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Vladimir Chaikovsky: Demand for BMW bikes rising

Vladimir Chaikovsky, who is responsible for sales and marketing at BMW Motorrad Russia, has agreed to a question-and-answer session with Motonews.ru to fill us in on the latest developments in the BMW motorcycle business in Russia.

Vladimir, when we spoke in April 2010, you said that BMW planned to sell 600 motorcycles in Russia that year. Did you reach that target? And what are your expectations for this year? How many bikes did you sell, and how many are you planning to sell in 2011?
Artyom, it is a real pleasure for me to answer this question. We fulfilled our plans last year, and this year, it seems that the overall number of buyers of BMW motorcycles is much bigger than we imagined. Truth be told, we're already looking at a four-digit number. A few hundred motorcycles a year, after all, is an overly modest figure for a country as big as Russia.

Is it true that the demand for the new GT/GTL model is so high that you're already facing a shortage?
Unfortunately, that is true. We’ve been unable to provide the bike to everyone who wants to buy one. But the situation is the same almost worldwide. The bike has turned out to be highly interesting and popular. With that in mind, I would like to once again offer my apologies to those buyers who had to wait for their bike order for a long time.

Are there any current special offers/deals/master classes from official BMW dealers? What models do they have special offers on?
Like it or not, the fall is already right around the corner. So, traditionally, the most ‘patient’ riders get a bonus. For instance, a certain (although, I admit, small) number of K1300R, K1300S motorcycles manufactured in 2011 will be on sale with Akrapovic exhaust systems and navigation already built in, while the S1000RR model will feature sport tuning upgrades. The good news is this will have no impact whatsoever on the model’s basic price. And this is not the end of it. Everyone who buys such a motorcycle will be granted a free master-class by Maksim Averkin, Russia's circuit racing champion.

Next Year, BMW plans to bring a brand new product to the market – a BMW scooter, and, as far as I know, BMW has revealed two concept scooters at once, gasoline and electric-powered. Could you reveal the secret for our readers: when can we expect the bikes in Moscow?
The BMW scooter? We expect it to hit the market in April 2012. However, “the scooter” is too broad a definition. Come to think of it, we don’t usually say that this or that company taps the market with its new motorcycle or car. The same applies here – we're talking about two different scooters, both rigged out with four-cycle two-cylinder engines, both powerful and energy-saving. Naturally, they feature state-of-the-art electronics and ABS. Although they are both maxi scooters, they are profoundly different.
I'm quite sure that our clients will be surprised by how much thought we put into the detail and the ergonomics, as well as by the degree of care taken to ensure the safety of the driver and passenger. The BMW scooter essentially combines elements of motorcycle and automobile design and philosophy – a feature that makes the vehicle stand out.

What price range would you expect?
Artyom, I don't have an answer to this question. It's still too early. But when the snow starts melting in the spring, you will see for yourself.

Vladimir, how many official BMW dealers in Russia are currently selling motorcycles?
As of today, we have ten dealers. I'm pleased to say that we have six dealers and as many as eight showrooms in Moscow. This, of course, is not only for BMW’s benefit; it's also a good thing for our friends and clients.

Does BMW Motorrad place high priority on getting new dealers, for instance, out in Russia's regions?
Naturally, every company is looking to expand its business, and BMW is no exception. As early as next year, we plan to start selling and providing maintenance for our bikes in Tver, Volgograd, and, possibly in the foreseeable future, Novosibirsk. We are also counting the days until a new, absolutely gorgeous showroom opens in St. Petersburg; the showroom will be dedicated to both BMW motorcycles and M Series cars. Situated in a beautiful location, it is designed as a genuinely upscale VIP showroom. And that's not the end of it. We're greatly interested in other regions, as well, like the Volga region, where we have no motorcycle dealers at this point, though we'd love to consider serious proposals from any prospective partners.

Apart from Moscow-based dealers, who leads in motorcycle sales?
Naturally enough, St. Petersburg tops the list if we leave Moscow out. This is obviously not unexpected, what with it being a large city seen as a second capital. In fact, we are facing an interesting situation: we have dealers in Rostov, Krasnoyarsk and other cities, and sales are approximately the same across the board. Surely, it will take a lot of effort and money to boost the popularity of motorcycles throughout Russia. To make people get rid of their Soviet era stereotypes and fall for the beautiful modern motorcycle. In places where this is achieved, motorcycle activity will soar, and business will improve accordingly.

Established in 1916, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is one of the oldest European motorcycle manufacturers. BMW owns three famous luxury car brands: BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The BMW concern runs 23 factories in 12 countries on 4 continents. Germany (with its 8 plants) and Great Britain (with 4 plants) are home to most of its production facilities. BMW also runs full-fledged operations in Mexico and South Africa, as well as assembly plants in Egypt, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia (Kaliningrad).
BMW Berlin Plant (Germany) is the only facility to produce motorcycles and components. BMW assembles some motorcycle models in conjunction with Italy’s Piaggio. Founded in 1939, the Berlin-based plant is one of the oldest BMW operations. It started to produce motorcycles in 1949, and it now manufactures a few hundred (up to 500) different motorbikes a day and employs 2,600 people. As of late June 2009, the total number of BMW Group employees was 98,300 people, down from 106,000 people just a year earlier.

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