BMW has updated their C 650 Sport and C 650 GT maxi scooters with a retuned engine, upgraded transmission, revised suspension settings and cosmetic changes, but does anyone really care?
Scooter sales continue to plummet in Australia, down 22.7% last year to 5389 which is less than half the sales in 2011 (11,696).
While these BMW maxi scooters are undoubtedly athletic, hi-tech and stylish, sales are dismal.
They were introduced in 2012 and sold just 13. In their first full year of sales, only 99 were bought, dropping to just 57 last year.
Only 18 were sold in the first quarter of this year and they have never featured in the top 10 of scooters which is dominated by smaller capacity scooters.
Scooters of all sizes have suffered a massive sales slump in recent years for several reasons:
About 10 years ago petrol prices were escalating so cheap, small-capacity Chinese flooded the market and were snapped upon record numbers. However, many of these were duds, quickly rusted, fell apart, broke down and were not supported by the fly-by-night importers. Fingers burnt, it’s difficult to get these riders to commit to a scooter again.
In recent years all states and territories have changed from an under-250cc learner program to a Learner-Approved Motorcycles Scheme which allows a host of bikes up to 650cc. Scooters just can’t compete against the variety of good-quality LAMS bikes available, including exotic brands such as BMW, Ducati, Harley and Benelli.
The final nail in the scooter coffin may be that the only states allowing motorists to ride a 50cc scooter on a full driver’s licence are Queensland and Western Australia yet both are now considering reversing that rule.
Interestingly, while exotic and high-quality Vespa and Piaggio scooters dominate dwindling scooter sales, the BMW maxi-scooters languish.
Perhaps it’s time for BMW Motorrad Australia to consider bringing in the electric C-evolution scooter, instead. Maybe electric power is the future for scooters!
Meanwhile, for those interested, here are the highlights of the BMW C 650 Sport and C 650 GT upgrades:
Retuned twin cylinder 647cc engine to meet the latest EU4 emission standards.
Upgraded Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) for quicker acceleration, a higher 180km/h top speed and fuel consumption of 4.6l/100km at a constant 90km/h.
Revised suspension tuning and damping for improved handling and ride comfort.
New body design for C 650 Sport for greater differentiation from the C 650 GT.
New Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) standard on both models.
Redesigned instruments for better visibility and readability in all conditions.
New automatic LED daytime riding light available as part of an optional Highline package for both models that also includes seat heating, heated grips and tyre pressure monitoring.
Redesigned centre stand requires 30% less effort to jack up.
The C 650 Sport cost $13,990 at launch in 2012 and is now$14,150 (plus on-road costs), while the C 650 GT price has dropped $1000 to $14,990.
That compares favourably with the list price of its two surviving maxi-scooter competitors, the Suzuki Burgman 650 at $13,590 and the Yamaha T-Max 530 at $13,490.
Meanwhile, Honda has dropped the NC700D Integra to concentrate on smaller capacity scooters.