Culture – Jean-Michel Cavret: BMW is aging less than the market – Used BMW


Jean-Michel Cavret: BMW is aging less than the market

Jean-Michel Cavret, Managing Director BMW Motorrad France, answers Moto-Net’s questions in the context of our Special BMW Report.

Jean-Michel Cavret, Managing Director BMW Motorrad France, answers Moto-Net’s questions in the context of our Special BMW Report.

Moto-Net: what a fly stung BMW, with six new models coming out in a few months ?
Jean-Michel Cavret, Director of BMW Motorrad France: We want to continue to be a major player in motorcycles by expanding our range, so as to reach larger segments than before. We realized that the novelty effect was very important: it arouses increasing interest from buyers and increases our brand image..


Moto-Net: does this mean that you would eventually become a generalist motorcycle manufacturer? ?
J.-M. C .: No, we are more of a "Premium" brand. Our difficulty lies rather in the fact of positioning the models in relation to each other, always with a concern for quality, technology and comfort. The second point of our strategy is to rejuvenate our clientele: generally, a young person does not start with a BMW. With our differentiated offer, we age less than the market, while the average biker is aging…

Moto-Net: why not tackle the large urban scooter market? Would a brand like BMW be legitimate in this niche? ?
J.-M. C .: There is nothing in our boxes concerning this type of project! In Germany – because we are first and foremost a German manufacturer! -, bikers do not go to their office by motorbike. They use it on weekends. So even if the Latin countries (Italy, Spain and France) are doing very well in this niche, it is not a priority for us. Another reason is that we do not have any new technological offer for this sector. Finally, the scooter as you understand it is not going towards a rejuvenation of the brand. Conversely, there are more fun products on the off-road side. Thus, reflections are being carried out in this direction on the side of a market that is going strong in the United States. But it’s still too early to talk about it…

Moto-Net: you were just talking about the technological offer. Innovation has always been a driving force behind BMW, but how do you expect to continue to surprise on this aspect? ?
J.-M. C .: We are faced with a sort of dilemma on this point. On the one hand, we were the first to invent ABS for motorcycles and, two years later, to market it. We have also innovated with catalytic converters. Meanwhile, Japanese GPs have focused everything on performance and only performance. Today, the profile of the world market is therefore based on this. Unfortunately, in this context, we have to live with a very repressive French particularism. So you see the paradox … Well, we still released the K 1200 S which is a real revolution. In short, we can innovate but we have to stick to the market and I would say that if we remain unquestionably a company of engineers, we are also that of financiers..

Moto-Net: does the boss of the French subsidiary manage to make himself heard in Germany ?
J.-M. C .: Me, I am a man of the ground in a given market. The motorcycle manager in Germany has to design a global motorcycle. However, as I told you a moment ago, the discourse is everywhere "power, power". And, we, here, we cannot pass this speech…

Moto-Net: yet we feel that BMW has changed dimension and image !
J.-M. C .: Yes. At one point, the group realized that there was a strong disparity between the motorcycle image and the car image. It was paradoxical to note that unlike the automobile, our motorcycles had a non-sporting image. And the reaction was all the more vigorous. I am also delighted to see that 11% of our motorcycle customers also own a BMW car and 9% a Mercedes. This would tend to show that we can sell cars and motorcycles in the same dealerships…

Moto-Net: precisely, is your network correctly sized ?
J.-M. C .: To date, it is made up of 85 concessions, including 26 mixed, which account for 23% of sales. If it were to be optimum, this network could go up to 90 addresses. But it is becoming totally exclusive. Mixed concessions are working well. The proof, we started with two in 1998 and we are now at 26. We are also the only ones to have two branches of our own well distributed in Paris (Bobillot and Etoile, editor’s note) and a service point in Courbevoie.

Moto-Net: some bikers complain about a sometimes haughty reception in concession ?
J.-M. C .: I admit that we have an image problem and that we are not always perfect. On the one hand, we are developing a very powerful IT concept, the Self Assistant 3, which allows the customer to configure his future motorcycle. We do not want to deceive him to be professional and especially Premium. On the other hand, BMW wants to keep a lot of options, but at the same time we have to respond as closely as possible to the customer’s desire. It should also be understood that behind all this, there is a tight flow with a very precise management tool and the possibility for the buyer to follow all the genesis of his machine. It’s not always easy to set to music without false notes !

Moto-Net: yet the customer pays dearly !
J.-M. C .: And our performance is all the more remarkable! Take a 1200 RT which is worth 16,600 €. You add the heated grips (200 €) and, for example, the cruise control (300 €) or the on-board computer. It’s not cheap, but also look at the technological offer and the quality of our motorcycles. I would say that since we have specific requests, we try to answer them as well as possible. Do not forget either our financing formula (BMW Select) which is very flexible and offers from the start the possibility of a flexible proposal with visibility over three years.

Moto-Net: coming back to the market, one wonders why you let the administration’s motorcycles slip away when at the last Milipol, the presentation of the 1200 RT in the colors of the gendarmerie had a great effect ?
J.-M. C .: When we showed this bike, it was a year after the civilian model. And during the French call for tenders, which fell in June 2004, the 1200 RT was not yet unveiled (read, Editor’s note). I remind you that it was only released in December 2004. We were therefore not able to have this machine tested, nor to show it to the administration. I would say that the "novelty" effect played in favor of the Japanese…

Moto-Net: wasn’t there also a question of price ?
J.-M. C .: The price factor is totally wrong. First, because this Japanese is made in Japan and therefore denominated in yen. And at that time, their currency was very high. So our price was perfectly competitive. Moreover, it does not play out only on this. But I can assure you that in three years, we will be here with the product that was shown to Milipol. Remember that motorcycles for administration are designed directly and specifically at the Berlin plant, where they are designed and manufactured for their users. !


File produced by Pierre SYLVESTRE

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