• May 17, 2010
When the second generation X3 goes on sale early next year BMW wants more of its American customers to start special ordering the crossovers rather than buying them off the lot. Custom orders are more the norm in Europe where about half of all BMWs are spec'd up before being delivered to the buyer, and BMW has been promoting its Individual program which allows customers to pick and choose the colors and materials in their vehicles.

The advantage to BMW is that these optioned vehicles have much higher profit margins than the standard configurations typically stocked by dealers. If BMW can succeed in getting more custom orders for the X3 and other models it will improve the bottom line for both its dealers and the automaker as lots won't have to stock nearly as much inventory. The biggest problem is changing American's desire to show up at a dealer and drive something off the lot that day.

Promoting build-to-order will be much easier with the new X3 because production of the new model will be moved from Austria to the recently expanded Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Building the crossovers here will allow BMW to drastically cut delivery times and BMW will also be more heavily promoting its factory delivery program and the driving classes it offers at the adjacent Performance Center.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The biggest problem is changing American's desire to show up at a dealer and drive something off the lot that day."


      While you're at it, could you get dealers to drop that annoying line "what can we do to get you in a BMW today?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        When cross-shopping vehicles, I am not going to talk and say 'yes' to anything.

        If I like their vehicle, we may then talk pricing and the 'what can we do today' becomes valid.

        But I have no pre-conceptions about what I want and for what amount. Because I need to get a feel for a vehicle. I'm there to do research.

        Has nothing to do with growing skin and having a plan. I shop for cars. The best car for me gets my money.

        There is nothing they can do but hand me the keys and shut the hell up. Pressuring for a sale 'today' is guaranteed to lose my business. If after researching all other cars on my list, I decide yours is the one I want, I'm still not coming back to the pushy salesman.

        I actually compliment every salesman I encounter that isn't pushy for putting me at ease and allowing me to come back to them on my own time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sales/closing a sale of a commodity is all about getting the customer to talk and say yes. If the answer to that question is 'no', a good salesman directs them to dialogue ... and to get them to say yes to something. That's why that question is appropriate. Going to a car dealer is not really that scary. Grow some skin; decide what you want and how much you want to pay. If they don't meet that - leave.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since there is no flooring, BMW should offer a discount since all the dealer does is place the order. Or better yet, place the order online and indicate your local dealer. Unless there is a substantial discount, I doubt anyone will wait and it also makes it tricky when negotiating the trade in value of your car since you will still be driving it until your new BMW arrives.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Drove one this past week alongside Mercedes and Acura. Stiffest ride, highest price possibly a better looking vehicle in it's class but can't justify the price for the ride. Were going to check out Audi A3 and Q5 instead today, otherwise the Acura seemed to offer the most bang for the buck. BMW, if you were priced along with the competition we might have considerded it. 100k for the X5 sport package (M3 i think it was) was the funniest thing I saw all day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think it was the M, i didnt care, just glanced. Buying the Audi Q5 now for the wife anyway, im on Audis wi-fi now :) Nice car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You do realize that was an X5 M, right? It's not just a sport package, it a different drive train and suspension. Sure, it's expensive, but compared to other cars in its price range I think it compares favorably.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about this, BMW? For the prices your asking, put everything in the car and offer to swap in a manual transmission for those who want it.

      Acura by far has the best model: Nav/No Nav. Other than that, it's picking the ext/int color options.

      It looks like HQ might be kicking its dealers in the nads on this one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good for you. Every dealership needs a what-for every once in a while.

        Same thing happened to me at McDavid Acura in Austin. So I drove across down to Sterling and bought one that day for less than I offered McDavid. On my way home, I dropped by McDavid and asked the salesman and manager not to call me any more.

        My point was simply to point out the simplification of the options process. Which by the way, was a corporate decision, not a dealer one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Funnily enough, it was the Acura dealer in Sherman Oaks, CA (Keyes Acura) that threw their noses up at us (Tried to get an RDX for the wife) so she got an X3. She loves it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The X3 seems like a truly dreadful vehicle. If only BMW would sell the 3-series wagon with any engine nicer than the 328 here in the US I'm sure at least a few right-minded enthusiast types would sign on the dotted line.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wanted to order the last 2 BMW's I've owned. In both cases, the dealer strongly discouraged ordering and convinced me to buy something on their lot or something they could trade for.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I literally got chased off the lot of one dealer (Sterling BMW, Newport Beach CA) years ago when I said I wanted to order a car. BMWNA needs to change the system they use in allocating dealer inventory. The system they've used for years, in my understanding, makes special orders and European Deliveries VERY unappealing to the dealers' business.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Same thing with me... and not just with BMWs, other dealers do the same thing too. They are looking to get inventory off their hands.
      • 4 Years Ago
      More profit for the manufacturer doesn't sound much like a win for customers, though in part I like the idea of moving to a "made-to-order" purchasing experience. If this meant manual transmissions would be available on more vehicles (right now the low take percentage keeps them off of the options list in the U.S.), then I'm in favor. BMW fortunately has a strong manual-transmission offering across its lineup, but many automakers (in particular the American ones) don't. Simply make it available and I'll be happy to drop a down payment and wait for you to build it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        BMWNA is notorious for stuffing the channel, that will be difficult is they are undermining sales out of inventory.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Interestingly enough, the E60 M5 was never supposed to have a manual transmission until the US market complained enough.

        Ironic, isn't it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Water is wet, sky is blue.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've done the custom-ordered BMW with European Delivery experience before. It was *fantastic* - I got exactly the car I wanted.

      I'm planning on buying a new car within 6-8 months. BMW, let me order a diesel variant of the X3, or a 320d, and it just might be a BMW I purchase instead of a VW/Audi.
      • 4 Years Ago
      [quote]The biggest problem is changing American's desire to show up at a dealer and drive something off the lot that day.[/quote]

      No, the biggest problem is changing American _dealers_ desire to send every customer that shows up on the lot home in a new car that very day.
      Dealers here make it very difficult to custom order your car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and I want ONE MILLION DOLLARS! but is not happening.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jeremy Clarkson called the X3 "God awful":

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2LLMxlkT-Y



        • 4 Years Ago
        Why would they review the X3 now? The all new model will come out soon... Doesn't make any sense to me...
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