Fresh off a recent trip to New Zealand where Jeff Nash was an invited guest speaker for his old Otago Motorcycle Club, he took our call to tell us all about his love of motorcycles and his dealership, AMS Ducati Dallas.
Nash is from New Zealand originally, but has been in the U.S. since 1989. He’s been a U.S. citizen longer than he was in New Zealand. However, Americans say he has a New Zealand accent and Kiwis say he has an American accent. But no matter where Nash is, you can rest assured he is riding a motorcycle.
“I’m a motorcycle addict, so I like every motorcycle I ride,” says Nash, owner and president of AMS Ducati Dallas. “What I love about motorcycles is that they remind me of a good wine collection – they’re all wonderful to look at and taste, but they’re all a little bit different. I like the slight variation each one of them has. Obviously, I’m a Ducati man through and through.”
His first beveled twin, which he still owns, is a ’78 900SS. “It’s like riding a battleship, but it’s so visceral and enjoyable to ride,” he says. “It takes me back to my roots and my love of motorcycles because I have to kick-start the thing.”
Jeff’s motorcycling roots go back to his racing days with the AMA. He won six national championships including an AMA Pro Thunder title in 2000. He finished third in 2001, and in 2002, the late Kirk McCarthy rode Nash’s bike to another championship. As always with racing there comes a time to move on and do something else.
“We started AMS in 1994 to service race bikes and help with the racing function in my life,” Nash says. “We serviced a lot of race bikes in the AMA paddock and a lot of club stuff. We started doing more work with the public as time progressed.”
That progression eventually led AMS to become an exclusive Ducati dealership in 2002. “I’ve always been passionate about Ducati, so it’s made being an exclusive dealer a lot easier,” he says. “It was definitely more of an emotional decision initially than an outright business decision, but we’ve been able to make it work, which is great.”
In the beginning, AMS started off really small with a building used to house the race team. AMS had that property until 2006 when Nash moved AMS Ducati Dallas to downtown Dallas.
“That was the beginning of the transformation of the dealership,” he says. “Once we came downtown we realized we had to keep the thing growing as much as possible, but also provide superior customer service and a destination for folks to come to. As time progressed we expanded and built a new service department, a parts department and constantly added to the size of the dealership.”
Currently, AMS Ducati Dallas has 11,000 sq. ft. of retail showroom, 5,000 sq. ft. of service center, 16,000 sq. ft. of parking, and a 7,000 sq. foot parts warehouse. Believe it or not, Nash says the space is packed to capacity.
Despite the lack of open space, Nash isn’t letting that slow him or the dealership down. AMS purchased Pro Italia at the end of 2015 and has since been very busy with online and e-commerce business. With Pro Italia’s large customer base and the dealership’s customer base combined, Nash has been able to expand the AMS reach.
“Overall, it brings an awareness to our brand at AMS Ducati Dallas that we’ve never had before,” Nash says. “It’s generated excitement for the dealership itself. We have a bunch of folks who visit Dallas who two years ago would have never known to look us up. But now we have a national audience and it’s certainly making a difference in our foot traffic, which is a good problem to have with a traditional dealership. It’s been a great addition to the overall business.”
Growth has primarily been organic for AMS, according to Nash. He says that the dealership is different enough that people are curious and enamored with its presence. “We offer something different as far as a dealership experience goes, and that’s what people are looking for these days. People want somewhere to go, somewhere to belong to and be part of, and creating that atmosphere at the dealership has been important for our growth. You have to create a culture that is infectious.”
A large part of that infection comes courtesy of Ducati. “What we give the customer that comes to our store is a 100 percent Ducati experience, he says. “There’s a lot to be said about that. We draw a lot of folks from different states and from all over the state of Texas, which proves to me we are doing a great job for the brand and providing folks with 100 percent Ducati immersion.”
More so than just that, Nash concentrates on vital business areas to keep AMS Ducati Dallas top of mind for customers.
“Customer service is very, very important to us and always has been,” he says. “One of the reasons we’ve been able to grow is because we focus on that in a big way. That starts
with always having a well-trained staff, especially on the service side. We have multiple master techs working in the service department. My guys are always sent to training so they are kept up-to-date on new models. We always have the current tools that are required, and we invest a lot in that side of the business.”
In the service center itself is also a full-blown dyno room with a Dynojet 250, which is used on a regular basis for tuning bikes and diagnosing issues. “We do a considerable amount of performance work and it’s an essential tool to have in the kit,” Nash says. “These days motorcycles are becoming so sophisticated with fuel injection, traction control, ABS, etc., it can be very hard to diagnose a problem a customer may have and to duplicate that problem out on the street. It’s also somewhat dangerous to have our guys out there on the freeway trying to diagnose a particular problem. It’s an essential part of our diagnosis process because you can replicate so many road conditions with the dyno, and it allows us to get to the bottom of what’s going on.”
Speaking of fixing motorcycles, AMS also ensures that it has a huge inventory of parts in the parts department because Nash believes to provide superior customer service you have to have the product in stock that customers are going to need.
If you thought that any of this makes AMS Ducati Dallas unique, you’d be right, but Nash doesn’t stop there. AMS likes to involve its customers on a regular basis too, and that comes in the form of different events like dinner rides and track days.
“We are always doing model launches and GP watch parties, etc. We focus really heavily on track days,” he says. “We’re lucky enough to have COTA (Circuit of the Americas) just two and a half hours down the road. We also have a local track we belong to called the Motorsport Ranch in Crescent, Tex. That allows us to take our customers out on a regular basis to enjoy our motorcycles in a controlled environment. Track days get people excited about using their motorcycle in an atmosphere they can do so safely. Folks know it’s going to be a good time and it’s infectious to be around people who are excited about the product.”
Creating an inviting atmosphere has been a key element for AMS Ducati Dallas, and that atmosphere circles around AMS Ducati Dallas employees.
“Everybody who works here is here because they‘re motorcycle junkies,” Nash says. “They’re here because they love motorcycles and that’s reflected in how they communicate to customers. It’s not just a job to anybody here, and I wouldn’t employ somebody who had that kind of mindset. It’s about living motorcycling and that is something that differentiates our dealership from a lot of others.”