The Official Guide to Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo European Delivery Programs
Pick Up Your New Car in Europe, Drive on the Autobahn, and Save Money
Every year, thousands of travelers go to Europe and return with a larger-than-average souvenir: a brand new automobile. Indeed, since the 1960s, several hundred thousand Americans have visited Gothenburg, Ingolstadt, Munich, and Stuttgart with that goal in mind, mixing in a driving experience while taking in the local food, world-famous museums and art galleries, and the Gemütlichkeit of western Europe.
These tourists aren’t importing the cars themselves nor are they purchasing the cars in Europe. They are taking advantage of a little-known program referred to as European Delivery that lets them purchase a new car in the United States at a discount, pick it up at the factory, drive it around, and have it magically appear back in the States roughly six weeks later.
In the past 12 months or so, I’ve traveled to Europe three times with the specific task of taking delivery of a brand new car at a factory delivery center. In two cases, the car was for me; in the most recent case, I accompanied a friend on his delivery adventure.
This was by no means an unusual way for me to pick up a new car. I have clear memories of, at the age of ten, accompanying my parents to the local Mercedes-Benz dealership to discuss just that. Unlike the way my friends’ parents purchased their cars, which was to pick one out at a local dealership, my parents were planning to pick up a new Mercedes-Benz sedan at the factory in Sindelfingen, Germany. I did my own first European Delivery when I was 19 and since then, I’ve taken delivery of a new car at the factory well over a dozen times.
Admittedly, however, most people don’t fly across the Atlantic just to get a new car. These people are, however, missing out on an exceptional experience.
FACTORY DELIVERY: A VERY EXCLUSIVE CLUB
In 2013, U.S. car buyers purchased over 15 million vehicles, yet only about 5,000 of them or a scant 0.35% picked up their cars at a factory of one of the five automakers – Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, or Volvo – offering the program. More are expected to do so in 2014. (The percentage of German car buyers in the United States was 3.86%.)
That exclusivity carries over to the benefits that car buyers get from the programs.