An under-appreciated service of enthusiast engagement will end later this year when BMW shuts down its European delivery program, where U.S. customers could fly out and pick up their car at the company’s German museum. It seems that party is over.
If you want to buy a BMW and then fly to Europe to pick it up at the automaker’s funky Welt museum venue, make sure you get your order in soon because the chance to enter the program is coming to an end later this month.
Here’s more from BMW Blog:
BMW of North America says that May 18th, 2020 will be the last day they will accept pre-reservation forms. The last month you can choose to do a BMW European Delivery will be September 2020.
If you have placed a deposit for a 2021 model and would still like to take delivery within the timeframe stated, BMW will accept the pre reservation form without a production number. Once a production number is available BMW will assign accordingly. If you are scheduled for a European Delivery, you can still pick up your car through September 2020.
It seems there just isn’t enough interest for the automaker to keep doing it, which is really sad:
“After carefully evaluating the changing BMW U.S. customer preferences towards U.S.-built X vehicles and the declining interest in the European Delivery Program, BMW has made the decision to bring the European Delivery Program to a close in the Fall of 2020,” says a BMW Spokesperson in an email to BMWBLOG.
“While fewer customers have been taking advantage of driving their new BMW’s in Europe prior to having their cars shipped to the U.S., we have seen a marked increase in interest in the BMW Ultimate Delivery Experience at our Greenville-Spartanburg facility which is available for any production BMW vehicle, not just for those built in South Carolina.
Read: U.S. customers flock to crossovers, which BMW keeps increasing its offerings of, all of which it subsequently builds in the U.S. That kind of spoils the whole “take a trip to Europe to get your car” thing considering they’d have to ship both the customer and the car. Instead, Americans can go to South Carolina.
It seems the program may have peaked back in 2014, when the museum saw the delivery of over 22,000 cars to customers through the program. Back then, the company claimed the program was running between 80 and 160 car deliveries a day. That seems fairly substantial not too long ago, but it’s unclear how big the dip in interest has been.
This is still a confusing move to me, though. While I haven’t seen the overhead costs of such a program, it seems that the dwindling numbers of those who do still buy BMWs that can be picked up in Europe are more likely to be purchasing enthusiast vehicles they’ll actually want to turn into an entire experience. Why not keep it going for those who are more likely to appreciate it?
Then again, now is not really the time to be pushing for non-essential travel and big luxury purchases, so in that context, it makes sense to axe the program. And to be fair, BMW does have multiple performance experience centers in the U.S. with a huge range of track activities and driver training—they’re much, much better about it than almost any other automaker in that regard. So there’s still enthusiast options out there for BMW freaks.
But this is all definitely a metaphor for something bigger going on at BMW, it’s just almost too obvious to point out.