Spring in the yard is gaining momentum, and in spring in Russia not only boats are thawing, but also motorcycles - also beautiful, also impractical, but sharply smelling of wind, sun and adventure. Vladimir Tchaikovsky, the permanent director of BMW Motorrad Russia, the motorcycle division of BMW in Russia, answers our questions and reflects on what motorcycles and yachts have in common.
Vladimir, good afternoon! At last the season is coming, which is so eagerly awaited both on water and on asphalt. What else do yachts and motorcycles have in common, besides acute winter sadness?
There's a lot in common, in my opinion. Firstly, both are things from the category of toys, and not cheap. Some lower segment, of course, is both there and there, but about its representatives are little written and generally left «behind brackets», I think. So, these are things that are played, and men play mostly - I can't say how many women are captains or owners of yachts, but in motorcycles the share of female users on average in the world is about five percent [in the yachting industry more than 95 percent of captains and first assistants are men, ItBoat].
Yachting and motorbikes alike require a lot of involvement. You can't just go buy yourself a motorcycle or a boat and - here it is.
You need to be involved in this world, in this culture; if you don't dive into it, you don't get all the fun.
Conditionally speaking, even a yacht can't boast if you don't know about it, what features it has, say, features, stuffing, performance ... The same with motorcycles.
Both yachts and motorcycles are elements of art, design and engineering, so the passion for both, I think, is inherent in people who understand and appreciate not only the functionality, but also the design and engineering features of their devices. Without this understanding, I think it is impossible to see the full picture of what you have. And the picture both there and there is big and complex, because both a yacht and a motorcycle are a combination of a very serious set of technical qualities and know-how, the quintessence of human knowledge and technology in a particular field. And, of course, this story in all aspects - both ownership and management skills and others - is what people need to show their status.
It is no secret that there are people who see a yacht solely as a platform for cultural drinking on the water or, say, for «throwing ponts» in the water area they like, be it Antibes or Pirogovo. Are there any people who will buy a BMW motorcycle exclusively at the call of fashion to come to the «show» a couple of times [the observation deck in front of the Main building of Moscow State University, a favorite meeting place for Moscow motorcyclists - ItBoat], or because they have a boss ardent motorcyclist and therefore «need to match ?»
Well, I know very high-ranking people who own expensive motorcycles because they really like motorcycles and understand them, not for the sake of some «likes». Although, on the other hand, to come by motorcycle to a meeting of, say, the State Council of the Russian Federation and get a comment on this from the President that, they say, «you should not put yourself in danger, and so it is not easy now» - also «a pomp», and cooler than many.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people who buy a motorcycle without understanding anything about it, but such people don't stay long - it's safe to say. At best they go somewhere a couple of times and then in three or four years they sell the bike like an old closet, without a shadow of regret. I think that's what happens to boats, too.
Recently, a new model R18 has been released - the world premiere of the big «cruiser» BMW. How long does the Russian market wait for it?
It is a difficult question, because the «market» in this case is quite an abstract concept. I would say so - everyone who is interested in motorcycles, who is regularly present in this topic, R18 is very interesting. Many people are waiting for it, and now, after the online presentation, there is already a polemic in the world of «love it or hate it». Basically it is concentrated around the landing of the driver - people think that huge cylinders of the opposition engine will not let the driver to stretch his legs forward, as it should be on classic «Americans», whose territory our new model claims. I personally think that such objections are the shouts of purists, who are crowned by any invasion into their reality of anything but the classic «V-twin».
Another point, much more important, is that R18 will be the first step in the return of the glorious history of the motorcycle brand BMW in the memory of motorcyclists, where it, alas, for some time left. Because many amateurs, for example, remember some characteristic things, such as Springer forks and Softail pendants at Harley-Davidson or deep wings at Indian, and about historical «BMW chips» do not know anything - neither about «fishtail» silencers in the form of a fin, nor about black coloring with cyrovki [technique of decorative finishing of motorcycle equipment by lines, note. itBoat], or other references to classic BWWs of the 1920s, of which R18 consists almost entirely. People do not know, for example, that the shape of its silencers or proudly exhibited beautiful chrome cardan - these are not design ideas of this particular model, but things taken from the rich history of motorcycles, which BMW has been building for a hundred years. And here in this ownership of the history of the brand has a huge potential for marketing. As «Tiffany» says, people remember not so much the diamonds themselves, albeit of high quality, but Rome, romance and Audrey Hepburn.
As for the Russian market, there is a lot of interest, almost the entire Russian R18 quota has been ordered and paid for, although the first motorcycles will only arrive in September.
BMW is traditionally associated with large and expensive motorcycles, but it is not the first year confidently takes more than 30% of the Russian market of new motorcycles. In the present realities the question looks a little mocking, but nevertheless - how the year two thousand and twentieth develops for BMW Motorrad so far?
I see no point in hitting the numbers and accounting statements now, and it is impossible to predict anything now. All I can say is that our clients are still in a positive mood. They continue to buy motorcycles as much as possible now that some dealers are closed and others have moved to remote work. In general, we are now seeing two trends. The first is that the interest in our bikes has remained and is not going anywhere, and the second is that actually everything «is on pause»now.
But motorcycles are a very niche market in our country, and big new motorcycles are an even smaller segment of this niche. According to 2019, there are only about five thousand units sold in Russia per year [for comparison, yacht and boat sales are 8 thousand units per year - IndexBox data for 2018, itBoat]. On the one hand, it is sad that there are so few, but on the other hand, it is encouraging that motorcyclists in this segment are very loyal customers, literally unshakeable in their passions. For all the crises that we have seen in Russia, not one and not two, we have seen that the impact of such crises on a person's desire to buy a motorcycle - not high. I think that the decision to become a motorcyclist is so serious and conscious in most people, that if it is made, no «contrary wind» will stop them. Motorcyclists are not the ones who are afraid of problems; I think so, as well as yachtsmen.
What is the portrait of a BMW Motorrad client? Who buys motorcycles in Russia for 1-2 million rubles?
These are completely different people. First of all, not only BMW has motorcycles for 1-2 million, but many different companies, and BMW has a lot of motorcycles for very different riding styles and uses. And what BMW has in common«», in my personal feeling, is that they understand and appreciate the responsible and professional «German» approach to motorcycles - to their development, production, service and so on. In my opinion, BMW is an ideal or ideal combination of consumer qualities. On paper, some characteristics of BMW may be, say, lower than those of a competitor, but in practice, the overall combination of all the qualities of a BMW motorcycle gives a person incomparable pleasure to drive. I came to BMW at one time from a Japanese company, I rode its sports bikes then, and tourist motorcycles I did not like, considered them unmanageable, just «cows», though powerful. And when I came to BMW, I was given a «tourist» - model R1150RS, and I was shocked by him. It wasn't very powerful, but it slowed down better, it already had a ABS, which the «Japanese» never dreamed of, and it didn't have to go into corners, it wrote its trajectory clearly. He could realize the full potential of his motor and the pilot felt relaxed and comfortable. That's when it became clear that it's not the power that decides, but how comfortably you can use it on the road.
Well, now it is, of course, a trend and fashion - still BMW has a very decent share of this market (at 35% last year) - but originally the person who buys our motorcycle, chooses it for a set of qualities. And also for the fact that all of us - those who make and sell BMW - love the brand and do everything to ensure that the person who bought our bike, get into the community, into the family of like-minded people. We rarely organize any festivals or mass races, such as in Minsk or Peter. In this respect, we are more individual and self-sufficient, or something like that - the format of a company with 5-7 people is much more typical for «Bamvashniki» than big motorcycle festivals. The format is just a small yacht, I think. Although once a year we also have a big party in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps - a wonderful place to go once in a lifetime, but you have to go in the company of like-minded people.