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BMW 5-Series Sedans

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  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Sorry to hear of the end result. If it's any consolation, the clutch on my former '98 Passat 1.8T burned out by 29k miles (I chipped the engine, so I didn't even try to blame VW). And a new clutch there was about $1250.

    Your observation about the tension between the car's supreme driving dynamics and the often sub-par customer support network has echoed for years. It really is a shame, since anecdotally you always hear about how wonderful Lexus and Mercedes-Benz dealers (and national office support) are. It seems the only time BMW NA really responds is in widescale egregious and shameful gaffes, like the M3 engine fiasco. When you have many people bad-mouthing the company (who were right on, in my opinion, in light of BMW's arrogance), they eventually cave. Remember the guy who registered and publicized www.donotbuyabmw.com? Some of the stories there were either fake or submitted by complete morons, but BMW NA finally gave him a brand new M3 (in exchange for the site and his problematic M3) to shut him up.

    Anyway, have fun going at it with the surveys, but you'd probably be better served directing your frustration with BMW NA, not your dealer. It might be worthwhile writing BMW NA a formal complaint letter about the whole ordeal, pointing out you've lost faith and now cannot recommend BMW's to your friends. It just may fall on a sympathetic ear.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I recently read an extensive article about the Mercedes Maybach, and my jaw remained firmly dropped throughout most of story. Aside from all the luxury, technological, and mechanical marvels you could ever imagine, it also discussed the customer service program.

    Of course, ordering the "car" is more akin to commissioning a painting. But Mercedes smartly places even more emphasis on post-delivery customer care. Highly trained and capable "Personal Liaison Managers" are each responsible for a handful of Maybach owners. When an owner needs ANYTHING related to the car (oil change, feature upgrade, or just know how to stack a dozen grey poupons in the mini fridge), there's a button in the car which calls him directly, 24x7. And, if heaven forbid, the beast breaks down, Maybach will immediately deploy a closed-container tow truck and a specially-trained technician to oversee the repairs, even if he has to fly there. And the owner gets trip interruption services and accomodations, some lowly backup car like an S500, and the Liaison's deepest apologies.

    I guess that's what a $350k car will get you.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    riez,

    You don't want to know what my hourly rate is for doing something that is "work". I happily pay my company attorneys $350/hr to cover some of those items. I guess I just don't consider a hop over to Europe to pick up a BMW and have a Heinekin or two with the Motorsport guys that much work. On the other hand, if you only discount your time at $30/hour, you probably should be looking at ED for your next BMW, even if it is painful "work". You should also pay shipo about $60 for his detailed analysis in response to your request for more than anectdotal evidence. I didn't keep as detailed records from my 1999 trip.

    The bottom line of this is simple, if you (or others) don't think the "hassles" of getting a passport, etc. are worth the savings, that's fine. But you should refrain from suggesting to others that it isn't a great deal. Not only was my assistant able to upgrade from a 330i to a 530i for nearly the same price by going ED, she brought back some great photos and memories that she will enjoy for many years to come.

    SergeyM,

    I don't see anywhere in the above posts in which it was suggested that you could get a 540i 6-speed for $35k. Re-read.

    Shipo,

    Excellent accounting. I wish my CFO was as meticulous. Oops, I am the interim CFO. Want a job?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    epn2... I would suggest that it is you and some others who are the ED fanatics, making it seem as if those of us who don't do ED are out of our minds. Using your own words, you should refrain from suggesting to others that it is such a good deal.

    shipo... Again, you don't account for all expenses nor describe the amount of time it takes to do the negotiating with the dealer, trip planning, getting passports, exchanging currency, waiting in airports, meals & miscellaneous expenses, etc. (After your whirlwind little trip, think I'd need a couple days to recover from the jet lag, waiting in airports, and, in some cases, discomfort of cramped flying.) As for your price, was your dealer willing to negotiate ED list price down? Not all dealers will do that. Certainly not out here in the sticks where there aren't that many BMW dealers.

    ED may or may not be such a good deal. Depends on each person's circumstances. Depends on all costs. Depends on time factors. Depends on hassle factors. There is no one right or wrong answer.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    epn2... I was trying to be conservative. You are right, a more accurate discount rate might include benefit costs and all taxes. My $30/hr figure excluded benefits (add another 40%) and was done after all taxes (add another 44% for federal & state income taxes and social security & medicare taxes). So that $30/hr might actually be closer to $55/hr ($30 plus $12 plus $13). [But doing that bolsters my position on the opportunity cost of ED.]
  • Yesterday I had the dealer perform the ECU software upgrade. Have I noticed a difference since the upgrade? Yes, but only a minor change in the throttle response (for the better). My car was built in December 01. Not sure what software version I had nor what version I now have. My dealer, being Tulley BMW, performed this service, at no cost. I must comment that their service department has been excellent for the times that I have used them. I also took a chance and had them switch my winter tires for the summer/all season ones. It is nice to have my handling back. That is as along as it doesn’t snow again.

    I have made the statement before that I regret not specifying my car to have the Sport Pkg and 5-speed. While it is still a great car, it could have been better. Anyway the dealer had a 03 525i Sterling Gray/Black with Sport & 5-speed on their showroom floor. Except that I have the 530i it was my exact car. Hmm, what could have been?

    Chris M
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 262
    Sorry, my mistake.
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    Thanks for the responses. For reasons of family harmony I probably won't pursue the matter. But I'd like to respond to some of the specifics:

    epn -- Your 30% differential between a new 540i6 and the '00 I drove is spot on, assuming similar equipment and a $1,500 dealer profit (but not trip costs). That said, the $52,335 for the ED vehicle, bargain that it may be, is well beyond the realm of possibility. I'm curious about your misgivings regarding a "high performance, manual transmission car." I thought it was the BMW automatics that run the risk of failure above 100K miles. With a stick, under normal use you may replace a clutch once (pen101's screwing by BMWUSA notwithstanding), and that's about it.

    riez -- Though a well-equipped 525i obtained via ED might be comparably priced, I'm not interested. Even with a stick, I would want more engine. I find even the 530i/Step combo to be wanting at times. As for ED, it seems that your main objections fall into the "time-is-money" category. If you're an entrepeneur or a commissioned salesman, where no work = no income, then the opportunity costs of a trip to Europe are indeed steep. For a salaryman like me who accrues vacation time (in fact, I have to forfeit unused hours above a certain cap), however, the only expenses that count are out-of-pocket, netted against costs such as meals that would be incurred at some level anyway. Assuming habitat's employee truly paid no more than $875 total for her trip, her cost was still $1,900 less than for a stateside deal at a similar $1,400 markup. And I'm not so jaded that I wouldn't consider even a short visit to Munich a plus, even given the hassles of travel nowadays.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    The "gross" savings of ED are real and anyone can do that math. But I will concede that, depending upon your situation and perspective, there may be some actual and imputed costs that will result in differences in our respective "net" savings.

    You seem to want to subtract every conceivable minute of your time including a "recovery" period from the trip. And I don't fault you for looking at it that way, if for you, this would all be a significant no-enjoyment hassle. I racked up 750,000 United frequent flier miles back in 1988-1995, so I'm used to exchanging currency and getting my passport stamped. On the other hand, if I had to use time off from work that would infinge upon my ability to take a separate vacation with my wife and kids, I wouldn't do ED either.

    It reminds me of the golf analogy: First question, What would someone have to pay you to carry a 40lb bag 5+ miles over 5+ hours on a hot summer day? Second question: How much would you pay to play Augusta National just once, even if it meant carrying your own bag in 90 degree weather?

    P.S. The most convenient BMW dealer to me is notoriously very difficult to negotiate with on any car in high demand. I know of several people who have come away exhausted and / or empty handed when the 530i was a hot ticket. Even though they sell in excess of 1,500 BMW's a year, they wanted to maximize profit on their precious US delivery allocation. But as soon as I contacted their ED specialist with the $1,300 over ED invoice deal I could get elsewhere, his response was "no problem, we'll match it." It doesn't come out of their US allocation, but does count towards their sales bonuses. So, in my case, the dealer negotiations would be a lot cleaner and easier going the ED route.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Regarding negotiations with the dealer:

    I got on the BMWUSA web site, obtained the name and phone number of the four closest dealers (all within 15 miles), that took 10 minutes, tops. I then called the first dealer, got a salesman on the phone and said, "Will you sell me a 530i via the BMW European Delivery Program for $1,500 over ED Invoice?"

    His response was, "Hmmm, we don't usually do that kind of deal. Can I call you back in 10 minutes?"

    "Yes, my phone number is..."

    Eight minutes later, he called me back and asked me, "If I agree to this deal, are you ready to buy right now?"

    "If you agree, I will be there in less than an hour to sign the paperwork and pay you a deposit."

    The entire transaction was over in less than two hours from the time when I first looked up the list of the dealerships.

    Trip Planning:

    In my case, this is less of an issue as we were going to Europe anyway; however, using Expedia.com, it took me about 20 minutes to make the plane reservations R/T to Munich and the hotel reservations in Paris. As we were going in April, I didn't figure on having too much of a problem finding hotel rooms while we were touring, and I didn't.

    Passports:

    I do not count this as a valid expense. Passports are good for 10 years, and can be renewed by mail. A new Passport costs $85 (regardless of whether it is a new issue or a renewal) to process. In addition, you need two "Passport Photographs" of yourself, so when I include my time to have the pictures taken, the time to print out the application (http://travel.state.gov/DS-0011.pdf), fill it out, lick the envelope, stamp it and mail it, we are still talking less than $200, which works out to $20 per year. Given that I used my Passport twice last year, the cost that can be allocated for my ED trip is $10.

    Miscellaneous Expenses:

    IMHO, expenses for meals and such are not valid as one must eat anyway, that and you are fed two meals (dinner and breakfast over, and lunch and a snack on the way back) each way. In Europe many hotels include a breakfast or offer one for a very nominal charge (the Hotel Uhland is no exception). Basically that means that you need to provide for your own dinner Friday and Saturday nights and you Lunch on Saturday, everything else is covered. Once again, you will need to eat anyway, will it cost you more to eat in Munich than here in the States? Probably not by much, if at all.

    Exchanging Currency:

    We now live in the era of the ATM, I haven't "Exchanged Currency" since 1991. These days, you simply walk up to the nearest ATM, stick in your card, and out pops local currency, debited directly to your account, and with no "Exchange Fees" associated, you get the EXACT prevailing exchange rate.

    Waiting around in airports:

    Hmmm, nobody can "Bill" all of the time, we all need some "Down time". I use airport and airplane time as the time to catch up on reading the latest Tom Clancy or Nelson Demille. Maybe I'm just wierd, however I actually look foreward to this time just so that I can relax. Needless to say, in my mind, this is "No Charge".

    Final Thoughts:

    Riez, you must understand, you and I sing from the same page of the BMW Hymnal on most things BMW. I know that I can count on you being my "Loyal Opposition" regarding the ED thing, as you can count upon me being the same for you. In the end, we are both right, it just depends upon what one's priorities are. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • jeffryjeffry Posts: 36
    Shipo, Thanks for the great euro summary. One Q: I'm remembering from a local dealer (?) that when leasing a euro delivery car one must pay one pmt when ordering it & another pmt before picking it up, to cover cost while using it in Europe & shipping back. Thus 2 pmt before getting it here. Did I misunderstand something or was that a crafty tactic on the salesman's part to get me to buy out of his inventory?? What he said sounds like a rip off.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    According to my salesman: Not only do ED cars not come out of the dealership allocations, and not only do they count toward bonuses and commisions, they also count in the calculations for what the dealership gets allocated in future years.

    It is certainly in a dealerships' best interest to sell as many ED cars as possible, even at a minimal profit.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Jeffry,

    Hmmm, I am fairly certain that my lease initiation date is exactly one month prior to the delivery date of my car in Munich. Essentially, that means that you do have to make two payments prior to delivery, however, starting with the second payment, the car is technically in your possession.

    Reiz,

    I forgot to include Insurance in my ED discussions. You do not need to insure you car until you take delivery of it here in the States. While in Europe and on the water, BMW covers the insurance for you.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    My comment regarding "high performance, manual transmission cars" was relative.

    Given my druthers, I would rather break in any new car myself. But given that the 540i 6-speed appeals to the more enthusiastic driver, there is a slightly higher probabilty of abuse or less careful break-in than with, say, an E300 diesel. That's why I would be particularly prudent about checking the ownership and service history of a 540i 6-speed. Fortunately, it's sheer cost rules out most of the Mustang / Camaro drag racing set.

    I would also be wary of short term leases. When I bought my 540i in 1999, I fully intended to keep it a long time and took care of it accordingly. Someone who acquires a 540i 6-speed on a 3-year lease has little incentive to be as careful as I was. You know, the owners vs. renters issue in real estate.
  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    My 2 cents worth. I wanted to buy ED back in December, 2001, but did not.

    First, it was right after 9/11 and my wife did not want me to fly unnecessarily (she has since mellowed but is still against it). Second, the delay between ordering and delivery in US (California) was close to 3 months and since I was leasing, over $1,600 was lost to lease payments without the car in my garage. Third, my car at the time needed expensive repairs to stay drivable and I could not wait the three months until delivery of the BMW.

    These personal factors (other than the lost lease payment issue) were not considered by shipo and other posts on the subject.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    First, this topic should probably be in the ED message board. But my name is not Pat, so I did not say that.

    Like was previously said, the situation will determine the cost. Most of my ED costs involved travel.

    I did not haggle much. I contacted (emailed) 7 dealers in Texas and let them call me. I was already willing to pay the ED MSRP because it was lower than the regular MSRP. Only two dealers offered a discount. I coersed the closest dealer into a price cut. Filled out the paper work. Made final changes over the phone. Paid deposit over the phone. Did not dealer with the dealer until I came home. in real time, I probably spent a day.

    I go home to England every other year. So the plane tickets would have been purchased. I have the expense of buying gifts for my father, stepmother, nieces and cousins. These expenses would have been made without a BMW.

    Travel costs for me involved one plane ticket from Houston to MUC via LGW. Buy gifts at MUC. U-Bahn and S-Bahn to Delivery Center. Eat the food at the delivery center. Pickup the car. Drive from Munich to Spangdahlem (one gas stop). My brother paid for dinner. No hotel costs for three days. Paid for lunch for my nieces twice. Split the cost of meals out with my brother. Leave Spangdahlem and drive to Zeebrugge with my brother. I paid the ferry cost for my brother and I (about $112). Bought breakfast on the ferry. Got to Dover and drove to Ipswich. Toll tunnel cost and gas stop. Got to Ipswich, my family had plenty of food (again no cost). Stayed three days, bought gifts.

    Had to pickup my wife at Gatwick, because she did not fly to MUC with me. Drove to my father's house. More food, no cost. From this point until I returned to the States, I bought three more meals. My gas expense was high, but it was no higher than the last time that I went home and had to rent two cars and travel with the rest of my clan.

    If I had my own business or went to Germany just to pick up a car, I probably would not do it. Unless, I could get a business expense out of it.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    You are correct; I did neglect to take into account the three weeks of wait between dropping my car off in Munich and picking it up again in New Jersey. I also failed to mention that that delay for the west coast is more like eight to ten weeks. Then again, I did say that depending upon an individual’s perspective; ED may or may not be a good deal. For those of us on the east coast (with numerous dealerships willing to deal, shorter flight durations and shorter transit time durations), it is pretty much a no-brainer.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,210
    Shipo,

    It's very kind (which is to say consistent) of you to use "no-brainer" in such a way as to imply that it excludes all present company.

    Some enjoy travel, whether it's in a performance sedan, an aircraft, or a ferry boat. Some do it often enough to have learned ways of dealing with the niggling details of (especially international) air travel. Some feel that it's routine and consider an ED BMW a bonus to an otherwise routine trip, or at the very least, an endeavour that doesn't inspire dread and loathing.

    Others don't.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I don't know if I have ever needed my Nomex jump suit here on the 5-Series board before now. ;-)

    FWIW, if an individual living on the East Coast is even remotely considering the ED Program, I think it is a "No Brainer". That said, if someone dosen't like to travel, they won't consider that option, and that too is a "No Brainer".

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    talk about the cars and not ED?

    If there is another forum about ED here at Edmunds, then that is the place for the discussion.

    If there isn't, then shipo and others who advocate ED should start the thread. Then, in that place, they can praise ED as much and as often as they like.

    Now back to cars?
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