BMW NA organizational chart

If memory serves me, I worked for BMW North America (NA) in 1981, and it was the first year after BMW took over the importing and distribution of BMW motorcycles.

I had territory No. 5, which was the entire Rocky Mountain states, plus Texas.  This was by far the largest territory of all.  NA had me driving to the dealers in an executive BMW car.  We were required to turn them in by 8000 miles so that they could sell it for their cost and come out even.

My territory was so large that I would put those miles on in only a month.  As I picked up one car, I had to order the next one.  I got called on the carpet for the high mileage.  I pointed out that if I drove from one end of my territory to the far end and only drove 8 hours a day, it would take one week to get there.  That wouldn’t be stopping at any dealerships either.  I suggested that they authorize the flying expense, or have me hitchhike.  I was “allowed” to keep driving.  Yes, I was working for idiots.  I had more years of experience with BMW than anyone above me.

The head man, Jean-Pierre Bailby, was given the task based on his success with cars in France.  There is no relationship between the culture of the BMW car and the BMW motorcycle.  Also, there was no relationship between French and American culture.  He was set up to fail, and he did.  He was a nice guy too.

My boss, Joe Salluzzo, was a sweetheart of a guy.  He knew his business and had been the sales manager for Butler & Smith.  During his interview with me, he commented that my experience justified a larger salary.  I told him that I was already retired and didn’t need the money.  I was interested in learning more about the industry that helped me be so successful.  He took care of me, as you will soon see.

He was soon fired and replaced by a person from Yamaha.  He was brutal, and nobody liked him.  Joe still had friends working for NA and got tidbits of gossip.  He called me directly once to inform me that I was about to be fired too.  I was ready to leave anyway, but now was armed with the info, and I got “bought out” with a very good settlement.  I heard that they were afraid to piss me off as my reputation was stellar and I don’t hold back.

By contract, the retirement of B & S was supposed to be one of total cooperation.  B & S gave no help of any kind and intentionally destroyed all computer files about parts, warranty claims, and dealers.  BMW NA wasn’t even given a list of dealers.  Thank goodness, one employee of B & S felt differently and printed out everything and hid it up above the ceiling tiles.  NA didn’t get the computer files, but at least had it all in writing.  Do you have a better idea of why most BMW dealers hated B & S?

I was allowed to buy any of these cars at a deep discount.  I offered them to friends but got no takers.

Updated 13 Nov. 2019