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After many years of rarely interrupted advances, BMW Motorrad has admitted an abrupt halt to its ascendancy in results for the first half of 2018. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Global revenue for the period dropped by 10.1% to £1.05bn. Operating profit suffered a 23.6% decline to £155.5m. Operating margin fell from 17.4% to 14.8%. Pre-tax profit was 23.7% down at £154.6m.

This woeful state of affairs was blamed on manufacturing down-time to cope with a large number of new model changes. Production at BMW bike plants was therefore cut by 16.6% to a total of 88,008 motorcycles and maxiscooters, allegedly starving its worldwide dealer network of sufficient stock. Nevertheless, half-yearly retail figures were only 1.6% in arrears at 86,975.

Sales in Europe as a whole were reduced by 7.9% to 53,989. The brand’s German domestic market took the worst hit, losing 18.8% to 11,739. France and Italy were respectively 4% and 5% lower, at 9068 and 8647. The UK was 4.8% down to 5466. Spain offered the only ray of sunshine, 1.3% up to 5647. Some growth was also evident in the USA with a 3.1% increase to 7379.