European Delivery: A financial approach to your new luxury car.
By Lee E. Munson
If you have decided to spend that startling amount of money on a car, you may have to admit it’s not really an investment, but do we have to call it an expensive toy? No, not if we make the acquisition a memorable experience.
Picking up a new car in Germany comes with valuable features that don’t appear on the sticker. Aside from the fact that you don’t have to rent a car and pay for the insurance for your travels around Europe, you are going to get a factory tour and then drive away on the autobahn in your own car at and if you wish, a smooth but very exhilarating 150 mph. Imagine the pictures you will bring back. If all this sounds good remember that European delivery is really about one core idea, saving money! Should we expect anything less?
We already know that the best way to save money on any vehicle is to narrow the spread between the wholesale price the dealer pays and the MSRP. With premier makes like BMW, this can be difficult. Dealers have a set allotment and take part in a bonus pool based on a multitude of factors including how close to the MSRP they sell the cars. European delivery, however, is not included in this allocation bonus pool!
That gives us two distinct advantages coming from abroad. The wholesale price is several thousand dollars cheaper because the cars are not part of the bonus pool and dealers can negotiate down in price. Irv Robinson from Motor Werks was exceptional in helping me navigate the process.
There’s more! If you join the BMW CCA club at least one year before you travel to Europe for your car, the club’s European Delivery program will actually pay you between $500 and $1500 just for participating in the program. So join now.
Too good to be true? What’s the catch, airfare? Not so. There are even more savings, secondary to the actual purchase. Lufthansa provides a two- for-one round trip ticket option for travelers picking up a new car in Europe. You simply have to pay the tax on the second ticket and provide the car’s VIN number by the time you travel. When you get there, you have 14 days of insurance on the car at no cost (you can buy more time, but you must deliver the car for shipping within six months).
So, considering that you will spend at least $100 per day on a horribly inelegant economy box, this will save you over a thousand dollars. Hot, jet setter wheels, is prohibitive for the rational tourist and less than convenient. For the new car on the trip home, drop off is easy with over 20 locations in Europe. There are no extra fees or shipping charges, it just comes on the boat with the other new cars and arrives at the dealership you purchased it from in about six weeks. If you purchase it out of state, the dealer can arrange local transport. It may cost a little bit more, but is still worth it for the total amount of money you can save even if the local dealer does not want to negotiate.
Let’s recap the savings: lower base price, negotiation power, check from BMW CCA, half price airfare, no car rental fees, no insurance fees, and no econo-box nightmare without trunk space. Added up, it is a luxury experience that makes sense. I estimated that when all was said and done, European delivery made up for the first nine months of depreciation, or a free trip to Europe, depending on how you look at it. Financially, you are still spending an extravagant amount of money for “mere” transportation, or, if you see it that way, the world’s most fantastic driving experience, or for what some consider is essentially just a toy. What is wrong with that? Just make sure you gain some advantage when you splurge.
Oh, did I mention no speed limits on the Autobahn?
Lee Munson is the Chief Investment Officer of Portfolio, LLC. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife Alison. They are expecting their first child this year. He can be reached at email@example.com or through the firm's website at www.portfoliollc.com