Stories to fuel your mind


Share the story

Story by JOE LEARY

Jim Murray’s connection to Brian Jessel BMW as Managing Partner dates back more than two decades. His story with the dealership starts with a love for cars which developed into a successful career that now stands at the forefront of the industry.


“The first vehicle I drove was a Dodge Fargo truck with a three on the tree,” he recalls. “I started buying cars when I was going to high school, but my first ‘real’ car was a 1975 Firebird Formula 350 small-block.” His ambition was to become a musician, so the car business was not on the horizon at first. “It was totally a fluke,” he says. “I made a career change at 23. A friend’s father owned a car dealership and I decided I would try my hand at that. He told me what to say and who to go see, and I got the job. Day One, I sold my first car, and Day Two, I sold my second car. I was ‘Top Salesman of the Month’ in my first month, ‘Salesman of the Year’ in my first year, and I was promoted into management at that dealership three years later.” Enter Brian Jessel. It took some time for his partnership with Brian to grow into what it is today. “I first met Brian in the summer of 1997 when I applied for the Pre-Owned manager’s position. He interviewed me three times and I still did not get the job. We really connected, though. Almost six months to the day later, I was working at a Chrysler dealer ship, and I got a phone call from Brian. He told me his New Car manager was moving to Toronto and that I was the right guy to take over the job. We met at a coffee shop, negotiated a deal on a napkin, and here I am, 23 years later.” That history carries with it a rich past with the Brian Jessel BMW family and BMW brand, including Murray’s achievements as Active Elected Member and Vice Chair of the BMW Dealer Communications Team, and Number One in New and Pre-owned Sales Volume in Canada for 17 consecutive years.

Sponsored Ads

Notwithstanding his exceptional achievements in the car business, Jim Murray remains a talented and versatile musician whose abilities extend far beyond his former instrument of choice, the drums.

As Brian Jessel BMW celebrates 35 years of continued success, Murray reviews the current state of the industry and what the future holds. “Certainly, it’s an industry in transition” he says.

“Out of all the adjustments COVID-19 has brought about over the last year, we have mostly taken advantage of the enhancement and focus on digitalization it has engendered. We now consider all the digital tools from how people shop to how they purchase cars — and the interaction between our clients and the dealership through varied digital formats keeps advancing at a pace we have never seen before. This has brought a lot of good to the industry and our company. I think people wanted to break free of traditional car buying, or at least have an option, and now they do.”

The continued growth of this trend is rapidly driving the transformation of the business sector, reaching new milestones in terms of e-mobility, digitization, and sustainability. At the same time, it is strengthening the business model of the dealership to keep aiming for more ambitious targets.

Sponsored Ads

Murray believes in BMW’s leadership in new electric vehicles and the new car lineup alike. While awaiting the much anticipated deliveries of the i4 and iX, here he stands between the M4 coupe and the M850 Cabriolet.

Taking note of these new directions, Murray believes EVs and hybrids are now the leading edge of driving. “Electric vehicles have a huge market share in Vancouver, where there is a massive appetite for them but not a lot of choice. Naturally, BMW is chief among the manufacturers stepping up their EV game. Today I am driving an X5e, and I love it,” he says. “This car has a 55km range on a full battery, so if you can plug in at work or at home, you are off the grid. You get great fuel economy when you are using both fuel and battery combined, as the engine will also charge the battery to a certain degree, so you do not have to worry about trying to find a charge station if you are travelling.”

While the Province of BC prepares for the onslaught of electric vehicles and providing an ably equipped infrastructure of charging stations, Murray suggests the BMW hybrids are the perfect precursor to the fully electric cars. “We have started taking orders for the new both fully electric BMW iX as well as the four-door sedan

version, the BMW i4. The SUV stacks up with 500-plus horse – power and about a 500 -600km range on a full charge, with an outstanding MSRP of $89,990; the i4 ranges up to 475kms, has 335 hp, and an unbeatable MSRP of $54,990. These vehicles are going to be big contenders in the EV space, coming at the end of this year or first quarter of next year.” In Murray’s opinion, electrification is not only the future. It is the perfect way to explore British Columbia with Brian Jessel BMW .

Related Articles