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BMW Pushes for More Built-To-Order Vehicles

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On: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 1:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW Pushes for More Built-To-Order Vehicles

BMW is working hard to overcome America’s instant gratification tendencies by encouraging buyers to purchase more built-to-order vehicles, saying that it is “worth the wait,"  BMW reports that consumers get higher satisfaction in the buyinbg process when they get to select  the exact features they want in a new custom ordered BMW.

Built-to-order vehicles help manufactures reduce their abundance of costly inventory, but they are not that popular in the U.S., Toyota states that Lexus sells only 2% of its total monthly inventory on pre-built custom orders.  But in Germany however, 50% of all the BMWs sold are customized with features such as moon roofs and iPod adaptors, interior and exterior custom colors and more.  According to Edmunds.com CEO, Jeremy Anwyl, “ordering has not been part of the car buying process in the U.S.” consumers are used to going into a dealership and driving away with a car. We tend to be very impulsive."

BMW has been exploring methods to bounce back in the U.S. market after deliveries in the country dropped 20% in 2009 when the recession hit the auto market. The economic slump led to Germany exceeding the U.S. as the company's largest market. BMW plans to take over the Lexus market for luxury cars in the United States in the future by offering some of the the most aggressive discounts in the crusade for market share. The German automaker’s incentives averaged over $4,000 in the first four months of 2010 compared with only $1,400 in discounts for Lexus.

BMW is adding some exclusive incentives, including leased-vehicles, for buyers who do choose to pre-order their custom models in order to overcome the reluctance that Americans have shown to built-to-order cars. BMW already offers individualized options, including; ceramic knobs for the air vents, iDrive entertainment system (which is a heads-up display, which exhibits information like the car’s speed onto the windshield), and gearshift paddles on the steering wheel for the 5-Series.

The world famous German luxury car maker is planning a new launch of the X3 Sport Utility Vehicle and BMW is planning to get dealers prepared to promote pre-ordering of models with custom features. Not only can built to order vehicles reduce manufacturers' costly overhead of inventory, BMW says that they increase the overall buyer satisfaction rate and custom cars can be ready for pick up in as little as 2 weeks. “When customers build the cars themselves, we find there’s less discounting, and that’s one of the biggest challenges this industry faces,” Brekus said.

If BMW really expects consumers in the U.S. to hop on board with pre-ordering their cars, they will probably need to address the problem of not discounting, after all, what red blooded American car buyer can feel right about walking away with a new automobile without having haggled a little over the price tag?


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