For some enthusiasts, BMW’s European Delivery Program represents the trip of a lifetime. Pick up your brand new, built-to-your-specification vehicle at the global epicenter for all things BMW—BMW Welt. Tour the factories, museum, and parts of the headquarters, see how it all comes together, and then spend a few weeks touring the European continent before you drop your new BMW off at one of the various port locations for shipment back home. It sounds like an expensive vacation, but when picking your BMW up at the source could actually save you a significant percentage off the MSRP, the numbers begin to make a bit more sense.
However, as BMW’s global decentralized production network continues to demonstrate its capabilities, interest in the European Delivery Program has declined. Instead of winging ones way to Germany, and spending a few weeks exploring the Tyrollean Alps and possibly the Côte d’Azur, more and more American BMW customers are settling on a happy medium called the BMW Ultimate Delivery Experience. You’ve heard of this one before. On the final few pages of the BMW configurator, you can select BMW Performance Center delivery, an option that’s available for all models, not just those manufactured at BMW’s largest production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The BMW Ultimate Delivery Experience isn’t merely an alternative to European Delivery, it actually offers a completely different adventure that many find just as rewarding as the trip to Europe, if not more so. What better way to become acquainted with the modern BMW lineup than to put an array of models through their paces in a track environment? Learn from professional driving instructors, and explore the limits of performance without risking your own vehicle, and then get acquainted with your new purchase the best way possible, by driving it home from South Carolina. You won’t be missing out on the other key elements of BMW’s European Delivery trip either, as the Ultimate Delivery Experience includes a tour of BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, and a visit to the onsite BMW Zentrum museum.
Official Statement from BMW:
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 U.S. market European Delivery Program to a close in the Fall of 2020.
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.
The BMW Ultimate Delivery Experience includes classroom and on-track car control instruction at the BMW Performance Center, a tour of Plant Spartanburg, a visit to the BMW Zentrum Museum and finally, a personalized vehicle handover of your new BMW followed by a drive home from the scenic Carolinas.
Will we miss the option of saving roughly 5% on MSRP while simultaneously using those savings as an excuse to tour Europe in a new BMW? Absolutely, there’s simply no substitute. If you can swing it, and make it happen before the program official ends this Fall, do it. On the same coin, however, with interest declining, we can certainly understand BMW shifting attention to where customers have shown interest, and a trip to either of BMW’s U.S. Performance Center locations is always memorable, whether or not you’re picking up a new BMW.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]