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A Schimmel dealer told me that Schimmel has a policy in effect for its U.S. dealers. This policy applies to new pianos only.

He told me that Schimmel will not allow another German-made piano brand to be sold in the same showroom as their brand. This dealer is able to carry both Bosendorfer and Schimmel in his showroom because Bosendorfer is made in Austria. However, Steingraeber, Sauter and other German-made pianos would not be allowed if he wanted to continue carrying the Schimmel franchise.

I wonder if that is true.
There are very few markets where a manufacturer could afford such a policy. Even then...I doubt it.
I doubt it too.
Maybe times have changed, but when I had my store I sold August Forster, Wilh. Steinberg, Grotrian, Sauter, Bechstein and Schimmel side by side. My non-German brands were Kemble and Bosendorfer.
I did a search for Schimmel dealerships in the US, and a lot of them do mix Bosendorfer and Schimmel, but this is the only one that seems to sell other German brands
I don't think it's true. They would disqualify themselves by doing that and they know that people will find out after all which would raise questions (Are other pianos better? Not necessarily. Different? Yes. wink )

Pianoworks used to sell them next to other German brands.

And I found a couple of others without a real effort:
http://europianosnaples.com/

http://www.litchfieldpianoworks.com/showroom/index.cfm

http://www.peregrines-pianos.com/content/upright-pianos
I know that when I bought my Schimmel,the dealer also had Blüthner and Bechstein.(this was last year)
Gosh, this is all very confusing.

I have never known a piano dealer to say anything that wasn't true.

I think Faust Harrison carries both Schimmel and Bechstein.
LOL. Furtwangler
They do, pianoloverus. However, the Bechsteins are in their Manhattan and White Plains showrooms, while the Schimmels are in their Huntington Village (Long Island) showrooms.
I am inclined to agree with you, wimpiano. I doubt that Schimmel would have enough clout in the U.S. market to enforce such a policy.

I also know of a dealer that sells Sauter, August Forster, Bechstein and Schimmel pianos in the same showroom - at least he did until a few months ago. I don't know about now.

Steinway can enforce a (virtually) Steinway-only policy in the U.S., but they are probably the only company that can get away with it.

That said, I received a PM from a trustworthy dealer that what the Schimmel dealer told me was true. Perhaps this is a very recent development. We shall see.
Originally Posted by wimpiano
I don't think it's true. They would disqualify themselves by doing that and they know that people will find out after all which would raise questions (Are other pianos better? Not necessarily. Different? Yes. wink )

Pianoworks used to sell them next to other German brands.

And I found a couple of others without a real effort:
http://europianosnaples.com/

http://www.litchfieldpianoworks.com/showroom/index.cfm

http://www.peregrines-pianos.com/content/upright-pianos


OP referred specifically to US dealers.
Originally Posted by Almaviva
They do, pianoloverus. However, the Bechsteins are in their Manhattan and White Plains showrooms, while the Schimmels are in their Huntington Village (Long Island) showrooms.
Pretty sure they have Schimmels in Manhattan.
Okay, you live in NYC, and I don't. I defer to your knowledge on this matter.

The Faust Harrison salesman told me that the Schimmel models which interested me were only in the Huntington Beach, L.I. showroom. That doesn't necessarily mean that ALL Schimmel models were only in Long Island.
I have Sauter and Schimmel in my showroom right now. There is no such rule.
Okay, I'm convinced - that Schimmel dealer lied to me.

Rich - when did you pick up the Sauter line? Congratulations.
yeah Rich,do tell!!!
Originally Posted by Almaviva

Rich - when did you pick up the Sauter line? Congratulations.


We have had Sauter on our showroom floor for quite some time. This is nothing new but thank you for the congrats. smile

I also want to give some perspective to my last comment. I think I should have given more explanation. Having a "rule" and having a general policy or way of doing business are two different things.

For instance, Yamaha and Kawai generally do not share a showroom, but there are several dealers in the USA that carry both lines. Steinway generally does not share a showroom with Yamaha, but there are several dealers that have both lines. Do you understand my meaning here?

This dealer you spoke with could have been telling the truth as he/she sees it, but the fact remains that there is no "rule".

I hope that is better clarification.
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Originally Posted by wimpiano
I don't think it's true. They would disqualify themselves by doing that and they know that people will find out after all which would raise questions (Are other pianos better? Not necessarily. Different? Yes. wink )

Pianoworks used to sell them next to other German brands.

And I found a couple of others without a real effort:
http://europianosnaples.com/

http://www.litchfieldpianoworks.com/showroom/index.cfm

http://www.peregrines-pianos.com/content/upright-pianos


OP referred specifically to US dealers.

So did I, which one is not in the US? (Naples is in Florida)
edit: sorry, peregrines is indeed in London..
I don't think Schimmel is afraid of an artistic comparison, I do think that they are aware of market share and have made efforts to gain as much as that as they could. Influencing how much exposure a competitor gets is one way to help achieve greater market share and keep a dealers inventory budget focused on Schimmel.

As I said earlier a dealer has confirmed with me that they are prohibited from carrying another German brand and they will observe that clause in their agreement. I wish them the best and hope that music lovers everywhere will be able to benefit from a robust selection of the worlds piano makers in their area.

I visited Steinway, Bluthner, Chappell now called Yamaha Music, and two multi-brand dealers in London some months ago.

The single brand stores presented their instruments far better than the dealers. (Bosendorfer counts as a part of the Yamaha brand here in this post!)
Based on both public and private responses to this thread, it appears that Schimmel may or may not have a contract clause proscribing its dealers from carrying other German-made piano marques. However, if such a clause does exist, it does not appear to be diligently or consistently enforced. Perhaps such an exclusionary clause exists only for recently-established Schimmel dealers, while older, established dealers do not have such a clause. Who knows?

Either way, I personally feel that it would be a foolish decision on Schimmel's part. For one, I don't think Schimmel has enough standing in the U.S. market to enforce such a clause. Also, I don't think that many dealers would want to limit the product mix available to their customers by offering only one line of German-made pianos.

I have played two Schimmel pianos. Based on what I heard and felt, there was nothing wrong with them. I don't know why Schimmel would fear competition from other German piano makers to the extent of trying to prevent consumers from comparing Schimmel pianos to their German rivals.
Almaviva, if you have questions about, or take issue with, the business practices of any piano manufacturer, why not contact them directly?
Originally Posted by Almaviva
Based on both public and private responses to this thread, it appears that Schimmel may or may not have a contract clause proscribing its dealers from carrying other German-made piano marques. However, if such a clause does exist, it does not appear to be diligently or consistently enforced. Perhaps such an exclusionary clause exists only for recently-established Schimmel dealers, while older, established dealers do not have such a clause. Who knows?

Either way, I personally feel that it would be a foolish decision on Schimmel's part. For one, I don't think Schimmel has enough standing in the U.S. market to enforce such a clause. Also, I don't think that many dealers would want to limit the product mix available to their customers by offering only one line of German-made pianos.

I have played two Schimmel pianos. Based on what I heard and felt, there was nothing wrong with them. I don't know why Schimmel would fear competition from other German piano makers to the extent of trying to prevent consumers from comparing Schimmel pianos to their German rivals.

You're probably correct to assume that Schimmel may have different contracts with different dealers. If they've changed a given policy, such as this one, they can't go back in time and change existing contracts. And they may even have different contracts for different dealers right now--I don't think they'd be required to have a common agreement with everyone. For example, if a dealer who already carries German pianos wants to add Schimmel sales, perhaps it's "ok." Whereas, they may forbid existing Schimmel dealers from adding other German pianos.

I wouldn't assume that their motivation is fear of other brands. Consider the example above. Let's say dealer X carries Schimmel, and he's the only piano dealer in a relatively large geographical area. Well, if a customer wants a German piano, he's gonna end up with a Schimmel. Right? Why would Schimmel be inclined to let that dynamic change? On the other hand, let's say dealer Y carries at least one German piano, but does not carry Schimmel. Why would Schimmel be opposed to letting dealer Y add Schimmel and potentially increasing their sales?

Further, some dealers may have enough clout to say "we're also going to sell Klavier-XYZ; take it or leave it."
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Almaviva, if you have questions about, or take issue with, the business practices of any piano manufacturer, why not contact them directly?

+1
Well, Marty, I posted this question on the forum for three reasons:

1) you guys are a lot more fun to talk to than a piano manufacturer, and pretty knowledgeable as well;
2) I suspect that Schimmel (or any other manufacturer) would not respond to a question of this sort from someone who is not a piano industry professional (KawaiDon might respond, but not many others.);
3) I don't want to get any piano dealers in trouble for non-compliance with what I consider an unwise contract clause.
Oh, OK. Number 1) is certainly correct!
LOL, Marty. Not only entertaining and knowledgeable, but modest too! wink
We're all very modest about our modesty.

Shhhhhhhhhhh
If Schimmel has a rule that its dealers cannot sell any other new German pianos, and if its motivation is fear of competition, doesn't it follow that New York Steinway (Boston/Essex), which seems to forbid its dealers from selling any non-Steinway Co. pianos at all, must be terrified of the competition?

Since Schimmel seems to have no such rule, does it follow that it is not frightened of the competition? New Schimmels are fabulous, incidentally.

I am not trying to bash Steinway (Boston/Essex) here, just to make a point that theories that posters are positing with respect to the conduct of one manufacturer should at least be tried out against others. As far as I can tell, the most anti-competitive manufacturer discussed on this forum is New York Steinway. It is perfectly true that we are talking about Schimmel here, but those who propose fear of competition motives for the company need to look at where that takes them.



That's just it, Rank. Some dealers (poster to this thread, and private messages) have said that Schimmel does proscribe its dealers from selling other German piano brands on the same showroom floor. Other dealers have said that no such rule exists.

As I said before, I have played a couple of Schimmels in the past. (Not the new Konzert line.) They had a nice touch; the tone was a little too bright for my taste, but that is a matter of personal preference. I don't know why Schimmel would fear comparison with other German piano marques. Maybe they are just trying to gain market share by restricting their competitors' access to distribution channels (i.e., dealers.).


Of course, if indeed there is no such rule, the point is moot.
Originally Posted by Rank Piano Amateur
If Schimmel has a rule that its dealers cannot sell any other new German pianos, and if its motivation is fear of competition, doesn't it follow that New York Steinway (Boston/Essex), which seems to forbid its dealers from selling any non-Steinway Co. pianos at all, must be terrified of the competition?

Where does this misnomer come from? There are lots of Steinway dealerships which carry other brands. It is only those which are owned by Steinway which are exclusive to the Steinway line or if the franchise dealer prefers to be exclusive.

I just looked up a store in a city with which I am familiar and found that they carry Steinway, Boston, Essex, Pramberger, and Seiler for new pianos. They don't carry Kawai. Another dealership, in the same city, carries Kawai, Shigeru, Schimmel, May Berlin, Hallet Davis & Co, Perzina, Schulze Pollmann, and Charles R. Walter. The other dealership in town carries Yamaha and Knabe.
PianoForte Chicago is an authorized dealer for Schimmel and Grotrian and has new pianos from both German manufacturers on display.
After these last few posts, it appears that Schimmel does NOT have a clause prohibiting dealers from selling other German-made pianos on the same showroom floor as their Schimmel models. I'm relieved to find that out. It is difficult enough as it is for consumers to audition competing piano models.
Originally Posted by Almaviva
After these last few posts, it appears that Schimmel does NOT have a clause prohibiting dealers from selling other German-made pianos on the same showroom floor as their Schimmel models. I'm relieved to find that out. It is difficult enough as it is for consumers to audition competing piano models.

It's probably also difficult for dealers to keep a variety of competing models at each price point for auditioning as well. Not only to have them in house, but to keep them in performance condition ('cause we'd be unhappy about that too…).
Definitely no such rule here in the UK, as you will see from my signature. Schimmel and Bechstein work quite nicely as complimentary ranges because they are so different to each other but both of a very high quality. More often than not a customer who can't find what they are looking from in a Bechstein will find it in an equivalent Schimmel, and vice versa.

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