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I received a phone call today from Sal Portelli, Fixed Operations Manager, BMW Toronto. It was in reply to the open letter I'd posted last week (http://bit.ly/qE25br) on the dealer's big problems with its motorcycle service. Sal was cordial, and disarmingly frank and open about the situation at the motorbike side of the dealership. But there's not much good news to report, I must declare.
Matters we covered:
- The lack of availability of good techs who can wrench on late model bikes whether from here, from other cities or even other countries; BMW Toronto is trying to attract and retain good people from wherever they can, but it's no simple task
- The lack of a coherent, functional Motorrad service department at present; this came with his assurance that the company owners (the brothers Quinn) are well aware and concerned at the state of affairs, and, said Sal, attempting to do something about it
- An acknowledgement that real safety concerns had resulted from shoddy mechanical work undertaken by BMW Toronto techs and that this was unacceptable
- The mistake made by BMW Toronto last year in adding the Piaggio portfolio (the scooter lines, plus Aprilia and Moto Guzzi) to their sales lineup and then nixing the whole program shortly thereafter, much to the detriment of Motorrad service, and chagrin of BMW bike owners
- The fact that a lot of changes are being now introduced to remedy these situations
That said, I did not end the conversation feeling that all is well in hand. Not by any means. And in fairness to Sal, I don't think he intended to portray things in that way. I sympathize with BMW Toronto's situation and, as my letter implied, would love nothing more to see them get it sorted properly so we BMW riders can feel confident taking our bikes there.
It's a state of affairs that seems to have no easy solution. But at least now, as the saying goes, the truth is out there.
I will update as news comes in - Sal vowed to do the same with me. And rest assured, I will keep on this, as it means as much to me as to any other BMW bike owner in the Big Smoke.