Thailand? Yes, you’re not mistaken.
So far, all BMW motorbikes were solely produced in BMW’s Berlin factory in Germany. Not anymore…
Well, to be precise, the statement about all motorbikes being produced in Germany isn’t entirely true. The BMW F650 was at some point produced by Aprillia in Italy. And, if I recall correctly, the one cylinder engine isn’t a BMW make but was supplied by a Taiwanese company.
Still, one can say that BMW Motorrad has so far concentrated all it’s manufacturing in Germany. This is about to change.
We’ve seen last year that BMW Motorrad entered a joint-venture with an Indian company to produce sub 500CC motorbikes. Basically, they copy KTM’s strategy. KTM has been producing the KTM Duke 200 and Duke 390 since 2012. And it’s a brilliant little bike. I myself ride a KTM Duke 200 and I’m quite happy with it (in Hong Kong you don’t need a lot of CC).
Now BMW accounted to even produce one of it’s roadster bikes abroad – in Thailand.
From 2014 onwards, the factory in Thailand’s Rayong will produce the BMW F800R.
“Why Thailand?” you might ask.
It seems Thailand is a favourite destination for European motorbike manufacturers. Triumph and Ducatti both assemble bikes in Thailand.
It’s not hard to see why – Thailand remains an attractive place for two-wheelers. China, the biggest economy in Asia bar Japan, is more following in the footsteps of Europe when it comes to the preference of two-wheelers vs four wheelers.
The motorbike industry experienced a dramatic decline in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s when people moved away from motorbikes to cars. The same trend is happening in China – if you have money you go for four wheels.
Thailand is a bit different in this regard. One reason might be the climate. As it’s hot pretty much the entire year, riding a bike is more comfortable compared to China’s cold winters.
Moreover, assembling in Thailand allows you to export to the markets of South-east Asia, i.e. Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and even further to Australia and New Zealand.
The only thing I haven’t figured out yet: HOW MUCH?! I might just take a flight down and bring one back home to Hong Kong…..