Preparing for Delivery Day
Immediately after you order your European Delivery BMW you will discover a tear in the local space-time continuum. Suddenly Germany will seem much closer and you will find yourself remembering your high school German, or making it up. At the same time your calendar will develop a very obvious fault: it will slow down to a crawl or sometimes even stop.
Between repeatedly calculating how many days to go until you collect your car there are some important tasks to accomplish. You will find that those tasks dominate your thoughts.
The following tasks are critical. They will be helpful in ensuring everything goes smoothly at your delivery at the BMW Welt.
Get your Production Number from your CA
Your CA should get a confirmation back that shows the production number for your vehicle. This is not the VIN, but is an assigned asset number from BMW and can be used to track your order with BMW if necessary.
Register your production number on BMW USA
Having the production number makes you an "owner" already. You can register on the BMW site and then add your new vehicle. This may be done approximately 1 week before production is scheduled (call BMWUSA and ask for production date) and it may take up to 48 hours before the BMW site is able to accept your new production number. The main reason to do this is to verify that what BMW shows online matches what you believe you have ordered. If it does not, do not expect that it will get fixed. Contact your CA and fix the problem now.
Passports and Visa
Make sure your passport has an expiration at least 3 months past your expected entry date into Germany. In common with all European counties Germany requires a valid passport for all visitors, including infants and children. Passports are further required to have a further three months validity beyond the date when your travel plans indicate you are leaving the country.
US citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, starting on first entry to a Schengen Agreement country. Visitors travelling on non-U.S. passports should check with the German authorities.
If your passport will expire soon, there is time to fix it, but do it now!
The US Department of State accepts home produced digital photography prints provided they meet certain easy to achieve criteria. A modern passport is produced by scanning the photographs provided and directly printing it to the identity page. As a result, requirments for ink and chemical stability have been relaxed. See the US Department of State's Photo Quality Requirements and other guidelines on their passport pages.
Confirm the time and date of your delivery
Plan your flight and book hotel rooms
In prior years, Lufthansa had a 2 for 1 flight deal for BMW European Delivery customers. This two for one is based on their Q level pricing and not necessarily the lowest internet pricing. Call their office which specializes in this 2 for 1 program at 888.552.4508 during normal business hours (east coast time). It should be noted that you must pay all taxes and fees associated with this 'free' ticket and so oftentimes you can find a better discounted fare online.
As of July 2012, the 2 for 1 flight deal is no longer in effect. Lufthansa now offers a 5-15% discount based on various fare codes. The office at 888.552.4508 will be able to provide you pricing information. Flights will need to be paid for within 3 business days, as opposed to the old policy of paying when you get a production number.
The Purchase Order, which contains the critical Power of Attorney document, has to be received by BMW of North America in New Jersey, signed, 30 days prior to delivery. Notarization is no longer required, however your signature on the Power of Attorney document MUST exactly match the signature on your passport!
A copy of your current passport has to accompany the P.O.
Wait for your VIN
The VIN should appear about two weeks before production. It will not be possible to finance the car prior to receiving the VIN.
Once you've got it, immediately triple check the details listed on the owner's account on the BMW Web site, especially if you asked for any changes while waiting for the VIN.
Pay for your car
Not surprisingly, before you collect your car from BMW Welt and drive away, BMW requires payment for the vehicle. That payment comes from either yourself if you are just buying the car or BMW's Financial Services if you are either leasing or financing the car with BMW FS. This final pre-delivery transaction must occur through the dealer no later than 7 days before you collect the vehicle. If you purchase or lease the car through BMW FS, you can use the car in Europe for a maximum of 90 days.
The simplest method with few complications except gathering together the money. It is fundamentally no different than buying a car with cash at a dealership or through a dealer order. Some dealers will request a modest deposit ($500 or $1000) when you place the initial order, with the remaining payment due 7 days before pickup. Often the deposit is simply a credit card slip that won't actually be charged, just held.
BMW's Financial Services (BMWFS) allow you to lock the financing rate in advance of your financing event. For West Coast dealerships the lock period is 90-days. (East Coast dealerships may enjoy a different lock period. Official statements of the 90-day period have often been qualified to the effect that this applies to the West Coast). This means that no earlier than the start of the lock period, counting back from the date of your final pre-delivery paperwork with the dealership, you are able to secure the financing rate against subsequent changes. Other offers, such as BMWFS making the first two payments for 'free', have no lock period and must be in effect when you finance the car. You will need your VIN for financing and this is usually the critical factor in choosing your financing date and thus deciding eligibility for certain offers beyond financing rates.
In recent times BMWFS makes offers which run to the end of the current or coming month, and of course never publicize in advance what terms or offers might be available in subsequent months. However, it is possible to re-lock before final paperwork is completed if you prefer new financing terms which come into effect during the lock period.
BMWFS operate independently of the two pertinent sales operations in the US - regular dealer sales and European Delivery sales - and work for the BMW 'mother ship' to promote and encourage movement of cars through the manufacturing divisions. This means that unless specifically excepted any special offer advertised by BMWFS is also available to European Delivery customers.
Very few banks will be willing to work with you to finance your European Delivery as it does not fit in their typical loan definition. The biggest potential pitfall here is that most banks would like to have the title in hand within about 3 months. As you are required to pay for your car 7 days prior to pick-up and it takes another 6-8 weeks to get back to you, it is quite possible that the bank will not receive the title quick enough. This is not the only problem but is probably the most common. There are a number of people that have paid for their car through a source other than BMW FS but it is suggested that you fully explain the situation with the bank to avoid any additional problems.
A common solution for European Delivery pick-ups is to initially finance through BMW FS to avoid any potential problems and simply re-finance the loan from a local bank or credit union when you take re-delivery. Most credit unions and some banks allow you to re-finance within a short period of time and still receive their "new car" loan rates. The Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers great rates to federal and non-federal employees and they will finance a Euro Delivery BMW.
Leasing and European Delivery
When you finance your lease through BMW Financial Services, you make the first month's payment and BMW makes the second payment as your car will most likely be on the boat during the second month. See the Supplement to Lease that applies to ED leases here The money factor is increased by 0.0003 for ED leases. The residual is calculated using US MSRP, not ED MSRP, which makes a huge difference in the monthly payments. It is not uncommon for a dealer to attempt to base the residual value on ED MSRP. This is wrong. As of August 11, 2010, the Acquisition Fee is $725. Dealers are permitted to charge up to $925, however this can often be negotiated back down to $725. Often the lease can be negotiated at the BMW Buy Rate without dealer mark-up.
Leases should be signed a minimum of seven (7) days prior to the delivery date in Munich, effective October 10, 2007. BMW Dealers routinely ask for payment 4 weeks or more in advance to build in extra profit. However this can easily be negotiated down 7 days. Because of BMW's new "just in time" vehicle manufacturing process, vehicles are no longer manufactured 30 days prior to delivery but ca. two weeks prior. The VIN will not be available until the car is in production; therefore lease paperwork cannot be prepared too far in advance. This policy went into effect in October 2007. Dealers may ask for you to sign well in advance of the seven days which translates to paying for additional lease payments without having use of the car.
For some models, BMW may offer an Owner Loyalty Program which further reduces the BMW Buy Rate. Occassionally BMW offers a Pull Ahead Program for existing BMW FS Customers.
Leasing math is quite abstruse and is infrequently checked by the consumer. It is important to do your homework by researching the pricing and plugging in those numbers into a software program, such as Lease Wizard. On-line leasing programs, such as Edmunds.com, are a poor substitute. It is not uncommon for a dealer to make errors in the lease math. If your monthly payment does not match their number exactly, it is always best to pull back and identify the discrepancy.
BMW Car Club of America Member Reward
BMW of North America offers BMW CCA members a $500 to $1500 Member Reward rebate (amount varies by model selected) in conjunction with the purchase of a new BMW. Eligibility starts after you have been a member for the prior 12 months. European Delivery cars are included in this program. The definitive statement of the rules for eligibility and deadlines is at the BMW CCA website. The Member Reward program rules are summarized in the "Getting your BMW Back to the US" section of the Wiki, but you should rely on the BMW CCA for the exact rules.
The following tasks are important inasmuch that failure to complete one or more of these tasks could lead to disappointment and mar your European Delivery experience.
International Driving Permit
Austria is the only country covered by BMW's European Delivery auto insurance which requires certified translation of your U.S. driver's license. This requirement can be met by acquiring an International Driving Permit, IDP. Other countries suggest or recommend that one be carried.
An IDP is evidence that on the date of its issue you had a driver licence in your own country, and presents that evidence in multiple languages to assist local authorities who may not be able to read or understand the language of the original driver license. It is not a driver license in its own right and must always be carried and presented with the driver license used.
The U.S. Department of State has authorized only the American Automobile Association andThe National Automobile Club to issue International Driving Permits. They do so for a small fee: $15 plus any postage and handling if requested by mail. Membership is not required. Beware of other sources.
A post-dated IDP may be obtained but no more than 6 months before the requested effective date. An IDP remains valid for three years, or until the stated expiration date (normally 1 year), or the expiration of the original driver license (whichever is sooner). Applicants must be at least 18 years old, possess a current driver license, and provide two passport style photographs. Prints of digital photographs are accepted provided that they conform to the same standards now accepted for passports.
Emergency Road Service
Although you receive Roadside Assistance from BMW during your trip, it may be helpful to know that the AAA has a reciprocal agreement with the ADAC (http://www.adac.de) in Germany. You get free emergency road service, travel planning, and maps with your AAA membership. You can use the call boxes on the highways and ask for ADAC Service. You can also call 22 22 22 from your cell phone. Call ADAC at +49 (089) 76 76 0 for information. AAA also has reciprocal agreements with many other service organizations in other countries. See the AAA Web page (http://www.aaapublicaffairs.com/main/Default.asp?CategoryID=6&SubCategoryID=17) for details.
Alert Bank and Credit Card Provider(s)
It is a good idea to tell your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling in Europe so they do not suspect fraudulent use. Take this time to ask what their currency conversion fee is. Visa/Mastercard charge banks a 1% rate, but your lender may add on top of this, so a typical fee may be 3%. CapitalOne is an exception to this; they waive the Visa surcharge.
Collect your iPod Cable (if appropriate)
When you visit your dealer to pay for your car don't forget to collect the special iPod cable you'll need if you have specified the iPod integration option on your car. You will not receive one at BMW Welt.
Entertainment and Time-Saving Tasks
These tasks are the icing on the cake. They will make your pick up at BMW Welt more enjoyable or improve your experience of European Delivery. Many are entertaining in themselves.
Useful information for first-time visitors to Germany and/or Europe
Useful starting points for someone with no (or almost no) knowledge about Germany:
"Germany is a modern and stable democracy. Tourist facilities are highly developed. In larger towns, many people can communicate in English. You can obtain additional information by reading Department of State’s Background Notes on Germany."
"If you would like more specific information on travel within Germany, contact the German National Tourist Board Office in New York at (212) 661-7200, fax (212) 661-7174. "
AAA no longer offers any free maps or publications for European travel.
Go to the German Tourist Office website and send in for some of their brochures and maps. (Some are available for download.) Particularly useful is the package "Welcome to Destination Germany". (It is item # 100100481.) There are also regional brochures, etc.
Beenthere recommends this web site on Car Tourism in Germany, which has a number of useful links.
Get some additional information on Munich or Southern Bavaria, either via a guidebook or on the web.
For obtaining local currency (Euros), your best bet is to use an ATM when you arrive, instead of a currency exchange kiosk. It is not as common for European banks to charge usage fees, but check with your bank for their rates. Bank of America* and Wells Fargo charge $5 per international ATM transaction, while other banks charge none. (Note: Bank of America does not charge the ATM fee at "ATM Global Alliance" banks (i.e., Deutsche Bank in Germany (but not in Italy), BNP Paribas in France, Barclays in UK).) Most U.S. banks charge a 1% to 3% currency conversion fee, which is still less than airport kiosks (which are in the 5% range). This currency conversion fee is also common for credit cards. Knowing your fee schedule helps decide if you should take a large sum all at once, or use the card throughout your trip.
Planning your trip
Google Maps; TripIt.com; new Wiki article on tried-and-tested hotels, best methods
There is a restriction on the countries that you can drive your Euro-delivered BMW: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway (Non EU but recognizes tourist license plates), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (Non EU but recognizes tourist licence plates). Source: bmwusa.com -> European Delivery -> FAQ country restrictions
This feature has been removed from USA specification cars.
Cars equipped with the 4th generation iDrive system (Only one cd/dvd slot) utilize a hard drive for storage of the map data, and they will be loaded with the EU maps from the factory. There are no BMWs currently being delivered with the CD or DVD-based nav ssyems, so the disc loaner program has been dropped.
Beewang does provide a Portable Navigation and Nuvi SD card Rental Program. See this sticky.
Prepare your iPod Playlists
Discuss limitations of iDrive Music navigation and best-known-methods for optimizing playslists.
What to pack
- Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program PASSID (if you registered)
- Driver's License
- International Driver's License
- Credit cards (Amex, Mastercard and/or Visa). Take more than one and store them separately. Tell them you will be traveling to Europe.
- Printed BMW Purchase Order
- Printed email of appointment time
- Printed hotel confirmations
- Maps and directions as a backup to GPS
- Printed multilingual request to leave Zoll plates in the trunk
- Reflective safety vests (can also be purchased at Welt Store, ADAC, and at fuel stations in Germany and Austria)
- Tire gauge (the Owner's Manual recommends higher tire pressure for speeds over 100 mph / 160 kph on the Autobahn)
- iPod Cables from dealer if you ordered 6FL (May not be necessary with builds after late 2010)
- iPod (charged) and charger
- GSM phone (charged) and charger, with international roaming and calling enabled
- Sun Glasses
- Shaver/toothbrush and chargers, check the voltage capability
- 220VAC adapters
- Camera (charged) and charger
- iPad/Kindle/Nook (charged) and charger
- Medication and vitamins (It is recommended that you separately carry a list of any required medications--with both brand and generic names as well as dosages--in case you need to get a prescription refilled or replaced while traveling. This thread relates a recent successful experience in Slovenia.)
- 90 days out -- place your order with CA. Some have been able to order +60
- 90 - 30 days
- Get the verification which will include the production number for your car from your CA and join BMW site as an "owner"
- hyper-research everything
- Obsess over colors
- Drive significant other and family to cut you off from communications
- Post often asked questions to the ED forums and time how long between your post and JSpira's reminder to read the wiki ... it's a fun game
- 35ish days out
- Purchase order and power of attorney needs to be AT ED in New Jersey by 30 days out. Do NOT let this slip.
- You will sign your purchase order and a power of attorney which enables BMW to register your car in your name. Your CA will want copies of your passport, driver's license and proof of insurance; although, it's not clear why they would need more than your passport.
- 31 days out
- if you do not have a confirmation email from BMW ED (firstname.lastname@example.org) with production number, call your CA and the ED center
- Phone: 800-932-0831
- E-mail: email@example.com
- They are very helpful, but only use the contact info when necessary. Your CA is first point of contact.
- verify that what you think you ordered is reflected in "Track your BMW"
- if you do not have a confirmation email from BMW ED (firstname.lastname@example.org) with production number, call your CA and the ED center
- 2 weeks out
- VIN number assigned
- There have been reports of earlier assignments ... this is likely a matter of "they ordered exactly the same as a car made and canceled or not-allocated"
- According to BMWNA the VIN number is part of the production process and means that car will be complete in the next two weeks. For most orders they are working on JIT (just in time) prep of your vehicle to limit storage costs
- Head to CA to finish financing
- Do not wait until a few days before the trip. A couple of days of extra payment is not worth the proper paperwork failing to get back and forth before you leave.
- VIN number assigned
- 10-5 days out
- Production starts -- watch "Track your BMW" every 10 minutes, just in case something changes :)
- Visit dealership and test fit luggage in the same model car. It is a good idea to have everything in the trunk and nothing visible in the car when it is parked.
- 3-1 days out
- Get on the airplane -- leave luggage, computer, spouse behind if necessary -- do NOT keep das Auto waiting
- Try to enjoy Munich while throwing glances toward der Welt, knowing das Auto is there
- 1 day out
- Visit your favorite German beer hall and drive the locals nuts trying to speak German while intoxicated
- 0 days out
- Arrive at der Welt
- Take lots of pictures
- Drive away happy
- Post update to bimmerfest forums within 12 hours or suffer the consequences
- up to 14 days after
- Get das Auto to LOGINOUT at the Munich Airport for return shipping
- Travel home. Try to limit the crying sessions - it makes airline employees nervous to see adults weeping and hugging pictures of cars.
- Renew your hyper-research skills while finding any available tracking device to follow the boat das Auto is on
- 6 - 10 weeks after
- Head to dealer to pick up das Auto
- Pose like a rockstar for photos they can show other clients
- Earn your first speeding ticket for forgetting you're in der USA and going 110 MPH on the highway.
- You can try to tell the cop you thought the speedo was in KM/H.
- See if they'll pose for a picture. Good memories for the scrapbook
- 6 months after
- Start planning next year's ED trip