BMW Motorrad Abandonment

Tom McCann thinks BMW has abandoned us, and shares wisdom from Lilo & Stitch.

by Tom McCann

As some of our readers will remember, I was privileged enough to be a part of the local motorcycle scene for almost twenty years as parts manager at Country Rode Motowerks. 

We were a small but dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts who just happen to work at Country Rode Motowerks in Fairport, NY. We supported several motorcycle manufacturers, and among them, the first manufacturer we represented for the business was BMW. 

Becoming a dealer of this quintessential German marque was a humble start for sure. The brand, while world-renowned as a top quality motorcycle manufacturer, was far from perfect. 

At times they were a difficult manufacturer to represent.

The infamous brand has many positive qualities, but unwavering management issues on both domestic and international levels lead to many battles between U.S. dealer principles and BMW North American management. These disagreements made for challenging dealer survival.

By 2015, the owners of Country Rode Motowerks were in their 70’s. They wanted to retire and sell the business to a younger and more motivated owner. By fall of 2017, they had lost the will to fight and regrettably, the doors closed by the end of the same year. 

I spent my formidable work years at CRM, happily supporting the brand and meeting many new people who not only became our customers, but our friends and most importantly, our community.

We had felt like we let everyone down with CRM closing, but predatory dealers and the internet had eroded away our brick and mortar business, and we could simply no longer survive.

Since the closing, I have been like an addict with no more drugs. My brand and my community have been stripped from me. 

Small rays of light shine through at times these days while representing Motoclectic at events, and local motorcycle gatherings such as the monthly ROC Motosocial. I am slowly reconnecting with my customers, sharing hugs and laughter as old friends. Lots of smiles and stories are exchanged, and for a little while we are again a happy family. My aching motorcycle soul has had a few minutes of healing. 

A therapy I don’t take lightly. 

Eventually, the same questions are asked.  Who locally can work on my BMW, and when will a new dealer open? The look in their eyes as they wait for an answer is heartbreaking. I wish I had some positive news for them. 

We have many good local qualified motorcycle repair shops ready to perform oil and tire changes on any newer BMW motorcycle. However, they don’t have the expertise required to perform the technical work needed by an authorized BMW dealer. 

I end up simply informing them that there is no new news to share. Hope is all we have in this world at times and as a BMW enthusiast I cling to the same hope they do. 

Well dear readers, I have been informed by some good friends at another dealer that BMW does not plan on opening another dealer in New York State.

They felt their research indicated that the economy, population and most importantly, past sales performance doesn’t support the need for another BMW dealer in central New York. 

What? Suddenly, I was reeling. 

BMW has decided instead to divide the remaining void of New York that extends west of Albany to Buffalo, and from the northern most point in New York to north of New York City. They designate each dealer an AOR (Area Of Responsibility) and decided to split up this large void we call home among the remaining dealers. This large void, by the way, is the area Country Rode Motowerks had been servicing to a large extent. 

After compiling a list of the nearest dealers, here are the results, using my address in Greece, NY as the starting point:

Two Jacks Cycle & Powersports, Wilkes-Barre PA -  212 miles

Kissell Motorsports, State College, PA – 218 miles

Max BMW Motorcycles, Troy, NY  232 miles

Hermy’s BMW & Triumph, Port Clinton, PA – 262 miles

BMW Motorcycles of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA – 262 miles

BMW of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH – 263 miles

Velocity Cycles, Mechanicsburg, PA – 272 miles

Frank’s Motorcycles Sales & Service, Essex Junction, VT – 319 miles

Map showing the complete absence of BMW Motorrad in the Western and Central NY area

This is hundreds of square miles left abandoned by BMW Motorrad, creating a long ride for any BMW owner to find a Motorrad dealer for their service or sales needs!

Math is a wonderful tool at times, but in this circumstance it does not factor in the remaining body of BMW Motorcycle owners Country Rode Motowerks created over a 19-year period. 

How could BMW simply turn their corporate heads on the dealer investment they made, and the dedicated group of BMW motorcycle enthusiasts they spent time cultivating?

I encourage everyone who is a BMW motorcycle owner to call or write to BMW of North America. It may not help re-establishing another dealer in Central NY any time soon but we need to let them know how unhappy we are:

BMW Motorrad USA Customer Service #: (800)-831-1117

E-Mail: [email protected]

I watched many Disney movies with my daughter over the years and at this point one closing thought comes to mind. In Lilo and Stitch, they talk about the importance of family. The Hawaiian word Ohana means family … no one is left behind or forgotten. 

Take a hint BMW!

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