profitable, sustainable growth."
TVS currently manufactures over 2 million motorcycles, scooters and auto rickshaws for the Indian market each year.
The move is in-line with wider industry trends, with nearly every manufacturer shifting its focus away from an older generation of western consumer which tends to prefer large, expensive bikes and onto a younger rider who demands affordability and accessible performance, and who likely lives outside the US or Western Europe.
"The aim of the cooperation is to join forces to develop and produce motorcycles in the segment below 500 cubic centimetres," states BMW. "The various stages through to the finished serial production motorcycle will be planned by both partners but implemented with different focus areas on each side leveraging the strengths of both companies. The cooperation agreement involves the two companies each offering their own vehicle derivatives, which will be sold through their own distribution channels in India and across the globe."
No details of the future products have yet been divulged, but you can expect to see them covered here in the coming years.