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BMW cars and motor-cycles: Great products but no future in Egypt and Middle East - New BMW importer needed urgently in Egypt

05-07-2010 / Munich - Cairo - Dubai /

First the good news: BMW AG is launching a lot of interesting cars and bikes soon, such as the new BMW X3, the new BMW 3 series or its new 6-cylinder motorcycle.

The bad news is, that those cars and bikes will probably never be sold or be successful in Egypt. Why? Well, first of all BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group stopped selling bikes and its Motorrad Division already several years ago.

Second, BMW Egypt and the Bavarian Auto Group is putting all its focus on Chinese and Indian cars - one of the many reasons why most of the important key-managers at Bavarian Auto Group (BAG) left the company during the past few weeks and months, and thereby reassuring the prediction and rumors of the severe management and financial problems the Bavarian Auto Group / BMW Egypt is facing.

Just recently BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group had to establish a new 'company' with other car dealers and distributors such as Ezz El Arab (Citroen Egypt, Proton Egypt, Chrysler authorized dealer), for the 'distribution of BMW vehicles in Egypt'.

Shortly before that the Rolls Royce mother-company canceled its dealer-ship agreement with BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group as it was not content with the performance of the Bavarian Auto Group and their behavior with the exclusive customers of Rolls Royce cars.

After that BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group strengthened its position with low-quality and low-price cars and brands in Egypt, by signing a new merger and cooperation-agreement with the automotive importer and distributor Ezz El Arab (Citroen Egypt, Proton Egypt, Chrysler authorized dealer), for the import and distribution of the Chinese Great Wall cars. With Brilliance, Mahindra, Jin Bein microbuses and now Great Wall the Bavarian Auto Group / BMW Egypt is indeed cementing its position as the leading importer and distributor of Chinese and Indian low-price and low-quality vehicles in Egypt. Same probably applies to the after-sales and customer service.

BMW Egypt / BAG chairman, Mr. Farid El Tobgui, himself told media representatives at the launch event of the new 'Bavarian Ezz Automotive' company that 'the world has great confidence in Great Wall Motor Company, and representing such a strong company and promoting such high-end vehicles make us proud of this partnership.'

So, since when did Great Wall become a 'high-end vehicle' manufacturer, Mr. El Tobgui? Well, for me it seems that Mr. El Tobgui is mixing up a few things and I still believe Great Wall will never become a high-end product even it will be assembled on the same assembly line in Egypt where the Made-In-Egypt BMW and Brilliance cars are assembled.

The problem of BMW Egypt and its chairman Farid El Tobgui is that El-Tobgui is concentrating too much on the low-price and low-quality brands in his company, that he forgot how he should take care of the more important Rolls Royce, BMW and MINI customers.

He neglected those important clients that much, that even the Egyptian Prime Minister and many other top ranking ministers and government officials are complaining heavily about the incompetent and insufficient service of their B6 / B7 armored 7 series High Security vehicles and the many problems associated with their armored cars. No wonder most of those ministries are switching to other German, Japanese, British and American brands in order to feel safe and taken good care of.

Some of those ministers called me personally to verify how armored cars could be that faulty and bad-maintained. And I was even more shocked when I test-drove some of those armored BMW cars here in Cairo.

But let us go back to the BMW K 1600 GT. So, any chance for potential customers and motor-bike lovers of purchasing the BMW K 1600 GT / GTL in Egypt or the Middle East when the bike is launched? Well, the BMW regional office in Dubai hardly pays any attention to the BMW Motorrad products - one reason why Harley, Ducati, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha are by far more popular, more successful and much more present in the Gulf region.

Unlike the Middle East and gulf region, the situation in Egypt is even more hopeless for the renowned and high-quality BMW motorcycles.

BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group lost interest in the selling and distributing BMW motorcycles already several years ago. First they could not compete in the normal 'customer' sector, and later on they could also not compete in the governmental-sales sector.

When the Egyptian government and ministries stopped purchasing BMW Bikes and switched to Yamaha and Suzuki Egypt, BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group pulled the plug on the BMW motorcycle division. The last 4-5 BMW bikes displayed in the Bavarian Auto Group had in the show-rooms were even sold without warranty and any entitlement to even service, as they closed down the service shop as well, thereby ruining completely the confidence and faith of the Egyptian BMW customers into this fabulous brand and into the strange-acting Bavarian Auto Group.

Maybe this is a good timing for looking for a new BMW Motorrad official importer, and on the long run maybe even find a new importer for the magnificent brands BMW and MINI, instead of the Bavarian Auto Group. Rolls Royce already did the first step in that regard.

But now seriously let's get back to the BMW K1600 GT and K 1600 GTL. Since BMW Motorrad presented the concept study Concept 6 in autumn 2009, the six-cylinder in-line engine featured in it has captured the imagination of many motorcycle fans. With BMW, six-cylinder in-line engines have stood for fascinating engine technology in automobiles for over seven decades, in a way which is unique among brands. In the near future, BMW motorcycles will also be available with an internally developed six-cylinder in-line engine.

With the BMW K 1600 GT and the BMW K 1600 GTL, BMW Motorrad is penetrating a whole new dimension in the Touring world of experience . Both motorcycles stand for a supreme, impressive and equally distinctive appearance, arousing a desire to travel at first sight.

Riding dynamics, long-distance suitability and comfort:

For decades, six-cylinder in-line engines have offered a special fascination. In addition to their perfect running smoothness they also offer supreme output and torque, giving the rider powerful emotional impressions, too. And of course the sound of a six-cylinder engine is beyond compare.

In addition to safety, equipment and prestige, the key criteria for a supreme touring bike are comfort and dynamics. With the most compact in-line six-cylinder engine in serial motorcycle production to date, the K 1600 GT and the K 1600 GTL penetrate a whole new dimension in terms of riding properties, long-distance suitability and comfort. They combine maximum agility and riding dynamics with a luxurious overall package. With an engine output of 118 kW (160 bhp) and a maximum torque of approx. 175 newton metres, their six-cylinder engine provides superb propulsion in all conditions.

BMW K 1600 GT with active riding ergonomics for proactive touring:

The dynamic touring bike BMW K 1600 GT is characterised by an active seating position which nonetheless offers a high level of long-distance comfort. The reason for this is the favourable set-up of the ergonomics triangle made up of footrests, seat and handlebars. The K 1600 GT has a very extensive range of standard features ex works consisting of xenon (HID) headlight, heated grips and seat, cruise control and on-board computer. These features in conjunction with the supreme riding qualities of the new BMW Motorrad six-cylinder engine leave nothing to be desired for the proactive tour rider.

BMW K 1600 GTL with very comfortable, relaxed ergonomics set-up for long trips with pillion passenger:

The luxurious touring bike BMW K 1600 GTL meets the highest demands. Rider and pillion passenger benefit from the relaxed, upright seating position as is especially appreciated over long distances. The ergonomics design is geared towards even further enhanced comfort and derives from a two-level seat in conjunction with rider footrests which are positioned further forward and lower down, as well as handlebars which reach further back. The standard topcase rounds off the range of comfort features for the pillion passenger.

Like the K 1600 GT, the K 1600 GTL has a very extensive range of standard features consisting of xenon headlight, heated grips and seat, cruise control and on-board computer. The overall impression of this fascinating six-cylinder motorcycle with a carefully conceived storage concept, audio system as standard and numerous design elements make the BMW K 1600 GTL the flagship among BMW touring bikes.

Some of the highlights of the BMW K 1600 GT/GTL are:

* Supreme in-line six-cylinder engine with a high level of pulling power, especially in the lower and medium engine speed range.
* Engine output 118 kW (160 bhp) at approx 7 500 rpm and maximum torque approx. 175 Nm at approx. 5 000 rpm.
* Over 70% of maximum torque available from 1 500 rpm.
* Lightest and most compact six-cylinder in-line engine in serial motorcycle production, weighing just 102.6 kg and measuring 560 mm in width.
* Consistent lightweight construction throughout the entire vehicle (magnesium front panel carrier, aluminium rear frame, crankshaft etc.).
* E-Gas (ride-by-wire).
* Three modes to choose from ("Rain", "Road", "Dynamic")
* High active safety due to standard BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part integral).
* Traction control DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) for maximum safety when accelerating (optional extra).
* Chassis with Duolever and Paralever and ideal concentration of masses for dynamic riding properties combined with optimum comfort.
* Electronic Suspension Adjustment ESA II for optimum adaptation to all uses and load states (optional extra).
* World premiere in motorcycles: Adaptive Headlight (optional extra) in conjunction with standard xenon headlight and lighting rings for increased safety at night.
* Integrated operating concept for the first time with Multi-Controller, TFT colour screen and menu guidance.
* Audio system with preparation for navigation device and controllable interface for iPod, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and satellite radio (only USA and Canada) (standard in the K 1600 GTL).
* Innovative design with outstanding wind and weather protection.
* K 1600 GT with active riding ergonomics for proactive touring.
* K 1600 GTL with very comfortable, relaxed ergonomics set-up for long trips with pillion passenger, as well as luxury touring features.
* Extensive fittings and individually tailored accessories at the familiar high level of BMW Motorrad.

Now, let us hope that since Rolls Royce, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Daihatsu, Toyota, Volvo, VW Nutzfahrzeuge, Geely and many other mother-companies changed their importers in Egypt, that BMW AG will do the same and take some important and vital decisions regarding the Egyptian market and the future of its car and motor-cycle models in this promising market.

The high-quality brands BMW as well as MINI and Rolls Royce deserve much better than that in the Middle East in general, and Egypt in specific.


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Readers Comments:

Trevin Ward from Maadi - Egypt wrote:
I was relieved and saddened by the article about the BMW Motorrad article. I recently moved to Maadi from Abu Dhabi where I rode a 2007 R1200GS. I had many enjoyable rides into the waadis of the UAE and Oman. I thought about shipping it to Egypt but was advised not to because of the miles of red tape that I would encounter. I would love to find a Honda African twin or similar dual sport bike since a BMW is out of the question. Any suggestions?

Amr from Maadi - Egypt wrote:
I just relocated from Southern California. I am an owner of the famous R1150R 2003 "non-ABS". I always wanted to do the stretch from "El Agami" to "Matrouh" on a bike. From my point of view this the longest stretch of a beach road without interruption.
To my dismay there is no dealer to service my BMW bike here. so, the bike stays in Burbank, CA until I go back for my fall ride(s).


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