Long live Ozzie Auer!

“(customer comments submitted to BMW Motorrad USA)

Although I live only blocks away from one of the biggest BMW dealers in the US, and the people at that dealership are pleasant enough, and I do buy some of my accessories there, I prefer to make my large purchases and get my servicing done at a shop 2 hours to the north…

Ozzie has been “my BMW guy” since my first BMW, a 1986 K75C, but it had been years since I had seen him because I had taken some time off motorcycling to raise my daughter. I missed his racing stories and his enthusiasm and dedication to BMW motorcycles. Two weeks earlier I had purchased a 1200GS from his shop in Chico but Ozzie was on vacation in Germany. Now I was back to deliver my “old” 650GS for consignment.

…I transferred the paperwork on the 650 to Emmi, bought new tires for the 1200, and traded the 1200 mag wheels for spoke wheels. Ozzie said the spoke wheels need cleaning and be sure to take them out of the back of the truck as soon as I get home, “those things are expensive”.

Brand loyalty is something that a company earns from it’s product and it’s people. Ozzie is the most ethical person I have ever met. I trust him. My BMW is special. It is an “Ozzie’s BMW”.

When I got home I immediately took the wheels out of the back of the truck and secured them in the garage The next morning I carefully cleaned them before mounting. Long live Ozzie Auer! Long live BMW motorcycles!”

But wait, this is the interesting part…

The owner of the Chico dealership, Ozzie, called me personally at work and offered to come and get my bike and trailer it back to his shop which is 400-500 miles distant (One way!) to make sure it was fixed correctly since my local dealer was (ahem!) slow (my words). “It’s how I’ve built my business over the years” Ozzie said to me. “Wow!” That would be around 800-1000 miles round-trip which is way overboard for service from any dealer in my book. It even about knocked BMW NA’s Thomas out of his chair when he found out about the offer and we both agreed the black plaques that Ozzie has received for “Outstanding Service” from BMW over the years on his shop’s walls were well deserved indeed. “The man. The legend.” as one customer said when he introduced him to his wife in the shop while I was there.

Had it not been for the airplane ride to Chico (~$800) or Amtrak’s (~$80) ridiculous arrival time of 1:59 AM to get there, plus the ride back, I might have gone for it. Ozzie’s mechanic Jessie (10 years of K-series bike experience) had found numerous other bolts missing or installed in wrong places from other dealers I’ve used in the past (body panel screws are pointed, fwiw). It’s sort of a problem not having a local dealer for so many years and wandering about for service.

However, I also felt the new local dealer “Needed a good sharp poking with a stick” and I think they got the message tonight when I went to see how they got along with Thomas at BMW NA. Hope they got the idea. I think “They learned something” as my drag-me-into-this-mess-of-yours witness said to me later after we left their shop.

Once BMW AG gets the current beta K1300 debugged in another year, I may well buy my next K-bike at Ozzie’s in Chico, CA.

“For a dealer to offer to drive ~1000 miles and trailer my bike from another dealer to fix under warranty is way above board in my book.” Way cool, Ozzie!

When I crunched my RIMs near Oregon, I had the biked towed to Ozzies. BMW roadside would take it to Medford, but thats just 3 hours further North.

I was very happy with the service, and followup work they performed. Small shop, but seems like they are straight forward and support the customer with BMW NA. I had some warranty work done as well as the insurance work.

An unexpected, extended stay in Chico, CA

The next morning we got up and headed out toward Ozzie’s BMW. The morning was warm, the sun was shining, and we were riding through some beautiful farmland. I fell into that totally relaxed state of feeling as if everything was right with the world. We entered a road construction area and traffic slowed way down, but was still moving along steadily. Then, just as we entered the most active area, where the road was down to one lane in either direction and bordered by concrete barriers, some idiot decided to pass the dump truck behind me. I don’t know whether he didn’t see me and thought he could squeeze in between the dump truck and my husband’s bike, or whether he was just an idiot. In any case, he came screaming around the dump truck, there was oncoming traffic, and he had no place to go other than my lane. Apparently he decided, it’s just a motorcycle, who cares if I run them down, because there he came. I hit the dirt on the side of the road, the dump truck driver slammed on his brakes, and the idiot missed me by about a foot. I don’t know how I kept the bike upright. I guess all I can say is that my MSF class paid for itself there!

After my close call the adrenaline kept me on edge all the way to the bike shop. Normally I hate to stop riding, but in all honesty this time it was a relief to get off the bike and know I would have some time to recover. The guys at Ozzie’s had told us the night before that they would try to work us in, and they were fantastic. It took all day to get the bike done, but what cool guys. It turned out that the shop in Anchorage had installed the throttle cable improperly so it had stretched and I needed a new one. One of the high points of my day was looking at the California Highway Patrol bikes that were in the shop for service. One of the mechanics was even nice enough to pull one out for me so I could get my picture taken with it.

When we realized how late it would be before we could hit the road again we decided to get a motel and start fresh the following morning. We took a taxi to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company bar and restaurant. The food was fantastic, and my husband had great things to say about the beer. I braved the sneers of those around me and drank wine instead. I used to like beer, but as I’ve gotten older I just don’t enjoy the taste. But that’s ok, the other people in the bar made up for it, and by drinking pinot I left more beer for them!