By on October 18, 2012

Europe’s auto market implosion has led BMW to shift units earmarked for the continent over to the United States and China, where demand remains strong.

BMW Sales Chief Ian Robertson told Bloomberg that a recovery in Europe could take years, and that Europe’s crisis was having effects in other regions. “The slowdown in China is part of what’s happening in Europe,” Robertson said.

BMW’s global sales were up 14 percent in September, buoyed by the introduction of the new 3-Series. But the company must take measures to stop the bleeding in Europe, with Robertson remarking that a restructuring of its Spanish dealer network is under consideration.

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22 Comments on “BMW Shifts Units From Europe To U.S....”

  • avatar

    Haven’t BMW’s US sales been flat or down the past several months? They’ve certainly been trailing the market.

  • avatar

    Units to be sold in Europe moved to the US? Hot damn, I’m going to go check out a 320d. Or are they only giving us the same overpriced gunk that Europe already avoids and now avoids even more?

    • 0 avatar

      Overpriced? Have you seen the prices of cars in Europe lately? Your 320d in poverty spec is over US$50K in Europe. How are BMWs in the US overpriced?

      • 0 avatar

        Overpriced as in stuffed with options and engines that would make them less in a particular country, regardless of local taxes. A US optioned 3 would be well north of a 320d if they were sold in the same market.

      • 0 avatar

        Every BMW is overpriced. It’s also overweight, overpowered, overcomplicated, overgrown and quite ugly. Their price should be in the $30K range, not $50K. Of course I wouldn’t buy one even then. Some of the worst cars sold today imho.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason Lombard

        There was nothing humble about that opinion whatsoever.

  • avatar

    BMW won’t be the only European auto manufacturer shifting production to the US. Unfortunately, long term I don’t see them selling much more here. They are just desperate because the European auto market tanked and won’t be recovering anytime soon. Layoffs and plant closures are in their future.

  • avatar

    I don’t care much about anything that isn’t a truck, but BMWs seem to have become more common than Cadillacs around here the last 5 years or so.

    I guess they’re about to become even more common.

    • 0 avatar

      More common than Lincolns certainly, although I don’t know if that’s saying much.

      It’s partly because BMW is so generous with lease terms, as it historically has been. They subsidize the residual value to goose the market.

  • avatar

    Layoffs, plant closures and highly subsidized lease deals.

  • avatar

    …but are cars built for the European market necessarily compliant with US regulations (emission, safety and whatnot)?

    • 0 avatar

      that’s my question. how are they handling the emissions and safety requirements. or is the article implying that current and future production is going to be skewed more towards north america? the way the article reads it would seem that past production is being shipped here. but that scenario is unlikely considering the changes that would be mandatory before those vehicles could be imported here.

  • avatar

    I just went shopping. No “deals” to be had on the new F30, all leases were full cost for interest, etc.

    I did buy a car…a diesel. The Golf TDi is really a gem. If BMW had sold a 4 cyl diesel here I’d have bought it. Drove one in Germany.

    Bring in some 1 series…


  • avatar

    Folks seem to be misinterpretting this post. BMW is not going to try to send non-US market cars here, they are simply going to build more cars for the US. BMW is almost entirely a Build-to-Order operation, whether that order comes from an end customer, a dealer, or the official importer in some country makes no difference. In the past, they have had a certain number of production slots allocated to US models, now there are going to be more.

    I don’t think this is going to result in “channel stuffing”, but I am sure there will be incentives for dealers to hold more stock in inventory. With BMWs push for BTO, the smaller dealers in particular carry very few cars. My local dealer might have 20 or so, across all of BMWs lines.

    One thing I do know is that part of the reason sales of the 3-series have been flat is simply that the dealers have not been able to get them. Production has not kept pace with demand, and one of the local club chapter guys is having to wait 4 months for his BTO car. This in contrast to last year when the wait time was 6-8 weeks. BMW does NOT have an overcapacity problem, so no plant closings or layoffs seem likely. Or much in the way of customer incentives on the new cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure that was a joke. Unfortunately. Because I would definitely buy a 120i 3 door hatch.

    • 0 avatar

      “With BMWs push for BTO, the smaller dealers in particular carry very few cars. My local dealer might have 20 or so, across all of BMWs lines. One thing I do know is that part of the reason sales of the 3-series have been flat is simply that the dealers have not been able to get them. Production has not kept pace with demand, and one of the local club chapter guys is having to wait 4 months for his BTO car. This in contrast to last year when the wait time was 6-8 weeks.”

      This is a problem with Audis too. When sales were high back in 2007 or 2008 (and people had more credit available to them), we used to get a much larger allocation, but now certain cars seem very capacity-constrained. Dealers don’t seem to have very many A6s, A7s, Q7s, and A8s in their lots to test-drive or purchase.

      What I would wonder is if you can customize BMWs and Audis that are BTO more than in recent years. It used to be that BMW and Audi allowed you to get most option packages with all engines. In recent years, they’ve cut back on that, and you’ve had to get bigger engines to get certain option packages. Also, there has been more packaging of options in general, like Japanese cars, rather than individual option availability. Will the higher number of BTO cars reverse this trend and make it more like Europe?

      • 0 avatar

        To some extent, BMW has limited options more in the new 3-series than in the old one. There are a few things that you could get as stand-alone options that are only in packages now. And there are certain things you can only get on the upper models. One thing they are doing that I have to think is hurting them is limiting color and interior trim options to the various “style lines”. But they are still more flexible with options than the Japanese makes, by far.

        Some complain about the cost as you pile on the options, but I prefer the flexibility to NOT get things that I don’t want. I ordered my car equipped exactly the way I wanted it, there is nothing that I did not want, and nothing that I wish I had ordered. I do admit though, that if I had been able to order from the European options list, I would have spent more money and gotten more stuff. In particular, I would have bought the sport seats, which I wanted. But in the US you can only get them with the sport package, which included a stiffer suspension and staggered sized wheels that I did not want. There was probably another $2500 in toys that the Europeans can order from the factory that we can’t, I added most of them to my car through aftermarket vendors. Too bad, so sad for BMW to miss out on another few thousand in revenue due to their own inflexibility. Note that all of these things are bits that either used to be sold here, or would not make a difference for Federalization. Seatback storage nets, for example.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Off the subject, but your car pic popups now have a “play” button far to close to the “X” (get this crap outta my car pic) button. At least on my browser, I cannot get rid of the add without playing it.

    Not good.

    Please think of getting rid of that part.

    I know you’ve gotta make money, but that’s a bit beyond the pale.

  • avatar

    For a moment I was looking forward to reading some European blogger complaining that BMW is good, but the damn Americans get the really great models.

  • avatar

    If anything, this sounds like a threat to Spartanburg. The US is a mature market for BMW to say the least. They’re not experiencing growth here. It they’re planning on stepping up US volume from Germany, it will have to come out of other BMW factories’ production.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      CJ…do you really think that BMW builds 3/5/7 series cars in the US?

      You should look into what they build at Spartanburg. Am I wrong in assuming the SC plant only builds crossovers?

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