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OK, lets tell it like it is. Our Cincinnati dealer (BMW of the Tri-State) "closed" the end of December. The Indianapolis dealer closed last year. Nearest BMW dealer to Cincy is Columbus, Ohio or Louisville, KY. I am told that the KY dealer is NOT the place to have service done.

So here we sit with orphan bikes. Now today I drive by BMW of the Tri-State and there are people there and the lights are on. I stop by and here is Danny, the former parts manager. Seems he is in for a day working on the inventory for Bill, the owner. Bill had to be out of town for a few days. We chatted for an hour or so, caught up on what was going on.

What I learn is enough to upset many people. Seems Bill "closed" the shop but still has the dealership. I know of at least two people who have the resources and the desire to buy and re-open that dealership but can't because Bill still holds the franchise rights. Either of these two would run the place well and in fact make it a much better dealer. Problem is, they can't do anything because Bill has it tied up. Seems he is in the middle of a divorce and doesn't seem to care about the business. I feel for Bill's personal situation but what about the hundreds of customers who depend on the dealer for service?

I think its time to make a stink with BMW Motorrad. If there are people who want to run a functional BMW dealer to service and sell their vehicles then let it happen. There are businessmen with the proper resources who have tried to contact BMW about securing this franchise but can not even get a response from BMW. Bill doesn't seem to give a damn about us, the BMW customers. If he is not going to run the dealer then BMW should allow someone who can run it have the franchise.

If BMW lets this continue then it says a lot about how little they care about their customers. I am calling and writing them to see just what I can find out. If I were a BMW owner in the service area of this dealer I would be contacting them and finding out how long they are going to let this go on. I would think that dealer agreements would address this issue and insure that owners have access to proper service.

There is NO excuse to let things go on like this. No responsible company should do business like this.
 

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The Louisville shop has done all my service for four years now,never a problem,in and out in one day most of the time,I am very pleased with them.My wife and I have bought three bikes from them,they have been very helpful and are really good people.I personally feel very lucky to have them in Louisville.Never felt I was gouged on prices. The owner is also trying to reopen a shop in Indy.
 

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Dealer

Man, that's too bad. Just remember this, I don't know from experience but from observation. Divorce can be, and most times is, ugly. Most people going through the process are in LaLa Land when it comes to rational thought. Be patient and let this storm pass, I'm sure it will. The sunshine after the storm does not always hit you in the face, but it always comes. Hang in there and good luck. :ricky
 

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cobbler said:
Man, that's too bad. Just remember this, I don't know from experience but from observation. Divorce can be, and most times is, ugly. Most people going through the process are in LaLa Land when it comes to rational thought. Be patient and let this storm pass, I'm sure it will. The sunshine after the storm does not always hit you in the face, but it always comes. Hang in there and good luck. :ricky
I couldn't have said it any better...
 

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In regards to Tristate, he's pretty much been in lala land since I've known him.....

This doesn't surprise me one bit to be honest......

Let's hope it passes sooner rather than later. the last I heard on service would be that the BMW dealer on the east side of Columbus is the better of the 2 up there to go to. Plus I think he was one of the owners interested in the shop in Cincinnati. I think Jeff Nutter is up there now also.

Eddie may have had decent service in Louisville, but I've not heard great things about that dealership. Further, the owner there supposedly doesn't have the financing to open up a new franchise (either in Indy or Cincinnati)....

Anyway, mind you I've not been to any of the three dealerships in Columbus or Louisville (yet)....

alow
 

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Ouch. Hope all is worked out by the time serious ridding season is here. BMW should take action to relive or revoke the franchise to another. I bought this bike and I planned to be hands off. I've worked on these things all my life and really wanted to keep my hands clean for once. Oh well mitts in the tool box again.
 

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A similar thing happened with our local cage dealer a few years back. One minute they were selling cages with good deals and giving warranties in one brand, then over a weekend, the signs got changed and they became another brand.

What happened then was brand loyalty became zero for existing customers who had a 50 mile round trip for service and no longer trusted their local dealer for their next cage. I notice they are still trading, but selling petrol now!

If brand loyalty is destroyed it's a double whammy. Not only can customer loyalty switch so they don't sell their brand, but the original brand loses market share to a new competing brand. It then costs them far more in promotion costs to win back damaged loyalty on small volume high price products like our motorcycles. Downside is, those of us buying new, pick up the tab for a share of lost dealer sales and new promotion costs.

You guys are lucky to have good online parts dealers and learning to do your own wrenching can take some of the pain away. Sometimes I reckon planning and doing my own work means my bike is off road for less time convenient to me. How many dealers do you know that keep a full range of parts locally in stock, most over here in UK have to order them in mail order anyway.



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Not knowing whats going on, Ill just throw this in. Could it be that BMW is trying to work with a dealer they already have set up? Knowing he is going thru some tuff times and are cutting him some slack? Could be when he stops looking for places to hide the body he may come back bigger , better ,and stronger than ever! I did the divorce shit a few years ago so maybe I'm looking at it a bit one sided. Oh, if he needs a place to hide a body I still have a couple I didnt use I'll sell him cheap.
 

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voxmagna said:
How many dealers do you know that keep a full range of parts locally in stock,..
Just this past Thursday, I discovered that I needed some offbeat fastener to secure a grill to a new side panel I bought. When I called the local BMW motorcycle outfit and asked if they had four of so-and-so part on hand, I was shocked when they said yes.
 

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I'd be shocked as well!

I have to keep a running list of all the odd parts I need like windscreen fasteners etc and wait 2-3 days to collect some miles away. I think they operate 'Just In Time ' borrowed from you guys! The shop is full of BMW clothing gear and expensive addons, GPS's etc, but they don't keep many bits to keep you rolling.

When I'm desperate, I've had stuff arrive UPS quicker from US. You're obviously getting more tender love and care than us!



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Columbus BMW Dealerships

Let's hope it passes sooner rather than later. the last I heard on service would be that the BMW dealer on the east side of Columbus is the better of the 2 up there to go to. Plus I think he was one of the owners interested in the shop in Cincinnati. I think Jeff Nutter is up there now also.
The east side dealer seams to have a better focused service department for BMWs at present. They were initially BMW only but have added Vespa and now Ducati.

The west side dealership was originally Honda and then added BMW. It also now handles Suzuki, Kawasaki, and until recently Ducati. It may be the more stable of the two but the service, while still good, is not what it used to be. They used to have two certified BMW mechanics. Prices tend to be a little higher on bikes too.

It's hard to choose between the two as you want both to succeed.

From Cincinnati, I would imagine they are both about the same distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More to the Cincinnati story

Cinci dealer had issues before the divorce started. Parts service was good, it was run by Danny and he did a great job. Sales was the real issue. Their sales had been dropping off every year for the past three or four. Seems they peaked out back in '01 or '02 and had been going down every since. This past year their sales were half what they were three years ago.

They were just too hard to deal with. Bill, the owner, would hold on to full retail price and lose sale after sale to competitors. One friend had found an out-of-town deal on a K-LT and made Bill an offer $1000 higher as to buy locally. Bill turned him away, he wanted full retail. The bike was a year old left over and they guy finally had to go out of town to get it, but saved over $2000 on it.

Bill was always a bit off center it seems.
 

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Exactly Hans.......

The way it was explained to me was by the following example (not actual figures):

Bill would rather sell 50 bikes per year at $100 profit, than sell 100 bikes per year at $50 profit.

Same amount of profit; less customer bikes for service, parts, maintenance, warranty work, gear, etc.

After dealing with the "ownership" there for the past 3 years, I fully believe it. The bulk of the staff at Tristate were good people - and I really felt badly for them being summarily terminated just prior to Christmas.

While there may be extenuating circumstances, he's really hurt alot of people - his own employees......

I don't really want to get into too much more of how I feel since it's most likely not very pleasant..... If you would like to discuss offline feel free to send me a PM - I just don't wanna dog anyone in public - seems kinda mean-spirited (despite what's happened to the employees, customers, friends, etc.)

alow
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Don't want to be mean spirited.

Alow,

I agree, one should not be mean spirited. I just got a little frustrated with Bill. Life will go on for everyone, even Bill. Danny has a new job in parts at a local boat shop, Hern's Marine. Jeff will be OK as he can always work on anything anywhere. Kelly was young and still working on finishing college. She will always land on her feet.

Time will pass and all of this will fade.
 

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I agree with JIMMM. Razel was close to the mark but missed a third really important player in the game - the creditors. Overnight he probably went from being solvent, with lots of equity to back up loans (house and savings) to having less than half. Once the bank found what was going on they probably started putting on pressure to cough up more equity to keep the business. At the same time, the company that supplied his inventory, like BMW and other parts suppliers, are probably really nervous about supporting his "Floorplans" (they carry the inventory for a period of time or until he can sell it, at which time he has to pay for what's not sold). I suspect that are getting unfriendly and adding a lot more pressure, threatening to remove inventory and his means of making profit.
Your dealer is facing a shitstorm and needs your support for a while. Apart from the emotional issues he is trying to deal with he has to get his financial situation sorted out and reassure his creditors he is still viable. If BMW can be convinced that the customers will remain loyal and come back they may cut him some slack. However, there is a good chance that they might just haul out their inventory while they can before the bank forecloses on him.
If you are a really loyal customer you might approach him again with a safety net, offering to buy in as a shareholder. Be advised though, turning a small business around after a major hit like divorce is really tough if not impossible.
I am speaking from experience.
 

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Just moved back up to Ohio (from Alabama), in-between Dayton and Columbus....

I checked out the huge motorcycle dealership in Springfield, and was exceptionally impressed. The place was packed with folks buying up this and that--fantastic selection (Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, Indian, large selection of used bikes, ATVs, scooters, etc.). They also had the best selection of riding gear, helmets, etc. that I've seen.

Anyway, I talked with one of the owners about BMWs (or lack thereof), who mentioned the Cincy dealership going out of business, along with the Indy BMW dealership. He said that the Cincy owner mentioned that he was losing money at a fast rate, and had only sold 70 bikes for '05.

Then he mentioned that they (the Springfield dealership) had sold BMWs for years, but about 3 years ago, when ownership changed, BMW decided to mandate a separate building, sales and service staff if they wanted the priviledge to continue selling the brand.

He said that they were very dissapointed to have to say "no, that's no doable".

What a waste. BMW had better wake up.
 

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i'm not defending bill but in my opinion if bill owns the franchise than bill can do whatever he wants with it. what bill is doing maybe wrong and it maybe pissing a lot of folks off but again bill put his $$$$$ up front to purchase the franchise and to me it's nobodies business what he does with it. if i owned a bmw motorcycle dealership and i was going through a divorce i would be hesitant to sell it and risk the wife and her attorney getting a substantial portion of it's value. hopefully when the smoke clears bill will either sell or get the dealership up and running like it should.
 

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BMW Tri State: 10 Years Of Experience

I bought my '96 BMW K1100RS from Bill and Julie and took delivery on my birthday in March 1996. Videotaped the uncrating and various portions of the assembly. May have the only video of Ernie Schull in action at the shop!!.

Sold my '96 K1100rs in January and found a cream puff '03 K1200rs at a dealer in Green Bay WI. Love it of course. Tri-State did the ABS recall check on the bike in November 2005.

From my perspective, the big picture of this dealership is simply Positive...and I mean all aspects of the franchise. Granted on one or two occasions I may have disagreed with a particular circumstance, or decision on a matter related to my bike, but again, I rate the dealership's operation, apparel and accessory selection and customer service very high.

Heck, on a monthy basis, I have a disagreement with my best buddy, My Wife. That's the way the world works, and No dealership, or No individual can be perfect in every way, 7x24. Don't forget, waiting on the Public can be a very difficult task.....We're a picky bunch you know.

In fact I coined a phrase during my working career: C.C.C.C. which stands for Conflict Can Create Clarity.

Think about it!! It's hard, but necessary sometimes, to view a given situation from the other's perspective.
 
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