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Thread: How many defunct BMW dealerships have you dealt with??

  1. #46
    Registered User godzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjack View Post
    Oh and there was...
    Underwood's in St. Joseph, IL and Wilber's in Linton, IN (he is still there and will help you with your airhead and maybe some later BMW models).

    Wilbur is still there and he will under duress, work on my 85 K. His place is called T&B Cycle. He can get parts for, my old K, but he is a wizard on Air Heads. Wilbur has a few old bikes for sale, including a really cool white 1952 /something!

    He also sells brand new Whizzers!!!
    Godzilla!
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  2. #47
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    C&D BMW, Freeport,IL. Run by the late Bill Fleming.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdpc2 View Post
    ..... I think that i prefer the HD way... small shops of folks that you get to know.... and who get to know your cycle.
    have you been to a new H-D dealership recently? they are every bit as large as any BMW shop i have ever seen. our local H-D shop is one of the largest m/c stores in the country, of any brand. the old H-D way of small shops that were cool to just hang out in were no different than the old BMW or Triumph shops; and sadly, all are largely of a bygone day.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  4. #49
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    Grayboy in Peoria, IL. I spoke with the Owner about this issue. Several years ago, BMW decided they wanted their bike shops to look more like the auto dealerships. When they cam to Tote (the Owner of Grayboy), they "demanded he remodel his store, and provide a separate show floor for BMW. No other brands would be allowed on that show floor. He was free to continue to sell other brands, but they had to be isolated as far as the show floor was concerned. Well, he is land-locked, no room to grow in size. It was going to cost way too much money to remodel his store to look like BMW was demanding. And, he says unlike the "jap bike riders", BMW riders are cheap. They buy the bike, then ride it for ever. Most other brand riders are constantly trading their bikes in on new models.

    So he told BMW that he would not remodel. They said he must or they would pull his dealership. He told them to come get all their @#$%& stuff and get out of his building. He sold them all of his inventory, including the parts. He said he made more money selling them the parts at cost than he would have made over the next 10 years selling BMW bikes. This is his story, straight from his mouth to me.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  5. #50
    Registered User rickg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob1100RTC View Post
    I was sorry to see Heritage go. Craig was a good guy.
    I bought my 1st BMW a used R100 Mystic from them back in '99. A friend of mine use to work the parts counter p/t to help feed his bike addiction. I have to say I have mixed feelings about Craig, though I wish him well in whatever he is now doing.

    Craig was hard to figure out sometimes. One day he would be as nice as can be and very helpful, the next time in if he was in one of his moods, he would make you feel like an idiot, when you were only asking questions about the bike he sold you. He was an probably remains a very good tech, especialy with Airheads.

    My favorite quote from Craig was when I asked him if he had an exhaust for the R 80 G/S that I had recently bought as Craig was known to horde Airhead parts. His reply was, "Yeppir, I got one, but I won't sell it to you!" Like I said, he was known to horde Airhead parts.

    At the end (about 2 years ago) he sold the dealership to some asshat with more money than brains or friends. He was going to move the dealership to a better location in a building that he owned in Monroeville next to Hooters, and after spending what seemed like a million buck in remodeling he bucked heads with BMW Corp. over showroom requirements and bagged the whole deal. I later heard that Craig was in a lawsuit with him over failed payments for the dealership. I don't know if it was ever resolved. I do beleive that Craig deserved better even though he pissed me off from time to time.

    Rick G

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  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by stkmkt1 View Post
    Grayboy in Peoria, IL. I spoke with the Owner about this issue. Several years ago, BMW decided they wanted their bike shops to look more like the auto dealerships. When they cam to Tote (the Owner of Grayboy), they "demanded he remodel his store, and provide a separate show floor for BMW. No other brands would be allowed on that show floor. He was free to continue to sell other brands, but they had to be isolated as far as the show floor was concerned. Well, he is land-locked, no room to grow in size. It was going to cost way too much money to remodel his store to look like BMW was demanding. And, he says unlike the "jap bike riders", BMW riders are cheap. They buy the bike, then ride it for ever. Most other brand riders are constantly trading their bikes in on new models.

    So he told BMW that he would not remodel. They said he must or they would pull his dealership. He told them to come get all their @#$%& stuff and get out of his building. He sold them all of his inventory, including the parts. He said he made more money selling them the parts at cost than he would have made over the next 10 years selling BMW bikes. This is his story, straight from his mouth to me.
    Tote told me that exact same thing a few weeks ago. I was in there eye balling a new Concours he's got marked way down.

    I miss Bill and Janet Flemming of C&D. The first time I ever dealt with them...I was getting ready to leave on a road trip and couldn't stand the thought of another trip with my Bell Tour Star helmet. Waited until the last minute, of course. They didn't know me from Adam, but I called, Janet sent me a BMW System 1 helmet UPS, told me to try it and if I liked it send them the money, if not send it back. Great place.
    Howard Edwards

    2014 Road King; 1975 R75/6

  7. #52
    Bob
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    Many of us have probably heard of similar stories. Heaven forbid a dealer's reputation for good service and satisfied cutomers be considered. All dealerships must comply with the mandate: "It is better to look impressive, than to be impressive".

    I have noticed among dealers that sell other brands along with BMWs, a certain discrimination; other makers expensive european bikes are allowed to share the same "room" as beemers, but the japanese bikes must stay in the other "room".
    The funny part is, it's probably the japanese bikes and their steady sales that allow those BMW dealers to stay open.

  8. #53
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    During lunch today, I walked out of the restaurant and saw some Aprilia bikes out on the sidewalk out side of the Illinois Cycle Store in Peoria. So I stopped in to find that this bicycle shop now sells Aprilia, Piagio, and Vespa. They have most all models in stock. The salesman told me they do work on them, but I did not see a shop or any mechanics.

    The bikes are set up on the show floor right along with bicycles. It looked kind of strange.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  9. #54
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 108625 View Post
    Many of us have probably heard of similar stories. Heaven forbid a dealer's reputation for good service and satisfied cutomers be considered. All dealerships must comply with the mandate: "It is better to look impressive, than to be impressive".
    Nothing wrong with a "corporate look."

    Most of the closings documented here are business failures and we all know the failure rate for small businesses is pretty high.

    It's pretty true that most automotive dealers make more money on service than on new vehicle sales, but nevertheless the dealership franchise is indeed based on new vehicle sales. Neither BMW nor any other manufacturer is in the business of subsidizing good service outlets nor should they be. The manufacturers are not getting rich selling the parts that good service outlets install--the money's in the labor, and the manufacturer gets none of that.

    BMW is not so weak as to be forced to grant franchises to bicycle shops. Some "corporate look" indeed!

    I'd like someone to name me a business where the manufacturer sees its market as selling things to folks that are afraid to be around rich people. I think Mitsubishi once made a lot of loans to car buyers that could not make their payments, but they aren't making that mistake again. Complaining about BMW wanting to sell to people with money is just some sort of "cursing one's fate" and it accomplishes little other than to be unflattering.
    Kent Christensen
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  10. #55
    Bob
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    Kent, you are way off the mark.

    When I say service, I'm not just talking about the mechanics in back.
    Service is how the customer is treated across the board.

    Small business failures?
    I 'd like to see how many actually went under because they ran their business into the ground, compared to how many simply could not justify the expense BMW was forcing them to undertake, or how many simply decided BMW wasn't worth the hassle of keeping around. It would be interesting to see who really dropped who, so to speak.

    Subsidizing good service outlets?
    Since when is telling a dealer who already has a successful business "You will now upgrade to this standard, at your expense; or you will now comply with these rules about other brands, again at your expense" subsidizing?

    Being forced to grant franchises to bicycle shops?
    Nobody is forcing anyone to grant anything. You either lay out the requirements for a franchise up front, or you don't, and those seeking them either meet them, or they don't. Changing those requirements after granting the franchise is something else entirely.

    As for your last paragraph;
    I don't know how you're drawing some inference about motorcycle buying customers "Not wanting to be around rich people" from my comments.
    If anything, I was pointing out it's BMW "segregating" their product based on some sort of "keep them separate from the Japanese bikes" guidelines; which is ironic, as the company claims to be aggresively taking on a share of the Japanese bike buyers market.
    Last edited by 108625; 09-25-2009 at 04:25 PM.

  11. #56
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    I'd like someone to name me a business where the manufacturer sees its market as selling things to folks that are afraid to be around rich people.
    Hmmm.......It's a motorcycle. Except for a few weenies, most people don't think of it as a status symbol.

    Now, if I could only convince those materialistic twits on the BMWCCA forum............

    Whatever your choice, just go play with your toys and leave the "posing" to the teenagers.

  12. #57
    Rally Rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    have you been to a new H-D dealership recently? they are every bit as large as any BMW shop i have ever seen. our local H-D shop is one of the largest m/c stores in the country, of any brand. the old H-D way of small shops that were cool to just hang out in were no different than the old BMW or Triumph shops; and sadly, all are largely of a bygone day.
    That is the problem in a nut shell. BMW wants to have Harley's kind of visibility and sales and they think they'll get it with boutique dealerships and by defending their precious logo. What they don't seem to grasp is that Harley got to the boutique stage with visibility and sales, not the other way around.

    Smokey Yunick may have said it best: "I don't want to be amillionaire-I just want to live like one.".

    I've worked in both kinds of BMW shops. I believe the best bike shop is the small one, where everybody rides the bikes they're selling, and the customers and staff know one another on a first name basis.

  13. #58
    Registered User 85138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Nothing wrong with a "corporate look."

    I'd like someone to name me a business where the manufacturer sees its market as selling things to folks that are afraid to be around rich people.
    I'll try ... WalMart? Dollar Store?

    And as other posters have alluded better than I can subsequent to your post ... BMW volume and margins (lack thereof) cannot support the restrictions placed upon the franchisee in all but few demographic markets, especially for solo brand operation.

    Case in point, Westchester (NY) BMW was Corp owned and subsidized, quite affluent market ... couldn't make it. Garden State BMW (not far from Bergen Cty, NJ ... affluent and dense population) ...

    I agree there needs to be some comformity and image considerations for the brand. But it seems to me BMWNA goes overboard and are too rigid (or simplistic) in their approach.

  14. #59
    Just puttsin' OldNuke's Avatar
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    -Karl's BMW in Minneapolis---not missed

    -St Paul Honda/BMW---missed

    -Larson's in Cambridge used to sell BMWs in the late 70's.

    -2 have come and gone in Rochester

    I live in the Twin City metro area and there are four BMW bike dealers within a 90 mile radius of my home.....2 within ten miles. Consider myself fortunate to have that many so close after hearing of the lack of dealers elsewhere. I frequent 3 of the 4. None are of the boutique motif.

    My favorite, Judson's, is small and friendly. Located 90 miles from my house in a small Minnesota town. Used to be on a farmsite until a few years ago. I "believe ?" they are the oldest dealer in the midwest.
    Last edited by OldNuke; 09-25-2009 at 03:24 PM.
    When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

  15. #60
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldNuke View Post
    My favorite, Judson's, is small and friendly. Located 90 miles from my house in a small Minnesota town. Used to be on a farmsite until a few years ago. I "believe ?" they are the oldest dealer in the midwest.
    Those folks are great. On the return trip from the Missoula Rally in 98, my buddy's R100RT was having some timing problems. Judson's immediately put the bike on the rack, adjusted the valves as best possible (the seats were failing) and did what they could for him to make it home.

    The shop was nothing fancy, but you knew they were knowledgable and honest. A boutique motif doesn't deliver that.

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