Skip to comments.Special Delivery (How To Buy a BMW in Germany)
Posted on 03/19/2007 4:05:56 AM PDT by FormerACLUmember
This wasnt the first time Id opted for European delivery. In fact, after counting all the license plates Id collected from these international adventures, I discovered I was on my eighth visit. Normally, when my wife learns I want to go to Stuttgart or Munich, she digs in her proverbial heels. So I had to package my automotive connection with a week in Paris. I made the arrangements to pick up a BMW 335 at the Munich factory. Heres how the deal went down
My local BMW dealer booked my order, and then faxed my specifications and delivery date to the Fatherland. After factory approval, I filled out some simple forms, made a copy of my passport and faxed ze paypaz to Germany. In exchange, I received a five percent discount off the U.S. list price (the dealer is free to discount further). Done.
European rental cars are dull and expensive; figure thats another $2k saved. Oh, and you also get to ignore the break in period and drive as fast as you dare on unrestricted segments of the Autobahn. As the MasterCard voice-over guys says, priceless.
As this was my fourth visit to BMWs Munich HQ in two years, the staff treated us like old friends (i.e. they treated us with a certain awkward formality that would have instantly disappeared whilst imbibing local beer in a neighborhood rathskeller). After signing the inevitable insurance form (the European delivery package includes two weeks of free insurance), my hosts demonstrated a raft of electronic features Ill never use, handed a picnic lunch and wished a safe journey.
Our first destination: the Rhine River, about 300 miles distant. As we were motoring during harvest time, I wanted to stop en route to let my wife could experience Federweisser. Thats the German wine made from the first press of the grapes (like Beaujolais but nowhere near as frivolously named), traditionally served with a kind of onion quiche.
We stopped at the first decent looking town along the Neckar river: Bad Wimpfen. Meine Deutsch was good enough to accomplish the task at hand. Our appetites sated, we spooled-up the twin turbos and headed to Stromberg for Johann Lafers reknowned kitchen.
Cruising at 110mph on the Autobahn, you soon realize why German car makers couldnt give a rats ass about cup holders. Whos got time for coffee when the slightest mistake would take a half mile to conclude.
We arrived just before dark, just in time to unclench my hands from the wheel and freshen up for dinner. Our room was in an old castle tower, three stories tall, on the hotels third floor. For those of you keeping track, the bedroom was five floors from the restaurant. Excessive consumption of wine was problematic. Fortunately, I was served the finest steak Ive ever eaten (from Austria, no less) and, um, rabbit.
The next day we crossed into Luxembourg. I was only able to average 24 mpg in Germany. Restricted to a maximum of 80mph, I achieved closer to 30 mpg. Good thing too, since fuel cost upwards of seven bucks a gallon.
I wanted to go to Luxembourg, if only because I dont know anyone whos been there. We enjoyed a world class museum designed by I.M. Pei (not I. R. Baboon) and flaming garlic shrimp (Portuguese style) from Chez Bacano. Our third day included a jaunt across Eastern France, with pit-stops at Nancy and Metz, before settling in for the night outside of Reims.
I enjoyed the three finest glasses of wine of the entire trip: a 1999 Deutz Blanc de Blancs Champagne, a 2003 Puligny Montrachet and a 1999 Phelan Segur Bordeaux. My wife, who does not drink, savored every last drop of the Bordeaux. Of course, three or more ducks relinquished their livers for our gluttonous gustatory satisfaction.
The next morning we drove to the Charles De Gaulle airport to drop off the 335 at the shipper: TT Car Transit (easily located by Terminal 3). Unfortunately, the gentleman who normally handles my paperwork was delayed in traffic. As I had a plane to catch, his assistant located the Main Man via cell. He talked all three of us through the procedure.
Six signatures later, I removed the front license plate as a memento of the experience, handed over one of the car keys and let the nice lads at TT whisk us off to my departure terminal. Six weeks later, I picked up my ride, safe and sound, at my local dealer.
If youre leasing your new Bimmer, you get one free month; so you pay for the car without possessing it for a couple of weeks. If you pay cash, payment in full is required 30 days prior to pick up. The warranty expires in four years, but the memories last forever.
I've always wanted to do this with a 2-wheeled Beemer. One of these days...
How do you "avoid the break-in period"? I thought that was like "avoiding" gravity.
Great story, except for all the whine references.
FYI...German car makers, about 10 years ago, effectively "buried" an insurance study which showed that Americans picking up cars in Germany ( and likely to head immediately for the Autobahn ) were some 400% MORE likely to have a serious accident...IOW..if you're NOT used to driving at 100+MPH...don't start doing so on a public highway..
But what about Global Warming??? How much do Germans layout for Carbon Offsets to cover their criminal behavior against the planet???.../s
We did this once. It made sense and we enjoyed the trip a thousand times more. I think the "break-in" period means kieeping it under 140 for the first 500 miles. The only downside was that the six weeks waiting for it to be delivered were a torture, and I found out the hard way that as a woman I was not allowed down on the docks to pick it up so there were some delays. This was from an old law that prevented hookers from going down to the docks to score longshoremen, but it's a law that does need to be updated because not everybody who buys a car abroad is a man.
That was being done 50 years ago with Mercedes. But you have to do it right. The car has to be built to US specs and, unless things have changed, has to be driven for so many miles to not be considered a new car. New cars pay import duties.
BMW = Big Mess of Wires
Smart man. One who truly understands the fundamentals of the game.
The author sounds like an uppity snob to me.
He does make it sound fun.
Well, I'll agree that the heating/air-conditioning fan unit is a POS.
why would anybody order a BMW with FOUR doors?
we call it something else
"That settles it. Next year, I am off to Deutschland for my new Beemer. The savings will pay for my vacation."
A "Beemer" is a motorcycle. Is that what you're getting? Or are you getting a "Bimmer" (car)?
"Great story, except for all the whine references."
My feeling, too.