"Ease / Options / Experience / +Rolly Davidson"
tl;dr: This is a dealership that would meet the needs for all types of buyers. We’ll be back.
“Whew.” That’s the feeling we had when we drove away from Knauz BMW yesterday afternoon. With the first of our two current BMW leases approaching end-of-term, we had been inundated with solicitations from our local dealers trying to get us to upgrade early. We take incredible care of our vehicles and put very few miles on them, so we’re used to early-upgrade lease offers coming our way. This was our first BMW lease to renew; with other brands we’ve leased before it was a simple process: you go to the dealer, choose which vehicle is appealing, and essentially drive away.
The local dealers we’d been visiting in response to their solicitations and marketing were not an easy experience. One of them played dumb, acting clueless about the phone conversations we’d had and wasting hours of our time in the process. The other gave us a snippy song-and-dance about how BMW is not really a brand that does early upgrades, but they’d see what they could do - and never received any follow-up. Additionally, these local dealers had very limited inventory, and wouldn’t even let us look at any vehicles. Both dealers were not welcoming culturally either - one was full of retirees and the other was full of slick hotshots - I felt like maybe BMW was not a brand I could align with from a personality perspective either. It felt like one big circle of revolving confusion, so we had begun to consider other brands just to escape what seemed like BMW being a cruddy brand to do business with.
Before throwing in the towel, I recalled seeing the Knauz name on the plates for an X3 that I fell in love with, so I decided to check them out online to see what their inventory was like. (We acquired our current cars from a great dealer when we lived in California, where there was row after row of inventory for us to browse, and the sales service was impeccable.) I was delighted to see not just one but eight potential X3 units that I was interested in at Knauz, so submitted an online inquiry early one morning. Within a couple hours I received a follow-up from Rolly Davidson with clear pricing and an invitation to drive down from Milwaukee to Lake Bluff to visit. We exchanged a few more emails about some other stock options and settled on an appointment time when we were free on a Saturday morning. While the emails were pleasant and quick, I was still cautious about what the experience would be like when we arrived.
Big build-up here just to describe our positive experience. Sorry.
We arrived around 11am and drove off in our new car around 3pm, entire deal complete with a bow on it. When we walked in the door, Rolly Davidson knew exactly who we were and welcomed us. We had such a nice time with Rolly - he immediately walked us to the lot, giving us the history of Knauz and describing their successes as a dealer. He knew what I was interested in so he got us straight to the area where we could see what I wanted, gave us some quick pros and cons about various models, and within just a couple minutes an X3 was pulled out for us and we started getting lessons - I felt like I’d already signed the deal and was ready to drive off! He had us take the car (which was not even in my top 8 from online research, so bonus points for the in-person inventory being even better than online!) off by ourselves to experience, and when we got back we sat down and crunched the numbers pretty quickly. I knew where I wanted the numbers to be, even after the X3 I fell in love with was above and beyond what I expected, and Rolly got us pretty close. We shared some common interests that we hadn’t found in anyone since we moved to Wisconsin, so our four-hour visit was not all about business. As clients we felt individually-considered and respected. Go. See. Rolly.
Throughout the deal development we also worked with Spencer Parker, a BMW Genius, who took care of the grounding of our old BMW, and then spent about an hour with us training us on the upgrades to the technology in this X3 versus our previous car. Spencer knows his stuff and obviously has a huge passion for his work. It was a fun session and it felt like he enjoys showing off the BMW product, not just completing a task assigned to him. He offers real-time support via phone or email and will even stop by to help if he’s in our area. I can’t imagine receiving this authentic level of ongoing service from the other dealers we visited.
The dealership was fresh and newly-remodeled. Still a German luxury vehicle dealership but spacious, clean, and enjoyable nonetheless. We were served water and snacks throughout the visit, and there’s a full coffee/snack bar for use during sales and service appointments. The clients in for service and coming in for sales appointments were of all types and ages. It is a very active dealer that feels more complementary to a component of your lifestyle rather than a destination of stuffy appointment. I think anyone could walk in with no appointment and be taken care of adequately. There were sales people of all kinds that I think could meet anyone’s personality preferences.
There are a lot of great points about their service offers, but I can’t recall any of them specifically after the whole buying experience. All I know is that even though it’s 60 miles away from us, I will make the drive to Knauz for their service/maintenance, and will look forward to catching up with both Rolly and Spencer.
Overall dealer review: 4 stars - only a subtraction for the distance from Milwaukee
Rolly Davidson (Sales): 5 stars - genuinely nice guy, smart, conversive, respectful, good laughs
Spencer Parker (BMW Genius): 5 stars - it’s great working with people who love what they do
Inventory: 5 stars - so many great options, and the prices are respectable
Online: 4 stars - great communication, easy-to-use website - I think we could’ve done the entire deal online if we wanted