The Mercedes-Benz Baltimore vehicle process center has secured a five-year contract to inspect, process, and repair pre-delivery BMW and Mini vehicles arriving in the United States. It's a deal that makes economic sense for both companies, say that automakers. BMW models currently arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, and are shipped to nearby Spartanburg (home of BMWs assembly plant) for inspection and pre-delivery work. That plant is "no longer appropriate" once the X3 starts production next year, says Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW North America. O'Donnell says BMW has been looking for an outside contractor, and it was the company's own purchasing department who proposed the deal.

Ernst Lieb, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, called the deal "a win-win situation." The company has both the manpower and space to service the additional BMW vehicles, and this arrangement may create additional opportunities for the two companies down the road. The Baltimore vehicle process center, on track to process 70,000 vehicles this year, currently handles Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles. The arrangement with BMW will not begin until March 1, 2010.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image: Max Nash/Getty]