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MUM’S THE WORD FOR BMW

Considering first-quarter 2021 figures so impressive that they should have bestowed bragging rights, BMW Motorrad was surprisingly taciturn instead, revealing the minimum detail acceptable to investors in its parental group statement. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Riding along in the bounce-back now benefiting most European manufacturers, BMW’s bike business had generated quarterly revenue growth of 35.2% to £655m. Associated operating profit leapt by 87.5% to £117m. Operating margin soared to 17.9% from 12.9% in the equivalent period last year.

This good fortune was based on its global retail sales during the three months in question rising by 22.5% to 42,592 motorcycles and maxiscooters. End of story. Information about the success of particular models or performance in leading markets worldwide was entirely absent. All we can tell readers, from BDN’s own resources, is that registrations in the UK bucked such a positive trend, falling by 3.9% to 2013 machines — a modest 4.7% share of total brand sales.

In bizarre contrast, the BMW automotive segment got a tedious chapter-and-verse presentation on the efficacy of its cars and volume sold in various markets, accompanied by details about the fast-track pace of vehicle electrification.

The only other mention of bikes was in a dry fact-lite forecast for the full year: “The motorcycle segment is expected to record a solid increase in deliveries to customers. Operating margin is predicted to lie within a target range of 8-10%, enabling the segment to record a significantly higher level of return on capital employed than one year earlier.”

[€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 7 May 2021]

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