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Beemer dealers replaced by car/bike dealers in your area?


VinnyR11

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Over the past few years every BMW bike dealership on Long Island has closed. The last one closed less than a year ago. That's 2.8 million people, what appears to be a good number of Beemers, and now zero dealerships. Counting Queens and B'klyn that's 7.5 million people and no dealers. There is only one dealership left in Manhattan which is also a car dealership. (more on that later).

 

The gist I got from my last dealership, LI BMW in Huntington, was that BMW insisted that they be a one-brand dealership, and there's just not enough volume to support a new bike dealership using the BMW name alone. All the dealers that closed were single brand BMW dealerships.

 

This seems unproductive to me. I don't think BMW would lose many sales by opening up their dealerships to other brands. If someone is looking for a new Beemer, they are pretty much already set on a Beemer. I think they may even gain sales in a cross-shop store. The owner had pitched the same to BMW many times to no avail.

 

There are many healthy Japanese bike, Triumph, and Harley Dealerships in the area. You can also find that Ducati or Moto-Guzzi you've been looking for relatively easily; however, it will be in a shop that also sells Suzuki's, Kaw's or whatever.

 

What made me finally post this is that last week I heard from a friend in the auto biz that a local Long Island BMW car dealership is preparing to open up as a motorcycle dealership as well. That's fine, and welcome; however, now the whole things stinks to me that perhaps BMW drove the bike dealers out after they developed the market so that they can be replaced with car/motorcycle dealerships.

 

Maybe not, but if that car dealership opens a bike section, you'll have trouble convincing me differently.

 

Anyone see the same trend in their area?

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SAAB93driver

We have multi brand dealers in Florida that carry BMW and others. The dealership in Tampa is about 6 years old, has BMW and several other Eurpean brands and Hap'sm a long standing dealer, in Sarasota has Honda and BMW.

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Yes, the trend is a sad state of affairs where detached marketing exectives cannot see the forest from the trees. The recent interview in ON addressed this, and their best response was referring to some obscure surveys about customer satisfaction. Let me tell you this: I just came back from a cross county tour and passed through entire states where there was not one dealer to be found. Some exec made the decision that it's better to have a single-image dealer line than to have multi-brand dealers. Right. As if a propective customer doesn't weigh having to drive hundreds of miles across state lines for routine service in his initial purchasing decision.

 

Usually, the problem in the marketing mix is a lackluster product which the company expects to float via fancy ads. BMW has the product more or less right, and botches distribution. The logic of the BMW execs, when confront about it, smacks of the same incredibly shortsighted mentality that infects anyone in a leadership postion in Detroit. Sad.

 

-MKL

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Our local dealer - Engle Motors is a BMW/Triumph dealer.

 

It's not in the best part of town and the place always seems to be crowded with shoppers. The garage always seems to have bikes (all brands) to repair.

 

What I'd really like to see are more bike repair shops - Midas/Firestone/Jiffy Lube for motorcycles. Of course, if I wasn't such an inept mechanic, I could just do my own. dopeslap.gif

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I heard that the Habberstad BMW (car) dealer in Huntington was prepared to become a motorcycle dealer. But the owner of the dealership scoffed when BMW wanted him to build a $3 million addition to the dealership for the motorcycles. So, I don't know if that's the dealership you heard that is going to become a motorcycle seller, but the state of affairs on Long Island and Queens is sad. I usually ride to Danbury rather than go to Manhattan, if its a non essential part. Much less attitude there.

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My local BMW bike shop closed a couple of years ago after 20+ years of successful operation. The franchise was given to a BMW car dealership not to far away. I'm sure the marketing types at BMW AG think this is a one-for-one transfer that maintains BMW's market presence.

 

BUT: IMHO, a car dealership makes a very poor bike shop. Revenue from bike sales will never be anything other than insignificant compared to car sales revenue. As a result, expect the "parts guy" not to know an R69S from a 325i. Expect the new bike "showroom" to be both hidden somewhere in a back corner and staffed by former used car salesmen. Have a question for a Tech, forget it. When paying for parts, or whatever, be prepared to stand in line behind soccer moms who've just had a factory authorized car wash for their SUV. Lots of chrome, glass and glitz but not a tire, helmet, riding jacket or used bike for sale anywhere.

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Happened here a number of years ago. The Bike dealership was a Honda/BMW/Suzuki. You can still see where they took down the BMW on the wall. It's not quite as faded as the rest of the wall. Anyway the story I got from a person who worked there was that BMW wanted a more stylish show room for theiir bikes. The dealsership didn't have the money and lost the franchise. The cardealership picked it up. They sell BMW/Mercedes/Volvo/Lincon/Mercury. Ironically they are know by people who are mechanically inclined enough to know when they are getting screwed, as one of the absolute worst places to get any car repaired. And I'm not talking about price alone here. I am also speaking from experience in having my Mercedes repaired there. However on the motorcycle side, while they may be expensive on labor they are know as an excelent place to get your bike repaired. crazy.gif

 

Also the dealership where I bought my RTP (out of state)wasn't that much more stylish than the old local BWM bike dealer. I think the local CAr dealer wanted the bike franchise and pushed out the guy who already had it.

 

Why would BMW want a single brand dealership for their bikes. They don't do it with their cars. Are they afraid of the competition?

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CaptainKcorb

It's pretty well gone the car/bike dealership under one roof here in Toronto. I bought my bike new in 2000 from the only independent BMW shop based on the service and support, and the fact that they were about 6 miles away.

 

I was dismayed to find that they were rolled into a BMW store given that previous experience with this mix showed zero flexibility on pricing, alternate parts, etc. I have to say that over the four years or so since the change, the support for the bikes has been great (if expensive) and the bikes have real presence in the showroom. I put this down to the dealership employing the same bike-savvy people who ran the independent shop. Pat, Mike and Bob, you know who you are and thanks for the continued support of the brand.

 

The only fly in the ointment is that the shop is now more than three times further away.

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I heard that the Habberstad BMW (car) dealer in Huntington was prepared to become a motorcycle dealer. But the owner of the dealership scoffed when BMW wanted him to build a $3 million addition to the dealership for the motorcycles. So, I don't know if that's the dealership you heard that is going to become a motorcycle seller, but the state of affairs on Long Island and Queens is sad. I usually ride to Danbury rather than go to Manhattan, if its a non essential part. Much less attitude there.

 

I heard that Habberstad was going to make the capital commitment, so we'll see. I agree that there's a bit too much attitude in Manhattan NYBMW. The now almost total lack of competition can't help.

 

For what it's worth, I've been happy with the service at Richuitti Motorsports in Bellport, NY. Jason, one of the owners, was the lead mechanic at Joel's place in Huntington before they shut down. The place ain't pretty, but they're fair, and know what they're doing.

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.....I just came back from a cross county tour and passed through entire states where there was not one dealer to be found. Some exec made the decision that it's better to have a single-image dealer line than to have multi-brand dealers. Right. As if a prospective customer doesn't weigh having to drive hundreds of miles across state lines for routine service in his initial purchasing decision.

.....

BMW has the product more or less right, and botches distribution.

-MKL

 

I agree 100%. I'm the original owner of my '96 R11RT and about as loyal as they come, primarily because of a great product. I was very close to trading my bike in for an FJR or other due to the total lack of dealerships. Luckily I found a bike shop that has an experienced BMW mechanic.

If I was buying a new bike where warranty claims come into play, I would not buy a Beemer solely because of the lack of dealers. Pretty sad.

Note to BMW (like they actually listen)..How again is that better than having more mixed brand dealers?

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.....Note to BMW (like they actually listen)..How again is that better than having more mixed brand dealers?

 

In my area, there were at one time four BMW bike shops. Two were "mom & pop" BMW only and two were larger mixed brand shops. Buying or servicing a BMW was no more difficult than for a Honda or Yamaha. Today there are zero BMW shops in the same area. It's real hard to justify buying a new BMW, no mater how much I might want a particular model, as I pass so many Hon-Yam-saki shops that sell bikes every bit as good as BMW for less money, on my half day journey to the closest remaining BMW shop.

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out here in iowa we have 2 dealers one in the southeast and one in the northwest.the one in sioux city used to be a honda/suzuki/bmw.they sold out the honda/suzuki and bulit their own building for bmw only,but then last year they picked up victory.about 40 years ago there was a bmw dealer in a little town of about 800 people it was in a little shack about 3 times bigger then an outhouse.

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Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet in central PA. I have one dealer relatively close that also sells Hondas and Aprillas. The place I bought my bike also sells Triumphs and has been in the BMW business for over 40 years with a VERY loyal customer base. Can't see Hermy's losing the dealership. They sell too many bikes for BMW to ignore.

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Officer_Impersonator

My observations the MOA on this subject tells me the MOA could not care less about something as important as this.

 

No dealers = no parts and no dealership mechanics - not to mention new bike sales.

 

I'm sure many of you have read the interview with BMW NA executives in ON a couple of months back. The MOA folks couldn't say enough nice things about how wonderful BMW NA is, while at the same time they are shutting down mom and pop dealers and extorting the few remaining stores.

 

It's too bad that the MOA would rather keep a cozy relationship with BMW than advocate on behalf of it's members. They seem to think that they can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, but sometimes you have to make some waves to get noticed.

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...has been in the BMW business for over 40 years with a VERY loyal customer base. Can't see Hermy's losing the dealership. They sell too many bikes for BMW to ignore.

 

It has happened elsewhere. To the car guys, image is more important than sales volume.

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My observations the MOA on this subject tells me the MOA could not care less about something as important as this.

 

No dealers = no parts and no dealership mechanics - not to mention new bike sales.

 

I'm sure many of you have read the interview with BMW NA executives in ON a couple of months back. The MOA folks couldn't say enough nice things about how wonderful BMW NA is, while at the same time they are shutting down mom and pop dealers and extorting the few remaining stores.

 

It's too bad that the MOA would rather keep a cozy relationship with BMW than advocate on behalf of it's members. They seem to think that they can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, but sometimes you have to make some waves to get noticed.

 

I think the lack of dealerships is the biggest issue facing Beemer owners today. It's been going on for some time,and it appears to be getting worse every year. At least that's from my experience. Judging from the posts here, it's apparently a big deal to many others.

 

I know there's a separate thread somewhere about the MOA, and I really don't want to turn this into an MOA thread, but your points are the main reason I dropped out of it. (It also means I can't comment on the article you mention.) You need to have at least a tiny amount of guts to help your membership.

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Having recently broken down in west Texas between Amarillo and Lubbock, I know all about the BMW black holes for service. The nearest dealer was about 300 miles away. My riding partner was on a new ST1300 which replaced his R1100RT because of our lack of a local dealer. BMW has lost about 100 dealers in North America over the past ten years. Maybe that's how they add adventure to touring.

 

I've written to Dave Swider about the problem in hopes that MOA could lobby for us. He wasn't very encouraging.

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As long as people keep buying the product the management team will continue down the path they are on. Buell is going the same way as dealers are closing all over the country, actually not closing just reverting back to Harley.

 

My guess is that the preferred customer will be one who does not travel more the 50 miles form his home dealership. I had a friend with a Ferrari who had a breakdown aand a service van was disptched to repair his vehicle where it had broken. They've probably stopped that service also by now. dopeslap.gif

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tom collins

you will be able to buy and service bmw bikes on the coasts and a few isolated large mid-west cities and that will be it. large cities such as St. Louis and Cincinnati have no dealer. whole states like wyoming and west va. don't either. my rt is used primarily for trips and i hate the idea of being so far away from service. i am on the fence about keeping it.

 

tom collins

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Vinny

The fact is BMW does not want to sell its bikes along side any other brand. They want a more boutique type of store with only one brand being represented-theirs. I think the best thing you can do if you live in an area without a dealer is learn to do as much service as you can on the bike yourself. Adjusting valves and dropping fluids every 6k miles is really not that big of a deal. I will admit you can be spoiled if you live on the left coast of right coast where the majority of the population lives and the dealers are located.

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Vinny

The fact is BMW does not want to sell its bikes along side any other brand. They want a more boutique type of store with only one brand being represented-theirs. I think the best thing you can do if you live in an area without a dealer is learn to do as much service as you can on the bike yourself. Adjusting valves and dropping fluids every 6k miles is really not that big of a deal. I will admit you can be spoiled if you live on the left coast of right coast where the majority of the population lives and the dealers are located.

 

Good points, especially on an older bike.

 

I think the biggest problem is when buying a new bike. First you need to find a dealer to purchase it. Then, of greater importance, whether or not you want to do the work yourself, warranty repairs have to be done at a BMW dealer. Who wants to go out of state for that? Keep in mind that I live in the heart of a very densely populated area (over 8 million) with only one dealer in Manhattan.

 

I've done work on my bikes and cars (nothing huge, but tune ups, valves, shocks, brakes, etc.) and just don't enjoy it at all. My bike is well out of warranty, and I've been lucky to find a good mechanic. If my bike was new, I'd prefer to take it to the dealer I purchased it from.

 

Sadly, when I get into the market for a new bike, BMW is going to lose my business solely because of their lack of dealerships. My preference based on product would be another BMW hands down, but I just won't go through the hassle of having to pass a dozen Honda/Yamaha/Kaw/Harley dealers to find their boutique.

 

I agree with your assesment of their strategy, I just don't think it's good business.

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I was going to mention the warranty repair issue but did not. It is pretty amazing that in an area of 8 million people their in ONE BMW m/c dealership. I live amongst 10-11 million here in SoCal and we have 9 dealerships within 100 miles, 3 of those are within 40 miles, and 2 are just 15 miles away. I guess we are spoiled out here at least in SoCal. But then again there is a whole lot of other caca out here to deal with.

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9 dealerships within 100 miles, I guess we are spoiled out here at least in SoCal.

 

I don't feel exactly "spoiled", more like abandoned. The closest shop (not counting the LB car store) is 37 miles. The South Bay / West Side used to have four BMW shops, now zero.

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9 dealerships within 100 miles, I guess we are spoiled out here at least in SoCal.

 

I don't feel exactly "spoiled", more like abandoned. The closest shop (not counting the LB car store) is 37 miles. The South Bay / West Side used to have four BMW shops, now zero.

 

The Automotive side of the Long Beach BMW dealership has reportedly been sold to the Sonic Auto Group, headed by Bruton Smith. The motorcycle side will likely move to a nearby building and be a stand-alone BMW motorcycle dealership within a month or two.

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BMW dealerships also had a great service ethic for touring riders who came in with a problem. Often, they would work on the bike immediately, fix you up and get you going again. Car/bike dealerships will not understand the culture of community. When the culture dies, so will the business. bncry.gif

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They have been talking about a stand alone M/C building at LB BMW for 2 years now. I guess we will have to wait and see if it happens. I know they sold or moved the body shop about six months ago and it has moved about 2 miles away. They have one helluva great painter at that body shop.

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It is pretty amazing that in an area of 8 million people their in ONE BMW m/c dealership. I live amongst 10-11 million here in SoCal and we have 9 dealerships within 100 miles, 3 of those are within 40 miles, and 2 are just 15 miles away. I guess we are spoiled out here at least in SoCal.

 

Does BMW allow multi-brand dealerships in SoCal? There are none in the Metro NY region, and you can take a pretty wide radius. Commercial rents have to be huge out by you as well. I don't see how the sole BMW shop is going to survive

for the long haul. My old shop was really hurting for a number of years before they closed up. It's pretty sad.

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There are only two that I know of and they are Hollywood BMW/Honda and Malcolm Smith (BMW, Honda, Suzuki/Kawasaki) in Riverside. Brown's BMW in Pomona is selling Vespa's. Does selling Vespa's count? Malcolm Smith just did a large remodel and built a new building. I hear BWM has been hassling him about the Japanese brand and BMW brand being in the same building. The property has 2 buildings on it now. If that is the case I would not be surprised to see BMW in the original building separated from the other brands.

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I will admit you can be spoiled if you live on the left coast of right coast where the majority of the population lives and the dealers are located.

 

Good points, especially on an older bike.

 

I think the biggest problem is when buying a new bike. First you need to find a dealer to purchase it. Then, of greater importance, whether or not you want to do the work yourself, warranty repairs have to be done at a BMW dealer. Who wants to go out of state for that? Keep in mind that I live in the heart of a very densely populated area (over 8 million) with only one dealer in Manhattan.

 

I've done work on my bikes and cars (nothing huge, but tune ups, valves, shocks, brakes, etc.) and just don't enjoy it at all. My bike is well out of warranty, and I've been lucky to find a good mechanic. If my bike was new, I'd prefer to take it to the dealer I purchased it from.

 

Sadly, when I get into the market for a new bike, BMW is going to lose my business solely because of their lack of dealerships. My preference based on product would be another BMW hands down, but I just won't go through the hassle of having to pass a dozen Honda/Yamaha/Kaw/Harley dealers to find their boutique.

 

I agree with your assesment of their strategy, I just don't think it's good business.

 

I agree 100% with Vinny. I do not always have the time or inclination to do service. I also think this is a very poor business strategy, and it will be a huge factor when I buy my next bike.

 

I live in northern New Jersey, part of the greater NYC metro area. How many BMW dealers are in northern NJ? Zero. Where is BMW's North American headquarters? In northern NJ. I refuse to go to Manhattan for service. I have gone to Cross Country in Metuchen (multi brand dealer) which is about 45 miles from me, and also Cliff's in Danbury, CT (multi brand dealer) which is 100 miles away.

 

The dealer that was two miles from my house in Ledgewood NJ closed two years ago. There is no excuse for BMW to have basically one dealer in Manhattan to serve the entire NYC metro area. I have every other major brand of motorcycle within 10 miles of me, and also have many smaller brands, such as Triumph, Ducati, Aprilia and KTM, within the same radius.

 

BMW is being very myopic and arrogant by having so few dealers. They must be doing something that makes it unprofitable for their dealers.

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My local BMW bike shop closed a couple of years ago after 20+ years of successful operation. The franchise was given to a BMW car dealership not to far away.

 

Please, let's get our facts straight. Nothing was "given" by BMW. The owner of the BMW dealership "owns" the franchise, and will continue to do so under the terms of the agreement they have signed with BMW and for so long as they continue to meet those terms.

 

As the OWNER of the franchise, it is theirs to sell, if they wish. The only say that BMW has is to verify that the new owner is sufficiently funded and otherwise meets the criteria under the franchise agreement. You can sell your franchise to anyone you want and, provided they meet the conditions, there's nothing that BMW can do but approve it. But BMW cannot "give" what is not theirs. Thus, you cannot blame BMW for who the new owners might end up being.

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On the other hand BMWNA can hassle the owner of the franchise enough to make it practically impossible to do business with them. I had this very conversation with a former BMW franchise owner 5 years ago who had his franchise for over 25 years.

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On the other hand BMWNA can hassle the owner of the franchise enough to make it practically impossible to do business with them. I had this very conversation with a former BMW franchise owner 5 years ago who had his franchise for over 25 years.

 

Same story here. At least that's what I heard from my ex-dealer in Huntington, NY. It's oddly coincidental that every single BMW dealer in this area is closing and not selling to another; leaving only car/bike dealerships.

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