RoadRUNNER recently had a rare opportunity to sit down for a chat with Dr. Markus Schramm, the head of BMW Motorrad. During the interview, he shared his views on the current motorcycle market and what the future might hold, both for BMW and motorcycling in general.
Grab a nice cup of something warm and find out what Dr. Schramm thinks.
RR: How did BMW Motorrad handle the global crisis caused by COVID-19 and the Ukraine War?
COVID-19 was a big challenge for us—in 2020, we had to shut down our factory in Berlin for six weeks. The first day after the reopening, thanks to a great team, we ramped up the plant again with R 18 production.
Apart from that, we had a serious challenge with semiconductor supplies, but we managed to overcome these problems better than the car industry.
As 75% of our bikes’ wiring harnesses were produced in Ukraine, the war has been a big problem. The supply from Ukraine collapsed practically overnight and, in record time, we built up a new supply chain in India, Thailand, and South Africa.
Four weeks after launching wire harness part production in Thailand (we had some stock, so we didn’t have to interrupt the production completely), the women of Ukraine were back at the production line in two shifts.
The staff producing these wiring harnesses is predominantly female. So, just imagine—these women were sending their fathers, sons, and husbands to war and came back to work after just one month!
We had spent a lot of money to shift production, but went immediately back to Ukraine. The supplies there are now back to the volumes they produced before the war.
A nice story on the side—it was not easy to find truck drivers to bring the material from Ukraine to Berlin. Finally, we hired a man from Poland who was willing to do it.
Before driving back to Ukraine, we loaded his truck with support materials collected privately through the BMW organization to help the Ukrainian people. That was really great.