Press Release: BMW has revved up the motorcycling community in Louisiana’s “Capital City” with new ownership and a completely remodeled retail facility at BMW Motorcycles of Baton Rouge. Now under the leadership of Dealer Principles Jim and Susan Whitehead, the longtime exclusive BMW dealership, located at 10545A Airline Highway, offers a complete line of new and pre-owned BMW motorcycles, parts, accessories, apparel and service capabilities in a newly refurbished 8,800 square-foot retail facility and showroom. For Jim, it’s a homecoming of sorts as he takes over the business that launched his career in the motorcycle industry two decades ago.
“We are thrilled that Jim and Susan are committed to serving our customers in the Gulf Coast region,” commented Adam Spencer, National Dealer Development Manager, BMW Motorrad USA. “They and their talented energetic staff have long been and will continue to be excellent ambassadors for the BMW brand. We are fortunate to have them join our strong and growing dealer network.”
“We are guided by the simple principle that the customer always comes first,” says Jim, who joined Hebert Cycles (the precursor to the current BMW dealership) as a sales manager in 1996. “I’ve known most of our customers for 20 years. We’ve ridden many miles together, and we’re all friends.”
Jim brought sales to record levels at Hebert before leaving in 2004 to pursue other opportunities in the motorcycle business. Prior to his departure, however, he met Andy Rispone, who was introduced to the BMW brand by his son during a ride to Daytona. Over the years, Jim sold Andy several BMW motorcycles, and eventually the two discussed the idea of purchasing Hebert Cycles after Leon Hebert passed away.
The partnership came to fruition in 2011 under the name Abenteuer Cycles, LLC and the dealership relocated to its current larger location as business grew. In 2014, however, Andy died tragically in a motorcycle accident in Newfoundland.
“As much as I love taking over the dealership now, I’d give anything to have Andy back,” commented Jim. “We continue to operate with Andy’s guiding principles of providing the absolute best customer service available and treating our customers as family.”
Other members of the staff also have longtime ties to the BMW brand, including Service Manager Cory Bech and Service Technician James Sanford, both of whom worked with Jim during his early days at Hebert. Their newest addition, Taj Murtland, also lends his technical background to round out a top-performing service department.
Today, Jim’s wife, Susan – a CPA – helps keep a tight rein on the dealership’s finances, working with Brandon LaCaze, the Business Manager, while Jim and the rest of the staff – which also includes Parts Manager Mike Bauman and Sales Manager Clark King – focus on growing the business through sales of new and pre-owned BMW motorcycles, sales and service of BMW police motorcycles, as well as sales of other pre-owned brands.
“We’re seeing a lot of new, younger customers come in who are interested in the S 1000 RR and the R 1200 GSA – our bestsellers,” observed Jim. “We’re also very excited about the soon-to-be-introduced one-cylinder BMW G 310 R roadster, which will have widespread appeal.”
Jim and his staff maintain close ties to BMW clubs throughout Louisiana and regularly participate in the annual Cajun Swamp Scooter Rally, where Jim is a two-time winner of the Gumbo Cook-off.
“I cook up 10 gallons of shrimp and Andouille gumbo for the crowd, and there’s never a drop left,” says Jim, an avid gardener and chef, who believes he has a good shot at repeating his culinary success at this year’s rally scheduled for November 11-13.
When it comes to BMW motorcycles, Jim and his staff are eager to convey their years of knowledge and expertise to anyone who will listen. As for the gumbo recipe, don’t even ask!
For more information about BMW Motorcycles of Baton Rouge, visit bmwmcofbr.com or call 888-570-0896. Showroom hours are Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.