Most auto buffs know that BMW is considered the near-ultimate driver's car and experience. Those smooth 6-cyl engines, the generally understated design, the well-balanced handling, the good build quality. Well, BMW is adding a new feature to its line up - the experience of picking up your car in Munich at the BMW Welt (World) headquarters.

Since cars are becoming more and more like commodities - they all have to meet the same emissions standards, crash standards, safety standards, etc., they buy the same components from the same second tier suppliers - auto firms with highly developed vehicle technology and brand images like Mercedes, Audi, VW, and the upcoming Asian brands want to build on their brand image - an intangible feature. For BMW, the expectation is that about 45,000 new car buyers will come to Munich each year to pick up their car at the center. For the experience they will pay an extra 457 Euros (about $630) to get the car, a tour, and meals while they are there. Germans are expected to make up about 80 percent of the visitors followed by other Europeans and some Americans. Think about it: How many Americans would travel to Detroit or Tennessee or Windsor, Ontario or Mexico to pick up their cars at the factory? Instead, they are trucked to your dealer for a cost that starts at about $600 and goes upward from there. BMW has its share of diesels and even a few hydrogen vehicles on the roads. When they become available for sale in the US, ABG readers will be able to make their pilgrimage to Munich and return with a very nice piece of motoring iron.

Personally, it reminds me of the European Delivery programs that were offered in the 1960s and 1970s. Order a car here. Arrange a vacation in Europe beginning at the factory. Pick up the car and then enjoy your travels thru Europe with it. When you are ready to return home, drop it at a pre-selected port city and the car will be shipped to your US dealer. You have saved the cost of renting a car whilst in Europe and you would pay lower taxes and duties because, after all, you are importing a used car.

[Source: New York Times]

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