Despite the economic crisis we’re facing these days, BMW dealerships are committed to invest money in new facilities or modernization to existing ones. Since 2000, dealerships have invested $2.2 billion in their facilities. In a recent message, Jim O’Donnell, President of BMW of North America, that by the end of 2009, most of the 338 dealerships will have undergone modernization of facilities, an effort that will cost $300 million.
While many other carmakers are closing their dealerships across the country and in large numbers in some cases, I find it interesting that BMW franchises decided to go this route. I cannot help but to wonder if these money could be used towards improving their business operation or by finding new ways to reach out to their audience. I also believe that online advertising is not being used at its full potential by car dealerships and there is also very limited involvement in social media, most of the time, a free way to advertise services or products.
Here is the full press release:
Dealer investments continue to show strong pace. Since 2000, dealers have invested $2.2 billion to prepare for future growth of BMW in the U.S.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – April 17, 2009… BMW dealer investment for the future continues, even in the current economic climate. “Investments from our BMW dealers are proof of confidence in the future success of the BMW brand in the US,” Jim O’Donnell, President of BMW of North America, LLC, said. “Today, our network is one of the strongest in the country and we are all working closely together to extend our leading position in the future.”
O’Donnell delivered this message on the occasion of the Grand Opening of Rusnak BMW in Thousand Oaks, CA.
Over the last nine years, the BMW network has invested $2.2 billion as part of a comprehensive plan to develop the best facilities of any premium brand. The current $300 million investment continues this direction. By the end of 2009, most of the 338 dealerships will have undergone modernization of facilities. Other openings and expansions in 2009 include BMW Advantage (Houston, TX); Prestige BMW (Ramsey, NJ); JMK BMW (Springfield, NJ); Foreign Motors West (Boston, MA); and Bill Jacobs BMW (Chicago, IL).
In the current demanding and difficult automotive environment, BMW dealers have maintained their strong and stable franchises. “Our dealers have led the way with a stronger emphasis on the used car business and it has helped buffer the consequences of declining new car sales in the US,” said O’Donnell. “Early on, we and our dealers recognized this opportunity and the used car business has become an even more important part of our strategy for our US success.” O’Donnell also noted this action is bringing new and younger customers into the BMW family, even in the current economic climate.
In 2008, BMW sold more than 104,000 Certified Pre-Owned vehicles (16.4 percent more than 2007), making the brand the largest used vehicle operation within the premium segment and outselling its closest competitor by more than 60 percent. Results from the first quarter of 2009 indicate CPO sales are on track to increase an additional 15 percent for the full year.
Also important is top-of-industry customer retention through BMW’s Ultimate Service program that includes a 4-year / 50,000 mile vehicle maintenance plan with the purchase of any new BMW. As a result, through the first ownership period, 97 percent of BMW vehicles have all of their service performed at certified dealers, as opposed to the industry average of about 50 percent, helping to fully utilize BMW dealer service centers.