European delivery program - anyone use it?

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4,052
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Chicago, IL
I'm heading to Germany next year and am considering taking advantage of the BMW or Merc "European delivery program" where you order your car in advance and pick it up at the factory. has anyone used it? what was your experience? would you recomment it? any advice?
 
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11,844
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PA
I've never used it, but I've heard nothing but positive things about it from friends and acquaintances, for what that's worth.
 
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Great Lakes
Which BMW or Merc are you considering? Some of them are made in the US now, so no Euro delivery available on them. With that said, I have a few friends that have done it, and they loved it.
 
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Ontario, Canada
I toured the MB factory in Stuttgart in 2000, and they had a customer pick up area then. Looked fun, an MB guy drives your car into a large large showroom area and then shows you how to operate all the features. Just touring the facilities there would be worthwhile and goes a long ways to convince yourself that the car is worth the price tag. Also if you haven't been to Germany before, I'd go just for seeing the rest of the country.
 

tomcat27

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4,052
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Chicago, IL
I'm not sure which car yet. I'd kinda like to stay at 50k or less. I'm headed to Germany regardless to tour Dusseldorf, Heidelberg, the Rhine, Krefeld.... I was there 4 times as a child - but nothing after 6th grade.
 
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Hello, As mentioned above; everyone I've ever known who did it loved it (they said) but I also cannot think of a single person who did it a second time except for one guy who was a friend of my Dad's who picked up several VW beetles through the '60's. He knocked off Europe a chunk at a time. If you go that route: A) Have a great time. B) DO NOT forget to park the darn thing and go about on European mass transit. You have the option for 'essentially' door-to-door service with trains and street cars. Don't grind your car away like a nervous American while in Europe. Yes, I said that. C) In addition to the "usual countries"-France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and the BeNeLux trio- don't overlook Scandinavia. Sweden, Norway and Denmark are beautiful and frequently get overlooked in my experience. Kira
 

tomcat27

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Chicago, IL
true, many of the Merc SUV's are made here. it also appears that the Merc 2.o turbo is made here in a joint venture with Nissan and others. the "cool" factor sounds really high. in general, you order the car months in advance. once you get there you get a factory tour, accept your car, drive it for up to two weeks, and drop it off for them to ship over here. about two months later it appears at a local dealer. I dont see a down side, and its also a great excuse for a new BMW or Mercedes!
 
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Volvo has a similar program, and I've talked with someone who has done it. Not only do you have a vehicle to use on your vacation, but the Volvo program pays your airfare, and importing to the US as a "used" vehicle rather than new from the factory saves a good bit of scratch. An added benefit is that you can option out the vehicle with European specifications, rather than the offerings that are typically shipped to the US.
 
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11,655
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Illinois
Do they pay for your airfare, or is it the savings over buying from dealer inventory essentially pay for your airfare? With many of the BMW cars, it looks like the savings can pay the airfare of one traveler. I think their program offers tags and insurance for upto 30 days, IIRC. We are thinking of another 3 week trip to Europe, Germany of course, to pick up the car and have it for as much of that time as we want. Our trip to Italy in 2012 had us using a car for half of the three weeks we were there. Having a car to visit some of the more rural places in Germany, as well as re-visiting the Autobahn is something I dream about. I wonder if I can break my car in on the ring?
 
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A co-worker took delivery of her Mercedes c350 at Stuttgart. MB arranged registration and insurance for her, so she was able to drive it around Europe for three weeks. She then turned it back in, and they then prepped it to be shipped. It entered in New Jersey, where they reprogrammed the GPS and who knows what else. A total of six weeks later, it arrived at the dealership here in Illinois (Isringhausen) She also mentioned that the taxes and tariffs were less when it entered the US, as MB was able to call it a used car.
 
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Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: Kuato
An added benefit is that you can option out the vehicle with European specifications,
FYI, this is not true at least when it comes to BMW or MB. Not sure if Volvo is an exception there. At the end of the day, the car has to meet US federal specifications, or else it could not be imported into the US. Also, US dealers are not trained on servicing/fixing of the Euro equipment/options typically, so this would pose additional challenge for the US dealers if they had to service such vehicles.
 
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CT
Sadly you can't do gray market anymore. I'd be all over a stripped basic diesel G wagon or a basic E250CDI with no options.
 
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chicago, Illinois
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
Sadly you can't do gray market anymore. I'd be all over a stripped basic diesel G wagon or a basic E250CDI with no options.
Good point, I am old enough to remember when back in the 80s one could import Euro (grey market) versions of any VW, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi without any problem. It was great because you could get manual transmissions, diesel engines, superior sport and cloth seats, and numerous other euro spec things and the price was lower than going to a US dealer. The real reason this went away is because the US $tealers lobbied Congress to pass laws against it to protect their huge profits.
 
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Originally Posted By: javacontour
Do they pay for your airfare, or is it the savings over buying from dealer inventory essentially pay for your airfare? ... I think their program offers tags and insurance for up to 30 days, IIRC.
Volvo buys the ticket and the 30 days' worth of registration is correct and can be extended for a fee.
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Kuato
An added benefit is that you can option out the vehicle with European specifications,
FYI, this is not true at least when it comes to BMW or MB. Not sure if Volvo is an exception there. At the end of the day, the car has to meet US federal specifications, or else it could not be imported into the US. Also, US dealers are not trained on servicing/fixing of the Euro equipment/options typically, so this would pose additional challenge for the US dealers if they had to service such vehicles.
I forget where in the Volvo promotional material I read it but it did say you could order packages or combinations that are available in Europe - for instance manual transmission, since all Volvos sold in the US are now automatics. To be eligible for the program, the vehicles still come with US emissions and safety features intact, and otherwise meet US standards.
 
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40,710
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Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: Kuato
I forget where in the Volvo promotional material I read it but it did say you could order packages or combinations that are available in Europe - for instance manual transmission, since all Volvos sold in the US are now automatics. The vehicles still come with US emissions and safety features intact, and otherwise meet US standards.
If it's a manual trans that's otherwise not available in the US, then Volvo has to go through CAFE/EPA/emissions approval for it since the MPG figures will be different. I'm surprised Volvo wants to go through all this trouble just so that a handful of people can bring in a manual equipped car into the country. But if that's really the case, then that's kind of neat. We have lost so many manuals in the States. I'd love a 335i wagon with a manual trans and no AWD for example.
 
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9,513
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Canuck living in California
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Kuato
I forget where in the Volvo promotional material I read it but it did say you could order packages or combinations that are available in Europe - for instance manual transmission, since all Volvos sold in the US are now automatics. The vehicles still come with US emissions and safety features intact, and otherwise meet US standards.
If it's a manual trans that's otherwise not available in the US, then Volvo has to go through CAFE/EPA/emissions approval for it since the MPG figures will be different. I'm surprised Volvo wants to go through all this trouble just so that a handful of people can bring in a manual equipped car into the country. But if that's really the case, then that's kind of neat. We have lost so many manuals in the States. I'd love a 335i wagon with a manual trans and no AWD for example.
I think you're confusing few things here. The car is brought in as a used vehicle and it travels with the owner. The manufacturer doesn't have to do any official testing. The car only has to pass safety and emission testing, the same as any used car when it transfers owners. Many Canadians bring cars over from US and the manufacturer doesn't have to do any testing that is otherwise done. The car simply has to pass the run of the mill safety and emission testing. For US cars, that usually means installing or activating DRLs. European cars probably require more things, but that is part of the deal and I'm sure the manufacturer knows exactly what has to be done. Same thing applies if you were moving to Europe and bringing you current cars over. You would have to do whatever modification necessary to pass safety and emission regulations, but no official testing that permits the manufacturer to put the specs in print.
 
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9,513
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Canuck living in California
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Got it. Thanks KrisZ. That makes sense.
No problem, just keep in mind that because of different safety and emission requirements, some models will be off limits. If you dream of one of those sweet European diesels, forget about it. But most gasoline models probably can be brought over to NA. So the 335i with rear wheel drive, fully loaded and with a manual tranny is probably doable.
 
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