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BMW K-Series Motorcycle Introduction

Editor's Note:  We thought we'd publish this interesting speech given by Hendrik von Kuenheim, the President of BMW Motorrad.

The speech was given at the introduction of the new BMW K Series at the Intermot 2008 Cologne show on October 7, 2008. 


"Ladies and gentlemen, Let me also welcome you warmly to BMW Motorrad at the INTERMOT.

I am very pleased to celebrate the world premiere of three BMW motorcycles here with you.  The BMW Motorrad model offensive continues with undiminished momentum.

2008 Review
Before we present the new models in our range for the 2009 season, I would like to look back briefly on this year’s motorcycle season.  In 2008 we launched no less than six new models.  The year began with the model revision of the most successful BMW models ever.

The R 1200 GS and her sister model, the Adventure, are still among the most popular motorcycles in the world.  Since March the dream bike of many boxer fans has been on the market.

The HP2 Sport is the sportiest and most powerful series production flat-twin of all time.  What makes it so fascinating are its exclusive detail features which have only been seen in motorsports up to now.

In March we also launched two further Enduro models – this time in the middle range.  The F 800 GS combines first-class off-road capabilities and convincing all-round qualities like no other middle-range Enduro at the moment.

With the two-cylinder F 650 GS we are continuing the concept of the successful predecessor model.  It is a light, uncomplicated all-round motorcycle for the road and the occasional light off-road trip.

And with the G 450 X we have moved into the Sports Enduro segment for the first time.  In typical BMW style we are offering a highly innovative and trailblazing sports bike.  In line with this we will significantly expand our commitment in Enduro motorsports with this bike.  We want to ride right up front next season with a top team of riders.

Ladies and gentlemen, our model offensive will contribute to BMW Motorrad achieving excellent sales figures this year, too.  This is especially encouraging since all important motorcycle markets are downshifting and some very fast indeed.

Markets such as Spain or Italy have shrunk double-digit and in the US, sales also dropped by a high single-digit figure.  Here on the German market, too, the downward trend still continues.  Amplified by the worldwide recession tendencies, the motorcycle market in the segment above 500 cc dropped considerably by more than 7 %.  This development affected us, too. 

In addition we have decided to change our sales strategy.  In future leading the German market in terms of units sold will no longer be the main objective, but rather the fact whether the dealer network and thus also BMW Motorrad is doing solid business.

That is why we have significantly reduced our direct sales promotion measures this year.  This naturally affects our sales figures which in Germany are 12 percent lower than last year’s up until August.

Looking at the situation worldwide, due to the weak important markets, our deliveries to customers have dropped slightly by 2.9 % compared to last year up until.  In Italy, our second-most important market, we are 6% ahead compared to the previous year.

In France and Great Britain including Ireland we were able to sell more motorcycles as compared to the same period in 2007.  However, this growth has not been able to balance the downturn in other important markets such as Germany, Spain and the USA.

However, if one looks at the market shares in the segment above 500 cc, we have gained market share in all relevant markets.  Compared to the overall market, BMW Motorrad has been able to hold its own very well.  You could almost call it a special BMW Motorrad economy.

In the prognosis for worldwide annual sales we expect to come very close to last year’s record sales figure.  So we will only be taking a break regarding growth in 2008.

Once again the R 1200 GS and the GS Adventure were the most popular BMW motorcycles.  As expected, middle-range Enduro sales of the F 800 GS and F 650 GS are very positive.  It should be noted here that we are only currently beginning to deliver these models overseas.

Husqvarna
Ladies and gentlemen, progress at our second brand, Husqvarna Motorcycles, is very strong.  Operative business is very robust, meaning that motorcycle availability in the markets and the spare parts business are very stable.  We have also been able to improve product quality considerably.  Deliveries are proceeding according to plan.

As announced, Husqvarna will probably be delivering about 30% more motorcycles than last year before BMW took over.  The plant in Cassinetta is undergoing further modernization.

The separation of the Husqvarna and MV Augusta production areas has been completed with the move of Husqvarna’s engine production.  By the middle of next year the new headquarters on the factory grounds will already commence operation.

In the meantime we are also making use of our synergy potential.  Husqvarna is cooperating with our engineers in Munich in the engine development area and the first BMW Motorrad dealers are offering Husqvarna models.

BMW S 1000 RR
BMW S 1000 RR in final form.

BMW Safety
Back to BMW: BMW Motorrad has always been a pioneer with regards to environment protection and safety.  We already introduced the catalytic converter in the early nineties and today our engines are among the most efficient in the competitive field.

20 years ago, in 1988, we were the first manufacturer to present an ABS braking system for motorcycles.  Today every BMW, with the exception of the G 450, is available with ABS.  No other manufacturer offers such a wide ABS range.  Worldwide more than 90% of our bikes are equipped with ABS.  This is unique in the motorcycle industry and a great success.

We extended this innovation lead in the area of safety with the first automatic stability control system for motorcycles in 2006.  We will continue to focus strongly on our innovative power in the area of environment technology and safety.  I can announce to you today that our S 1000 RR supersports bike will already include a new generation of innovative control systems.

In addition we are also thinking about other mobility topics and customer needs of the future.  In this respect we also have our focus on the world’s metropolitan areas.  In the coming years we can envision that - apart from the combustion engine - the electric drive could be implemented in a new vehicle concept at an acceptable price combined with an acceptable range.  Our core business, however, will remain innovative, thrilling motorcycles which brings me to our new models at the INTERMOT. 

"New" BMW K-Series
You will remember that 25 years ago BMW Motorrad decided to create a wider base for its model range.  With the introduction of the K Series in 1983 we launched a motorcycle with four-cylinder inline engine for the first time.

Next to our boxer models this gave our BMW Motorrad range a second strong leg to stand on.  In 2004 we presented the K 1200 S, the first motorcycle of a new K generation featuring a transverse inline four-cylinder engine.  We expanded the K Series with the K 1200 GT high-performance tourer and K 1200 R roadster.

We have sold almost 65,000 four-cylinder motorcycles in the past four years.  Now the time has come to give this attractive model series a new and powerful impulse. 

This brings me to the world premiere of the new K model series.  I use the term “new K Series” on purpose because we have conducted profound changes both with regards to all the technology and visual appearance.

Our aim was to significantly improve the three models in terms of performance, handling, dynamics, visual appeal and quality.

Allow me to point out a few central points.  By raising capacity to 1300 cc, our engineers have not only increased output but also torque on all three models.  At the same time the driveline was intensively revised from air/gas mixture formation right through to the exhaust system.  In this way we have been able to optimize partial load behavior as well as throttle response.

Now the clutch can be operated with even less effort and with greater refinement.  Shifting has been improved tangibly due to constructional changes to the gearbox and drive.  Both the K 1300 S and also the R will also have the shift assistant - familiar from the HP2 Sport - available as an option for the first time.

We have also advanced the chassis.  The new lower longitudinal strut is now made of aluminum and is thus considerably lighter.  This makes the front wheel guidance response even more sensitive.  The result of this comprehensive development work is superior handling, improved rideability and lower fuel consumption.

The electronically adjustable suspension – called ESA in short – was launched as a world first on the K 1200 S.  Now we are presenting the new, well-proven ESA II as an option for the K Series, too.

Apart from the suspension and damping this unique system also allows the spring rate to be adjusted at the press of a button. 

In addition to the standard BMW Integral ABS, our customers can again order ASC Automatic Stability Control as a sensible extra.  The K Series model revision also heralds a new and innovative generation of switches and controls.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is simply not enough time to present all the measures here.  Please also see the comprehensive press material for further details.

Now let me briefly come to the individual models: With a maximum output of 175 horsepower and a maximum torque of 140 Newton meters, the new K 1300 S is until today the most powerful and fastest series production BMW of all time.

We have changed the chassis geometry for even more neutral cornering and even greater agility.  More than ever before the “S” combines sportiness, riding dynamics and easy handling with comfort and perfect everyday suitability.

The new design also suits these significantly improved properties.  The K 1300 S now has a much slimmer and sportier visual appeal due to these numerous changes.

BMW K 1300 R
The K 1300 R is a high-performance bike of quite a different kind.  No other BMW radiates its power with such force as this naked bike.  With newly designed fairing and trim as well as a more compact front wheel guard, the new K Roadsters now has a more stretched dynamic look.

We have also revised the “R” chassis geometry compared to the predecessor model.  The new settings ensure even greater agility without losing any ride stability.  With 173 horsepower, a maximum torque of 140 Newton meters and a weight of only 243 kilograms, our extravagant power roadster meets our customers’ highest demands regarding riding dynamics.

BMW K 1300 GT
Our third new model at the Intermot will extend its worldwide market leadership among the dynamic tourers even further.  The K 1300 GT has also profited from the raised capacity and has been significantly improved in all ride dynamics areas compared to her predecessor.

With an output of 160 horsepower and a torque of 135 Newton meters, the K 1300 GT stands for “Gran Turismo“ at the highest level.  In order to emphasize the touring character compared to the other K models, we focused more on pulling power at low and medium engine speeds for the GT.

Like no other high-performance tourer, the K 1300 GT combines the highest possible level of agility and sporty dynamics with a travel-suitable overall package.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the theory on our new K Series.  Now get ready to experience the three motorcycles live!

Ladies and gentlemen, the new BMW K Series.  Here you can see another motorcycle standing next to me.  I think I know what you’re suspecting.  I will hand you over to Peter Müller, the head of development and model series, and he will unveil the secret.  Could I ask you to step up, Mr Müller …"

BMW S 1000 RR FrontBMW S 1000 RR Rear

 

Speech by Peter Müller Executive Vice President Development and Model Lines

October 7, 2008 - "Ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to welcome you very warmly.  Before you look at our K 1300 models close-up, I would ask for a moment of your attention.  We would like to inform you briefly about our motorsports activities, especially about our Superbike project.

As far as our off-road plans for the 2009 season are concerned, we will inform you later this year.  At this point I can only say this much: we have a lot planned next year and a couple of surprises in store.

However, today l want to concentrate on on-road motorsports.  In 2007 and 2008 our factory team competed against strong competition with the HP2 Sport in a total of nine international long distance races.

Famous endurance classics such as Le Mans, Bol d’Or and Daytona 200 were raced.  Considering how far the other teams were ahead of us with regards to performance and experience, we did very well and achieved the successes we were aiming for.

The encouraging reactions also clearly showed how the public welcomes the renewed BMW Motorrad commitment in on-road motorsports. 

BMW in World Superbike
Apart from competing itself these two years were also important in preparing for the Superbike world championship.  We used the time to update our racetrack skills and knowledge and gained a lot of experience.

By entering the Superbike world championship we are taking the next step.  The interesting and very emotional long-distance commitment by BMW Motorrad is thus over for the time being.  However, we are convinced that the BMW brand will be represented by private teams riding our S 1000 RR in the Endurance world championship.

This brings me to our Superbike project.  Let me say a few words about our S 1000 RR – our series motorcycle – before I talk about our racing activities.  I can already promise you that this completely new motorcycle with 1000 cc inline four cylinder engine will be an absolutely convincing and competitive offer both with regards to price and technology.

I will point this out by highlighting a few details: With its compact cylinder head the engine has a very slim design.  The valves are operated by very small, compact and light cam followers whose dimensions are at Formula One level.

This type of construction ensures very high engine speeds and permits the greatest degree of freedom in designing the engine with regard to torque and output. 

The motorcycle will weigh less than 205 kg fully fuelled.  That means we will be right up front next year regarding output-to-weight ratio.  Overall the entire package is very compact and light.  Which of course mainly benefits the handling of the motorcycle.

And, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to specially developed electronics components on the S 1000 RR, BMW Motorrad is once again the trailblazer in this area.  A dynamic traction control will be available for our supersports bike.  The functional principle of this traction control is taken directly from motorsports.

In addition a completely new Sport ABS will be available for the series model.  We are totally convinced that we have here exactly what the customer wants.  The S 1000 RR will be thrilling to ride both on the road and on the racetrack.  Handling, output delivery and output-to-weight will be at top level.

A great deal of inventive details will contribute to the S 1000 RR achieving an illustrious place in the series of four-cylinder motorcycles.  The motorcycle can be ordered from spring 2009.

As far as our motorsports preparations for the Superbike world championship are concerned we have been able to win over two real Superbike racing personalities for our team – Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser.

We are very proud of having these two riders in our Motorsport Team.  With the Spaniard Ruben Xaus we have a great, aggressive rider capable of enormous emotion and racing passion who has Superbike WC and MotoGP experience and is consistently up at the front in this year’s Superbike World Championship.

I don’t need to tell you much about Troy Corser.  With over 300 races the Australian is the most experienced rider in the Supebike World Championship.  Two World Championship titles and countless victories and podium positions speak for themselves.

These two riders are ideal for us. I would even go so far as to say they are the absolute dream team.  Their long years of experience will be very valuable especially in the challenging early stages.  They will contribute greatly to us reaching the level of the top teams as fast as possible.

As we already announced, BMW Motorrad is not joining the Superbike World Championship just for the fun of taking part.  Our mid-term goal is quite clearly to win the World Championship title.  We are exactly on schedule regarding the development of the race bike.

As you know our racing activities are carried out in close cooperation with our partner Alpha-Racing.  The newly built racing team headquarters near Rosenheim have been operational for some time and will be officially opened this month.  Our racing bike will be further refined in the workshops there as well as on diverse test tracks.

The entire team is highly motivated and can’t wait for the first race.  In April of this year we presented the first racing bike prototype.  Some of you have already witnessed us testing the bike on the race track.

Today we are proud to be able to present to you the official race bike for the Superbike World Championship 2009.  May I ask our head of motorports Berti Hauser and our model series manager Markus Poschner to join me up on the stage.  Ladies and gentlemen, here is the (BMW S 1000 RR) race bike by BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team Alpha Racing for the season 2009."

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