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BMWOR's Secret Recipe

Changing perceptions one sale at a time 

by Sean Coker

If a business' prosperity is formulaic, then Scott Russell knows the recipe for success. In 2003, after 12 years of charting maps and with a Master's degree in geosciences under his belt, Scott and his wife Madelyn applied for a BMW dealership in Eugene, Oregon. The Russell's set out to build a dealership "people feel comfortable with," and in 2004, BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon (BWMOR) opened on the site of a former steak house.

Four years later, Scott sits behind a pine desk at his second dealership in Tigard, Oregon. Although a second dealership was never in the plans, Scott rolls with the punches and is unafraid of uncharted territories. The success of BMWOR is due in part to "being fair and consistent with every customer," Scott explains. A 2007 Outstanding Dealership award for customer satisfaction reaffirms BMWOR's commitment to excellence. "It's about doing what's right," Scott explains, "and sometimes that isn't financial but we stand behind what we do." Integrity has been a part of BMWOR's business plan since the first days of inception.

Chance Meetings

Scott and Madelyn both grew up in the Midwest but they only met in Honduras, where he was working as a translator and she was a nurse. They later married and had a son Kendrick, who has been riding dirt bikes since the age of three. Scott and Madelyn decided to quit their careers and focus more on what was important. "With strong skill sets to fall back on and not wanting to have any regrets about a lost opportunity, we took a chance and haven't looked back," Scott says. Even though BMW is a premium brand that doesn't mean the dealer has a premium profit margin and Scott knew it was going to take some time for the market to mature and does his best to keep prices near MSRP. Having two dealership helps.

Photo: Scott, Madelyn and Kendrick working the Seattle Motorcycle Show in 2007.

#2 Tigard

Opened in April 2007, BMWOR-Tigard sits in an industrial complex off Oregon State Route 217 and is surrounded by mortgage offices and media outlets. BMW-Tigard blends in among the ivory white and glass windowed buildings. A metallic sign reading BMW Motorrad sits above two swinging doors. Once inside, halogen lighting casts a soft glow on BMWs new and old. "The 1200 GS is our highest selling unit," Scott explains. "But the F800ST has sold well for a new model." There are variances between the Portland and Eugene markets.

Differences

Despite being 120 miles from each other, Russell sees the difference between the Portland and Eugene markets as "night and day." Eugene's population is around 300,000 people, yet the Portland Metro Area is closer to 3 million. "In Eugene, the customer is very conscience of their purchase." Scott states.

"People make purchasing decisions based on convenience." Portland's larger market allows customers more options but Scott believes that BMW offers a superior product; so much so that BMWs are the only thing BMWOR sells.

Changing perceptions

There are no quads or generators along the showroom floors and a quick tour reveals a wide spectrum of motorcycles, from dirt bikes and super motards to sport bikes and tourers. Bavarian Motor Works is producing many different motorcycles to appeal to a younger market and their purchase of Husqvarna motorcycles reiterates this theme of developing brand loyalty at an early age. Currently, there is no plan to bring Husqvarna into BMWOR, but the joint venture allows BMW the ability to integrate Husqvarna's research and development into their Cross and GS series bikes. But it takes more than motorcycles for a dealership to run smoothly.

Tested Mettle

Sales are the backbone of any dealership and Manager Kirk Levi believes the key to his department's success lies in being attentive. "By listening to our customer's wants and desires, we are able to offer them a complete experience," Kirk explains. Dealerships also need healthy Service and Parts departments to flourish. Although three departments make up a dealership, it is often what the dealer does outside of the showroom floor that lures clients in.

Giving back

BMWOR can be found at Sport Bike Northwest August 21 st-24th, allowing attendees the opportunity to test ride some of the latest and greatest bikes Bavaria has to offer. There is no better way to preview a motorcycle than to log some miles on it. Additionally, BMW Riders of Oregon can be found on the first Thursday of every month at 10am at BMWOR-Tigard's lobby drinking coffee and discussing all things Beemer.

Safety First

BMWOR's commitment to continued rider training is apparent once you walk inside the door, where a display holds brochures and contact information for Team Oregon, a motorcycle safety school. BMWOR offers a discount to recent graduates of the Basic Riders Training course. BMWOR has sold and/or services many of the R1200T police motorcycles ridden by departments on the city, county and state level.

BMW Difference

"Our staff inspires customers," Scott explains. "That is why we sell so many bikes," This passion for riding allowed BMWOR to generate 218 new sales for 2007. If passion is the secret ingredient to Russell's recipe for success, don't forget to add equal parts hard work.


BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon, Tigard
12010 SW Garden PL, Tigard OR 97223
GPS Coordinates -- N 45_ 25.987', W 122_ 45.673'
Phone: 503.597.7097
 
BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon, Eugene
2891 W 11th Ave, Eugene OR 97402
GPS Coordinates -- N 44_ 02.878', W 123_ 08.114'
Phone: 541.338.0269
 
http://www.bmwor.com

Sean Coker is a free lance motorcycle rider/writer living in Portland Oregon.


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