An interesting report by Autoweek mentions that BMW is trying to convince its U.S. customers that they should start special orderings the second generation X3 with the options they crave rather than settling for whatever models are available on the dealership’s lot.
Custom orders are quite popular in Europe where about half of all BMWs are spec’d up before being delivered to the buyer. Some of these deliveries take place at the local dealership or for an extra-fee for European customers, at the BMW Welt in Munich.
At the same time, in Europe, BMW has been promoting its Individual Program which allows customers to pick and choose the colors and materials in their vehicles.
BMW wants its U.S. dealers on board to help promote options on built-to-order models. Built-to-order vehicles, which can help manufacturers keep inventories lower and aren’t discounted as much, are rare in the United States. For example, Lexus says 2 percent of its deliveries are pre-ordered, according to Automotive News. At the same time, BMW dealerships could manage to keep a lower lot inventory and less cash tied to their vehicles.
With the second generation BMW X3 moving its production from Austria to the South Carolina plant, build-to-order becomes a viable option, especially since delivery times are drastically reduced.