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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2007, 6:07 pm Thread Starter
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BMW Motorrad USA

I'm absolutely convinced that Harley has it right and BMW Motorrad USA is utterly clueless. Only 134 dealers across the entire country, including territories!!?

And there is a highly uneven Motorrad dealer experience - indifferent regional reps.... and I should be surprised that 80% of the bikes I see in Illinois and Wisconsin are Harleys?? Heck I'll pass 3 HD dealers between Chicago and Milwaukee- and what dealers they are! New spacious, HUGE inventories of new and used bikes, staggering inventories of clothing and accessories- BIG lovely buildings with complete service departments.

The local HD Dealer hosts Sunday morning parties with free coffee and donuts - literally hundreds of leather clad middle aged guys hang out like it's the second coming of Woodstock- the stores are open and stuff is sold!

End of rant.

"What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."

Robert Persig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2007, 6:28 pm
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Another unsatisfied customer of the regional BMW dealer around Chicago?

Hard to believe, NOT!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2007, 7:25 pm
 
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Harley people LOVE hanging out, 'cause their bikes are such shit to ride.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2007, 8:24 pm
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I agree the dealer network is a little thin. I can't speak to the dealership experience as a whole because I've only dealt with my local guys. The rest I don't care about. The salesman, parts guy and mechanics all know me by name when I walk in the door or call on the phone.. They have all the normal service items in stock and have no trouble getting me items they don't have in short order. They have technical advice any time I ask for it. They have a good inventory of bikes even though it's getting late in the season.

They have an older, smaller shop, but that's OK because I'm impressed by the people, not by the building. They have a few T shirts and hats, but that's OK, I'm not looking for lifestyle purchases.

Coffee is always on in the back and you can even grab a donut or two on a Saturday. Most times I don't. I'm not looking to spend my time on weekends hanging out at the dealer. I'm looking to go for a ride.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2007, 9:15 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemer01
The local HD Dealer hosts Sunday morning parties with free coffee and donuts - literally hundreds of leather clad middle aged guys hang out like it's the second coming of Woodstock- the stores are open and stuff is sold!

End of rant.
The reason people aren't hanging out at the BMW shops is because they are out riding. The Harley guys are hanging out at the shop because that's what most of them do - Sit on the bikes and admire themselves instead of riding the damn thing. Or maybe they are there getting something fixed on their technologically challenged Milwaukee bike.


'03 K1200GT

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 2007, 9:22 am Thread Starter
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Unhappy Focus

The rant wasn't about leather clad Haley riders per se, rather it focused on the essential importance of a strong dealer network to the success of a vehicle brand.

From my consulting days, I can tell you that the profit made by a car dealers usually lies in #1 Used vehicle sales #2 Parts sales, inc sales to independent repair facilities #3 Service department and #4 new vehicle sales. I'll wager that the BMW dealership algebra is roughly the same.

Therefore, whatever the dealer can do to draw in more foot traffic will result in improved revenue. Lexus seemingly invented the modern dealer experience, with free car washes, coffee and bagels for the life of the purchased car.... new or used. On Saturdays the typical Lexus dealership is clogged with patrons waiting for their car and looking at new vehicles, and occasionally having the service manager remind them to have their XX,XXX mile service done (a 70% gross margin item) What's the true cost - $3.50 a person? Compare that to the impression cost for traditional newspaper advertising.

Back to BMW Motorrad dealers, if I were King, I'd look at copying some of the HD, Lexus and frankly BMW car dealer tactics. Build a great facility, build a great regional community and weekly ride destination - make it easy to buy impulse items and above all drive foot traffic into the high margin areas of your business, i.e. Used vehicles, parts and accessories and service.

I'm probably missing something, and my observations on the USA Moterrad dealer network are anechodotal, my automotive dealer observations are based in fact and years of experience.

Am I missing something? How does the rest of the country look?

"What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."

Robert Persig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


1985 K100RS (Sold)
2000 323i (Sold)
2003 1150GS (Sold)
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 6:29 pm
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The Hardley. er, Harley "dudes", need to feel like they're a part of something.

Hangin' out at the dealer, I think, would get a little stale after a while (just like the donuts!)

Yes, the BMW guys are out riding; we don't need this male bonding thing, and jeez, on a weekly basis ?? Harley's Anonymous. sp

I could go on...
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2007, 1:36 pm
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I bought my first Harley in 1980 and rode them until I bought my KGT in January of this year. I still have my FLHTC (dresser) but will sell it soon. The Harley guys have as many tacky things say about BMW riders as have been said by riders in this thread. I think everybody knows it just talk. Who cares what you ride . . . just ride!

That said, since I started riding a BMW, when asked why I switched, I have several reasons. I always finish by saying, "The only thing BMW doesn't do as well as Harley is marketing." It's true. The Milwaukee boys have the US market figured out and, to my way of thinking, BMW doesn't seem to have a clue or care. So far, I've racked up 28,000+ miles on my KGT in 11 months and have had some dealer experiences across the US. I must say that I have been well treated in every case. Frankly, I've been treated well in the Harley shops, too. A few months ago, a friend (on a Harley) and I (on the KGT) rode from NC to CA and I loaded all the H-D and BMW dealerships within 50 miles of our route in my GPS. Harley had 180 and BMW had 30. For H-D, that averages one dealer every 15 miles as opposed to BMWs one every 90 miles. Until BMW makes a concerted effort to get more dealers, their sales in this country will remain as they are. Also, look at all the motorcycle dealers, Honda, Yamaha, H-D, etc. that are open Monday through Saturday. Many are open on Sunday. Most BMW dealerships are open Tuesday through Saturday. What's with that?

The dealership this is my only concern about BMW but, obviously, it wasn't a deal breaker for me. It's just puzzling.

Mike
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2007, 3:41 pm
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The American Market

Maybe it's just me, but I sort of like it that BMW doesn't market to "The American Market". I mean, NASCAR? Really? [Making friends fast here. ] I actually kind of like the snooty German engineered for us because that's how we want it attitude. Hell, that's how I'd do it!

For me the thing that bugs me is the lack of attention to detail at the dealers. Auto too, I've got a BMW Z4 as well, so I get to experience BMWUSA more than most. I think the engineering is great, but the techs could show a little more humility and attention to service.

My sister in law is a Harley type, and so I get a little exposure to the Harley lifestyle when she's around (like now.) Nothing wrong with it, but the whole "I just gotta be me" thing makes me smile a little when you "gotta be like Harley's marketing dept." to express it.

Or maybe I'm just grumpy 'cause I don't look that good in a leather vest.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2007, 8:45 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemer01
I'm absolutely convinced that Harley has it right and BMW Motorrad USA is utterly clueless. Only 134 dealers across the entire country, including territories!!?

And there is a highly uneven Motorrad dealer experience - indifferent regional reps.... and I should be surprised that 80% of the bikes I see in Illinois and Wisconsin are Harleys?? Heck I'll pass 3 HD dealers between Chicago and Milwaukee- and what dealers they are! New spacious, HUGE inventories of new and used bikes, staggering inventories of clothing and accessories- BIG lovely buildings with complete service departments.

The local HD Dealer hosts Sunday morning parties with free coffee and donuts - literally hundreds of leather clad middle aged guys hang out like it's the second coming of Woodstock- the stores are open and stuff is sold!

End of rant.
You sound like Harley material.
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