The two-wheeler, which has sold 400 units this year - 200 down on target - has suffered from “poor visibility out on the streets”, said BMW GB marketing director Phil Horton. “There is an upsurge in the scooter sector, but they are half the price of the C1 - priced between £4,000 and £5,000 - and the market has a lot of younger buyers,” he added. “We now have programmes in place to get visibility at motor shows and in cities - it's a tough sale but we have a job to do.”
The C1 has also suffered from supply problems after the most expense model, the Executive, became the most popular, taking BMW by surprise.
“The factory wanted to build the basic model so we had a lot of them and few top of the range C1s,” said Mr Horton. “Some people didn't want to wait for the model to be delivered so they cancelled their orders.”
He insisted that BMW had “not written the C1 off” - a 175cc engine is due to be launched - though it needed to “re-appraise the amount of effort that should be put behind the product”.
In a good year, BMW believes it can sell around 2,000 models in the UK.
Mr Horton also blamed the mandatory use of a helmet when riding the C1 in Britain - other European markets have agreed to an exemption.
“It seems typical of the UK Government's policy on transport. The C1 is a practical answer to the urban traffic problem but there seems to be no recognition of the advantages of two-wheel transport,” he said.