It’s nearly impossible to drive five minutes in any direction in any part of the US without seeing a new BMW of some sort. BMW leases out 3 Series like they’re candy, so they’re everywhere. But BMW is doing some new stuff to manage those leased vehicles, especially after their leases are up.
In November and December of 2015, BMW got 20,000 lessees into new vehicles early by waiving the last two or three payments of their current lease and getting them into something new. Not only that, but the Bavarian brand has also introduced a new program that allows customers to lease Certified Pre-Owned BMWs. These two programs combined have been developed to help BMW manage its off-lease vehicles. The idea is to get current lessees out of their cars and into new ones and get new customers to lease those off-lease vehicles.
The reason for this new program is that there are a ton of off-lease vehicles, and they’re expected to grow 40 percent this year, and BMW needs to find something to do with them. “So, yes, there are a lot of used cars around, but it is the responsibility of the BMW organization to deal with those cars,” said Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America. BMW has its Certified Pre-Owned program and now its CPO leasing, which could be attractive to many new buyers. “The positive thing is these are customers who will not likely ride away on a bicycle. They will buy or lease a new car.”
BMW is also working with dealers online to move vehicles around to who needs them. This is because many dealers don’t need anymore off-lease or used cars on their lots anymore, as inventory might already be too high, so BMW will get those vehicles to dealers that could use them.
BMW has also even added a “Order Now” button to its BMWUSA website in the online builder. According to BMW, that button has already brought in over 200 customers while only being up for six weeks. The reason for the button is that, after a typical 12 hours of research, sometimes customer just want to make their purchase. According to Willisch, “eventually they want to sit on their sofa on a Sunday night to watch football and say, “I’m ready. I’m in the mood to buy that car. I’ll buy now.'”We’ve seen some stuff like this from BMW already, as it recently launched its new online buying program in the UK that’s already become quite successful.
So BMW is working hard to expand the buying experience for its customers and offer them more ways to buy a BMW. The more options and easier experience makes customers happier and more likely to return to the brand. BMW is also looking to make a more premium experience and wants to get away from a lot of the traditional dealership experience. With BMW continuing to be the number one selling luxury car maker in the world, it seems that it’s doing something right and isn’t looking to lose its lead.