The Current issue of Fast Company magazine (despite the name, it's about business, not cars) has an interesting article about the role of the "M" brand within the BMW empire.

While we here in the U.S. enjoy the standard M-series cars as much as car nuts anywhere else, it turns out we're soon to get an interesting service of BMW's M Division - its Individual program. Launched at the Geneva Auto Show in 1992, the Individual program offers extreme personalizationBMW Individual logo pr photo of your new BMW, including such custom features as exotic paint schemes, a variety of leather upholstery, antique wood trim, DVD players, photocopiers, minifridges - almost anything you can imagine, all covered by a full factory warranty.

The Individual program is offered in Europe and Asia across the full range of BMWs. According to Fast Company and others, the Individual program is coming to the U.S. market, as soon as they can streamline the ordering process throught the dealer network.

In Europe, Individual is broken down into different levels of customization, ranging from special edition cars in production runs of 5 to 1,000, through personalized cars (like the 650i cab pictured) built right on the flexible M-series production line, all the way to full custom special commissions for customers for whom money is no object.

After all, why should the aftermarket tuners have all the fun?

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