Today BMW has announced a strategic partnership with TVS Motors that represents an intersection of the two major growth areas in motorcycling right now: Asian markets and small-displacement bikes. While BMW currently sells motorcycles all over the world, the smallest bikes in the current lineup are the single 650CC F 650 GS and the similarly-sized twin in the new C-series scooters. The former also representing BMW ‘s least expensive stateside offering.

By partnering with TVS, BMW is able to expand its already diverse lineup of bikes to include smaller displacement machines which should, by extension, be much more affordable. What remains to be seen, however, is if any of these partnered offerings will actually find their way out of Asia into Europe or the USA. There have been murmurings of a new “entry level ” BMW headed to market in the near future, and it would seem this TVS partnership may be underpinning those rumors.

Just how small will BMW go? A quick glace at TVS ‘s website showed most of their offerings at well under 200cc, let alone 500cc. This is encouraging for BMW purists as it likely means that a key aspect of this partnership is not only helping BMW go smaller, but helping TVS go bigger. This would lead us to believe that the chances of a simply re-badged TVS bike wearing the BMW roundel are pretty slim.

This is also not BMW ‘s only Asian manufacturing and engineering partnership. BMW works with Taiwan ‘s Kymco to produce the parallel twin 800cc engines powering the F 800 GS and other machines. Those engines have more than proven themselves at this point.

Another interesting point of conjecture would be to look at TVS ‘s scooter offerings. With the Motorrad devision already established as BMW Group ‘s “Center of Competence in Urban Mobility ” an expanded scooter line could make sense. For those not needing to commute into the cities, but rather living in dense urban areas already, something smaller than the C-series BMW scooters could make a lot of sense. A more compact scooter in the 250cc-400cc range could be a rather appealing option that could compete head to head with smaller, more egalitarian offerings from Honda and Piaggio.

Speaking of Piaggio, it ‘s worth noting that the Piaggio group also has India in its plans for future growth, recently bringing Vespa back to India after a long absence. By partnering with TVS, BMW better positions itself to compete with the world ‘s largest motorcycle company in this key market.

What follows is the full, official press release from BMW.

As part of its strategic reorientation, BMW Motorrad will be entering the segment below 500 cubic centimetres. BMW Motorrad and the TVS Motor Company have signed a long-term cooperation agreement for this purpose. This was announced at a press conference today in Chennai, India.

The aim of the cooperation is to join forces to develop and produce motorcycles in the segment below 500 cubic centimetres.

The various stages through to the finished serial production motorcycle will be planned by both partners but implemented with different focus areas on each side leveraging the strengths of both companies. The cooperation agreement involves the two companies each offering their own vehicle derivatives, which will be sold through their own distribution channels in India and across the globe.

Both contractual partners commented on the future cooperative venture at the press conference. Stephan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad:
“In view of changing motorcycle markets, demographic developments and increasing environmental demands we are expanding our product range so as to tap into fresh growth potential. We have a highly expert and experienced partner in the TVS Motor Company. This means that in future we will be able to offer vehicles in smaller capacity classes in addition to the BMW Motorrad core segments. Various types of motorcycle are conceivable. They will meet the expectations of a BMW motorcycle in terms of riding fun as well as setting a new benchmark when it comes to stability, agility and performance figures. I regard this long-term cooperation as an important step along the road to profitable, sustainable growth. ”

Venu Srinivasan, Chairman TVS Motor Company:
“With BMW Motorrad, we see an ideal long-term strategic partner who shares our core values: focus on quality, engineering prowess, innovation and customer satisfaction. We intend to leverage each other’s strengths to deliver a new series of products offering cutting edge technology for our customers. ”

The cooperation partner TVS Motor Company is one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in India with an annual production volume of some 2 million units and a turnover of more than one billion USD. TVS Motor Company is the flagship company of the 100 year old six billion USD TVS Group, which has some 40 companies and holdings in the automotive sector. TVS Motor Company offers the widest range of product in the Indian two and three wheeler industry. The company’s customer inspired engineering approach, has enabled it to introduce a wide product range that caters to all industry segments. TVS Motor Company has international presence in more than 50 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Source: BMW