Marco Schneider, Key Account Manager for the Limousine & Hotel Shuttle Program of BMW North America, pictured in November 2014 at the company's headquarters campus in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., with a BMW 528i and 740Li.
WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Two years after it entered the limousine industry with 7-Series long wheelbase sedans and 5-Series GT models, BMW has learned more about fleet demands and what operators really want.
BMW responded by developing a full product menu of 21 different vehicle models that qualify for generous livery pricing incentives, high-mileage warranty plans and extensive maintenance coverage. The German automaker — known for high-performance, sporty, luxury vehicles — now offers operators the chance to diversify fleets for various pricing levels based on its 3-Series Gran Turismo (GT), 5-Series sedans, 5-Series GT, and 7-Series long wheelbase (LWB) model categories. These include diesel, hybrid and all-wheel drive (xDrive) versions.
The enhanced program signifies a comprehensive, long-term commitment to the limousine industry, and an increased competitive posture in the foreign, premium luxury vehicle segment.
“In 2012, we got feedback on what was missing, so now everyone understands what we are doing,” said Marco Schneider, Key Account Manager for the Limousine & Hotel Shuttle Program of BMW North America. “We didn’t have a warranty when we started the program. It was a huge problem. We just put incentives out and it just wasn’t enough for this specific industry.”
Schneider, who joined the BMW limo program in August 2013, launched a livery warranty plan three months later: Standard warranty per vehicle is 4 years/50,000 miles, with the option to extend to 3 years/100,000 miles or 150,000 miles. The 100,000 mile warranty option was unveiled at the 2014 LCT-NLA Show East. While the extension has a shorter time frame, most operators run up high miles in the first few years of a chauffeured vehicle lifecycle.
BMW vehicles also include a standard maintenance plan of 4 years/50,000 miles, with an upgrade option available for 2 additional years/to 100,000 miles. (Total 6 years/100,000 miles). That means all maintenance is covered, including oil changes, brake pads and even wiper blades and fluid. “There should be no maintenance bill in the first 50,000 miles, which is huge cost savings,” Schneider said. “No one else has that out there for the industry.”
The BMW 740Li registers fuel economy of 19 city/29 hwy. It has a 3.0L, 315 hp, 6-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, and five driving modes, ranging from Sport+ to ECO PRO.
The pricing for maintenance upgrade plans vary among dealers and models, but the 100,000 mile upgraded plan on a 7-Series LWB sedan costs about $2,495.
As a result of the improved BMW limo program, vehicles sales to the industry are projected to rise 500% from 2013 to 2014, Schneider said. BMW does not release exact vehicle sales figures. So far, 150 limo operators nationwide are enrolled in the limo program. “We’re doing good. We are at numbers we are comfortable with but will not stop here.”
BMW has created a livery vehicle pricing structure that offers vehicles below dealer invoice cost. Incentives range from $2,500 to $15,000 per vehicle, depending on the model. BMWs are priced below competing Mercedes-Benz models and offer more legroom, Schneider said. “We support the limo industry in giving operators a really attractive price because we want to see them make money with our cars,” Schneider said.
BMW LIMOUSINE PROGRAM INCENTIVES AND DETAILS HERE
Other features and improvements to the BMW limo program include:
- All 340 BMW dealerships nationwide can participate in the Limousine & Hotel Shuttle Program.
- The 5-Series sedans and 3-Series GTs, competitive with Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans, joined the program in February.
- 7-series long-wheelbase sedans match the previous Lincoln Town Car sedan in legroom, enhanced by standard rear-seat footrests. The 7-Series sedan also comes equipped with a back-up camera, GPS navigation, parking sensors, heated seats, sunroof and leather seating.
- The 2015 BMW 740Li comes equipped with a 6-cylinder engine and a stop-start function that stops the engine from idling and then restarts it when the accelerator is pushed. The stop-start function is optional, with new models having the standard mode in “off” position. The 740Li registers fuel economy of 19 city/29 hwy. It has a 3.0L, 315 hp engine, 8-speed automatic, and five driving modes, ranging from Sport+ to ECO PRO.
- Livery version BMW vehicles are now stocked on a national basis and available for immediate delivery. All BMWs in the limo program are engineered, produced, and manufactured in Germany, and imported at the Port of Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., and at the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey. BMW North America is headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. “We ship straight to the dealers and operators can take delivery a week later,” Schneider said. “We can assure that operators get the cars in a timely manner.”
More information: Marco Schneider, (201) 307-4465; [email protected]
Related LCT article: D.C. Operator First In Nation To Add BMW 3-Series