If you obsess about ordering a new vehicle until the day it arrives at the dealer, BMW’s new service may be of interest to you. As part of the customization program launched for the 2011 X3, customers can keep tabs on their particular crossover as it makes its way down the assembly line.
Instead of forcing customers into a preconfigured model from a dealer lot, BMW recently launched a new build program for its South Carolina-built X3. Like similar programs offered to European customers, X3 buyers are encouraged to select the colors and options that best suit their tastes instead of a car from a dealer’s pre-ordered inventory.
Once those options are locked in, BMW doesn’t exclude buyers from the build process. Instead, once a customer receives an order number or VIN, they’re able to log into the new web-based Customer Video Portal. There, owners-to-be can keep tabs on their vehicle’s build status, and actually watch it move through the last stage of assembly. Seven cameras provide around-the-clock coverage of the final assembly process, and the footage can be downloaded or shared with friends.
“With more than 10 million distinct configurations available, we wanted to get customers excited about the birth of their unique vehicle,” said Trudy Hardy, Manager, BMW Marketing Communications and Consumer Events, BMW of North America. “This production footage of the BMW X3 vehicles from our Spartanburg plant enhances the overall customer experience that is part of the BMW brand.”
BMW believes customization program is beneficial to dealers and customers alike. Along with giving the buyer the power to pick the exact content for their vehicle, dealers can cut back on unnecessary stock, or hedging their bets when it comes to ordering inventory. Customized vehicles also tend to be far less discounted than models sitting on dealer lots, as there’s less need to throw incentives at a customer when he or she is receiving a vehicle built to taste.
Although the X3 is the only BMW currently offered in the U.S. under such a program, we wouldn’t be surprised if it is rolled out to the X5 and X6 models, both of which are also built in Spartanburg.