The BMW European Delivery Program has for many years been my preferred choice to purchase a new bimmer. As someone who has twice picked-up his BMWs in Munich, I personally swear by the program and the lifetime experience that comes with it. For years, I have been a huge advocate of the program and kept saying that the ED program is one of the most hidden gems within the vast range of BMW offerings to its customers, and in my opinion, it’s the best way to be introduced to the brand.

In May 2011, a new European Delivery episode will begin for myself and BMWBLOG. The moment I set my eye on the new BMW 1M, I knew that the only way to fully enjoy my first M car was to fly to Munich and take delivery at the now iconic BMW Welt. In what I like to call the “perfect marriage,” the 1M European Delivery saga will take you through the entire experience, from ordering the car, to signing the paperwork, to picking up in Munich, driving across Europe, dropping off the car, tracking it across the ocean and awaiting delivery at JMK BMW in New Jersey.

But before we take you on our journey, we are going to share with you some of the key points associated with the ED program.

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What is European Delivery?

European Delivery is a program offered by BMW that allows you to pick up your new BMW in Munich, Germany at the BMW Welt. The Welt was opened in late 2007 and delivers anywhere between 230-250 vehicles a day. In my opinion, the biggest advantage of ED are the cost savings which in many cases can offset the cost of your trip. In general, the purchaser saves approximately 10 percent off of US MSRP. Furthermore, BMW of North America offers members of the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) a rebate on the purchase of a new or CPO vehicle after one year of continuous membership. The amount ranges from $500 to $1500 depending on the model

The second biggest advantage is the ability to drive YOUR own car on the Autobahn and experience Europe like never before.

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Here are some other key points:

  • A customer still places the order through a US BMW dealership. All vehicles are available in the ED program, excluding the ones built in Spartanburg – X3, X5 and X6.
  • You may stay with your car in Europe up to 5 months after delivery (there is a 19% penalty tax if your car is not exported within the 6-month period). If your BMW is financed through BMW Financial Services, the vehicle must be exported within 90 days. Cars leased through BMW Financial Services must be exported within 30 days.
  • Your new BMW is restricted to private use by tourists. Persons working in Europe on temporary or long-term assignments are not eligible for the special customs license plates issued under the European Delivery Program.
  • BMW pays your car insurance up to 2 weeks.
  • Anyone who is 18 or older can participate as long as they have a permanent residence in the U.S., a valid passport, a valid U.S. driver’s license and a social security number.
  • Shipping back to the U.S. is free. The approximate shipping time of your vehicle to the U.S. depends on the drop-off location and the U.S. destination port. The estimated shipping time of your vehicle to the East Coast is approximately 6-8 weeks and to the West Coast approximately 8-10 weeks. Vehicles shipments to Hawaii and Puerto Rico will take approximately 10 to 12 weeks. Vehicles dropped off outside of Germany may take an additional week. Upon arrival in the U.S., all vehicles require U.S. Customs and Department of Agriculture clearance.

Steps to accomplish before going to Munich.

  • Passports and Visa if needed. US citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, starting on first entry to a Schengen Agreement country. Visitors traveling on non-U.S. passports should check with the German authorities.
  • Payment has to be made prior to picking up the car in Munich. This applies for both financing, including lease, or cash payments. The transaction must occur through the dealer no later than 7 days before you collect the vehicle. (More on financing and leasing options in a future article)
  • Lufthansa has a 2 for 1 flight deal for BMW European Delivery customers. This two for one is based on their Q level pricing, but often customer found cheaper fares by using online booking services.

Picking up the car at the BMW Welt.

  • Get there at least 30 minutes prior to your pick-up.
  • Check-in at the Premium Lounge which offers some German delicatessen and drinks.
  • You will be handed out some important documents: International Car Registration booklet, insurance policy and Green Insurance Card, General Conditions of Insurance, information regarding Roadside Assistance, a copy of the Purchase Order you signed and Owners Manual.
  • The first step in the pick-up process is the Product Info Center where you will learn a little bit about the car design process with all its steps.
  • Next and most exciting part of your trip is seeing the car on a turntable waiting for you. Snap as many shots as you can now, this opportunity doesn’t come around often.

Drive away and enjoy Europe.

  • After a thorough presentation of your car by a BMW delivery specialist, you can drive off the Welt and in less than a mile, jump on the famous Autobahn.
  • Ahead of time, setup some itineraries with places you would like to see. Most popular ones among BMW fans are, of course, Nurburgring, then the Neuschwanstein castle or the Black Forest. The list can go on and on, but more on this in the upcoming weeks after we setup our own itinerary.

Drop off your BMW

  • You can drop-off your car at different European locations: Germany (Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Munich, Frankfurt, Sindelfingen), Austria (Vienna), France (Paris, Nice), Italy (for a fee, E.H. Harms will send a driver to return your car from a location in Italy to Munich for drop-off), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva)
  • Shipping back to the U.S. is free of charge.
  • Don’t forget to inspect your car prior to drop-off for any damages.
  • If you have done any driving on dirt roads, you MUST clean the wheel wells and undercarriage, otherwise customs will not clear your vehicle.
  • Get on the plane and come home, and become addicted to the tracking process, from vessel tracking to the truck going to your dealer. For those of you that “enjoy” the torture, we recommend our How-To: Follow a new BMW from Order, to Shipping and to Delivery.

If you are one of the few lucky ones that will pick up your BMW 1M through the European Delivery program, I hope this short guide comes in handy. Also, stay tuned for my own ED experience with the BMW 1M, from the moment I sign the paperwork to the delivery back in the United States, but more on this shortly.

Driving the Alps

[Source: Some info courtesy of Bimmerfest, BMWUSA and edbmw ]